As a followup to our CMS article, “Content Management Systems (CMS) Selection“, this weeks article is going to focus on some of the content related functional features one should look out for while evaluating a CMS. With functional features, I am primarily referring to features that will impact a content author. Content authors can be marketing folks, product managers, etc, anyone who cares about content on their respective website and the impact on branding, lead generation, and website visitor engagement.
Most CMS platforms come with a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor. It functions similar to Microsoft Word and provide the capability to add rich formatting like Bold, Italics, Justifying, etc. Some open source platforms have editors that require you to learn a bit of some formatting markup. Always look for an editor that give you the rich text capabilities. A list of some of the features you should always look out for:
– Rich text capabilities – Ability to have Microsoft Word like formatting capabilities e.g. Bold, Italics, Justification, etc.
– Document attachment. The editor should allow you to attach documents to the page. Attach assets such as PDF or Word documents, to be downloaded by visitors who are viewing the page.
– Images – Easily select an image from a list of previously uploaded images and drop it within specific sections of your content.
– Hyperlinks – Provide hyperlink capabilities to create links to external sites and internal pages. With creating internal links, the editor should provide an interface to pick a page and the URL is automatically figured out.
Content Related Activities
– Check-In and Check-Out capabilities – As you start editing a page, the page is locked by you so other content authors cannot by mistake update the page at the same time.
– Content scheduling – Ability to schedule content to go live at a specific date and time. For example, you may have a press release that needs to be live on your website at specific date and time.
– Content archiving – Everytime you make a change to a page (basically a piece of content), the previous revision is saved. This allows you to rollback to a previous revision in case there was a problem.
– Workflows – After you make a change to a page, you may need someone else in your team to review and approve prior to it going live. With workflows, after you check-in your content, a workflow is triggered that alerts appropriate members with an email notification. The email will contain a link to review and approve/reject the page.
Search Engine Optimization (SEO) Related Properties
With editing a page, you should be able to easily edit elements of the page that have an impact on your SEO efforts
– Page Title, Meta Description, and Meta Keyword – Easily change your page title so they are keyworch rich and focus on improving your organic ranking for the page specific topic. Meta Description and Meta Keyword aren’t the most important from a SEO standpoint but still have some impact. The CMS should allow you to easily change the titles, description, and keywords for any of your pages.
– URL Aliasing – The URLs of each of your pages should also be keyword rich. For example, if you sell “cruise packages”, a URL like “http://www.domain.com/vacation-cruise-packages” will have a higher SEO value than “http://www.domain.com/page.aspx?id=123456&type=content&URL=ugly”. Check out our SEO webinars to learn more.
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