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Tuesday, November 23, 2010     Posted by: Jared Serfozo
A Content Management System (CMS) is a powerful tool that can help streamline your business. It can transform a business from chaotic and unorganized to productive and robust.

Hundreds of Content Management Systems exist today, so choosing the right one can be a daunting task. There are many qualities to look for in a Content Management System. Below are a few of the more important ones.

1. Simplicity. Never forget the main reason for using a CMS is to make creating and editing content an easy task. It’s easy to get lost in the sea of systems who boast about having a simple interface. Look for a system with a clean, simple, well-designed user interface. Your team will be spending a lot of time using it so if it’s hard to use, your productivity will suffer.

2. Integration. A good CMS will have a suite of tools at your disposal and offer a comprehensive solution to all your web-based needs. You should be able to pick and choose which features you would like to use. If a system requires third party applications or custom programming, you should move on.

3. SEO-focused content analysis. A good CMS will include a feature to analyze your content (usually via Scribe) to help coach you on content that is well-written for search.

4. Functionality. Make sure the CMS is not overly-simplistic and includes extensions with the functionality you will need. Many systems are still developing; don’t invest in a system until you’re positive it offers what you need.

5. Community. A hazard with some systems is nobody is listening to what customers want and need. Don’t be swayed by the most “popular” or “free” systems. What really matters is the people behind the system, that they are good at their job, and that they continually track and develop their CMS to meet their client’s needs.

6. Support. The disadvantages of some of the open source CMS products is spotty support. Choosing a CMS that is well-supported is critical. Be sure you can reach someone on the phone and by email when you need help or when something goes wrong. You should be spending your time building and launching websites, not digging through code.

7. Security. Many CMS products have a poor track record when it comes to security. Be sure to invest in one that is proven to be secure and has a good history of quick patches and a commitment to strong security practices.

8. Human-readable URLs (HURLs). A good CMS will be well-optimized for search and HURLs are a critical part of this. Be sure you can enable HURLs and that you can customize the structure for your needs, as well. This will go a long way toward your SEO efforts.

9. Customizable meta information. Be sure you can customize your meta description, tags, and window title on a per-page basis. This is also important for search and for the SERP that is previewed in a search listing.

10. Social media integration. A modern CMS will automatically “ping” out content updates to social networks for you. This saves time and ensures timely distribution of your content.

Always remember to do your research before investing time and energy into a new system. A Content Management System should make your life easier by keeping you out of the nuts and bolts and instead allow you to run your business.

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