Tech tools for start-ups: CMS

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This is the final article in our tech tools series, where we compare, contrast and recommend technology for all the major challenges faced by a business. In this article we compare content management systems and web hosting services and share our preferred choice. Don’t forget to check out first three articles in the series; messaging and communication tools, data storage and documentation and customer relationship management solutions.

CMS and web solutions

There is a lot to consider when creating a website for your business but the most critical decisions you’ll make are your choice of Content Management System (CMS) and Web Hosting Service.

There are countless CMS and Web Hosting options on the market, each with minor differences and variations between them. The best way we can help you make a selection is to walk through the important characteristics you may or may not want so you can make a more informed decision. As always, we will also share the tools we use. We are so scrupulous when it comes to technology that you should have a lot of confidence if you decide to use the same tools as us.

Cut to the chase

If the only objective is to create web presence, then a CMS like Wix is a simple and cost effective solution.

The CMS we use is WordPress. WordPress is the best bet if you want to use your website to generate business, and if you want to be able to easily manage your own content.

If you’re looking for the next level up we recommend you partner with a digital agency that will manage all of your content for you on a more sophisticated and complex CMS.

If choosing another CMS we caution that you don’t opt a tool that claims to deliver multiple solutions in one, for example a tool that provide a website platform, CRM and marketing automation.

We use Kinsta for Web Hosting. Kinsta delivers everything you need from a Web Host and it also plugs-in to WordPress which means it automatically pushes WordPress updates to our website.

What is a CMS and why does it matter?

There can be a lot more to a website than people think. A website can simply be something that allows a business to have an online presence. Or it can be a powerful tool that can generate customer leads and bring in business.

A CMS allows you to manage and modify website content. Your choice of CMS determines the performance and capability of your website. So first you need to understand what you need your website to do, and then you need to pick a CMS that will allow you to do it well.

What you need for a lead-generating website

A website that generates customer leads has a specific look. A giveaway for these types of websites is that they are filled with forms and widgets. These makes it easy for customers to make an enquiry, provide their details, and get into the conversion funnel.

Another important consideration for setting up a website is how it links to paid advertisements. For example, an online advertisement will include a link that sends customers to your website. That link can either send customers to your home page, or it can take customers directly to a page that correspond to the product or service discussed in the ad. The latter option is better in terms of customers experience, because customers are taken directly to what they were looking for, but it’s also important for website optimisation.

Google rates ads as high or low quality by evaluating how much of the ad content appears in the page that the ad links to. If you point customers to your home page, rather than a digital landing page that corresponds to the ad, you will get a low rating. If your ad gets a low rating, then your website will get a lower ranking in google searches, making it harder for customers to find you.

What you need in a CMS

If you want a website that will generate customer leads, then you need to be thinking about website optimisation and your ability to update website content.

Website optimisation is when you use tools and strategies you use to improve the performance of your website and to attract more customers. A focus of optimisation is search engine optimisation (SEO). SEO is all about using search engines to improve the quality and quantity of customers that come to your website. Our previous scenario on the links included in digital ads is an example of this. A great CMS will take care of website optimisation, including SEO for you.

Another key consideration for a CMS is how easy it is to change and update content. As a general rule, as a CMS becomes more sophisticated and higher performing, it also because more complex to manage. Advanced CMS solutions require programmers every time a change needs to be made to a website. If your updating your website every week, this can be a very expensive exercise. If you’re a business that doesn’t want a high digital marketing expenditure then chose an CMS that is high performing but allows website content to be updated without a programmer.

Our preferred CMS

There are a huge number of CMS solutions available but WordPress is a standout when it comes to performance, website optimisation and ease of use. We’re not alone in our preference – 35% of all websites on the internet are made using WordPress. A key benefit of its wide adoption is that there are a huge range of third-party plug-ins that have been designed specifically for this CMS.

What to avoid in a CMS

Our driving principle has always been the right tools for the right job. What this means in practice is that businesses should find the best fit solution for each task rather than finding easy or cheap solutions at the expense of performance.

Working closely with clients lets us see the common mistakes businesses make and the one we see most when it comes to CMS solutions is when start-ups choose a tool that claim to do multiple jobs. While this sounds like an easy solution, it usually results in businesses being locked into a tool that delivers sub-par performance.

HubSpot is an example of this. Businesses sign up because HubSpot claims it can take care of their website, marketing automation and CRM. Usually when a tool claims to do multiple things it doesn’t do them to a high standard. When businesses realise need better solutions they find it incredibly hard to migrate to a new tool because so many elements of their business have been integrated and interconnected in the one system, and no one wants to migrate 200+ blog posts and potentially damage their SEO ranking.

What is web hosting and why does it matter

A web hosting service is what allows you to put your website on the internet. Your web host is responsible for technical support – making sure your website performs at its best – and data security – both in terms of backing up data and making sure you don’t get hacked.

As with all things some web hosting services perform better than others. There are also providers that align to certain CMS solutions, so it’s worth find one that will work with your chosen CMS.

Our preferred web hosting service.

At Fluent Group we use Kinsta. Kinsta deliver well on technical support and data security. It also plugs into WordPress and automatically pushes through WordPress updates to our website automatically.

The wrap up

The are so many different hosting services and CMS solutions available. Contact us if you have further questions or solutions that you are evaluating so that we can help you find the solutions that work for your unique requirements.

This concludes our article series on tech tools. Our series covered the following tools:

  1. Messaging and communication
  2. Data storage and documentation
  3. Customer relationship management
  4. Content management systems and web hosting services
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