What Makes An Easy CMS?

November 03, 2014

What makes a content management system easy?  With so many build your own website options out there, many claiming to have a “free and easy” CMS, it’s worth taking a closer look at what indeed makes for an easy content management system.  

The best judge of what makes an effortless editing system truly comes from people with little or no web experience. There are CMS plug-ins geared more toward web designers or Seattle web design agencies, but the focus of this post is “easy CMS” as defined by non-technical people.  Ultimately, a CMS that gives someone who is not technically savvy a simple way to update their website’s content and makes life easier, is the goal.  So, with that in mind, here are the top 3 things to look for when looking for an easy CMS.  

Personalized, concierge login.

If you have to login to an admin portal (how impersonal!), then face a dashboard full of mumbo jumbo before you can even edit your site, of course you feel confused and annoyed!  Especially if you have more than one domain that you’re managing, doing your business from a confusing dashboard, one that requires familiarity with an admin interface, is a huge barrier.  Life is hard enough - your CMS shouldn’t be!

Your login should make you feel immediately comfortable and at home...because you are home!  With the login right on your site, the login page will have the same look and feel of your site.  Just a simple username and password request will allow the site owner to access the CMS and begin editing.  No extraneous information, no useless list of recommended blogs or annoying messages from the site administrator.  A personalized, concierge login is one that doesn’t require the site owner to jump through hoops.  No mumbo jumbo. 

Elegant, intuitive in-line editing.  

In-line editing means to edit the text right on the page as you see it.  Content management systems that offer in-line editing usually have some small icon, like for example a pencil, to indicate the editable areas of the site.  By clicking on the edit icon, a small field pops up right there on the site where the owner can add or edit text or images.  Site owners can see their edits instantaneously.  There’s no need to refresh or extra click to “view post” - that hold your breath moment - when you see if your edits took.  It’s all right there.  

Editing tools should be utterly intuitive, even to someone with very little technical skills.   A good litmus test of an easy editing tool is to take someone with no experience using your editing system, give them minimal instruction on how to use it, and see what happens.  If they can successfully use the tools to manage their content, change or add photos, then that is a magic moment.  You’ve got yourself an easy CMS.

Uploading images is as easy as pie.

Like the edit icon for editing text, uploading photos should perform the same way.  Simple systems will provide an image icon, like a camera for example, on the page where the site owner can click to upload a new photo.  There’s no guessing where the photo will show up.  Where you see the edit image icon is where your photo will be. Uploading images should not be a guessing game. 

Try it out.

The best way to get a sense for how a CMS works is to see a demo of the tools in action.  Take it for a test drive, see if it is all it claims to be.  Easy update tools should make your life easier!

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