Four Reasons to Outsource Your Web Content Management
Content management systems (CMS) changed the web forever. Whereas at one time you needed to be proficient at coding in HTML and CSS to add or change anything on a website, CMS software made everything easier and more accessible.
Suddenly, it wasn’t just professional web designers who could build and manage websites. With the likes of WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and more, content management became no more technically challenging than using a commonplace software like word processors or presentation editors.
The fact that anyone can create and run a website these days has resulted in massive growth in the number of sites out there. WordPress alone is responsible for more than 40% of all sites on the internet. As the years have gone by, CMS has specialised, so you now have services like Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce etc that are specifically designed to let people build their own ecommerce stores.
On top of that, CMS has become easier and easier, steadily eliminating the last vestiges of complexity from web content management. Services like Wix and Foursquare market themselves on enabling users to ‘build a website in minutes’, offering pre-built page templates and ‘drag and drop’ interfaces that make creating, designing and changing web pages simple and intuitive.
All told, we’re living in an age where DIY web design is flourishing. So surely that settles the argument – if web content management is so simple these days, there’s no longer any need to hire professionals to build and run your site?
And yet the professional web design and management market is booming. The web design services market is worth $40.8bn in the US alone, comfortably out-pacing the market in do-it-yourself web building platforms which is worth $24bn. Over the next decade, demand for web developers and digital designers is forecast to grow by 8%, well above the average across all professions.
This tells us something interesting. Despite the ready availability of CMS platforms that make ‘DIY’ web development and content management very much possible, businesses are still outsourcing to professional service providers. Why?
The truth is that while CMS platforms might have emerged to remove the technical barriers from content management, they have never been a complete replacement for professional web design and managed services. Indeed, the two have evolved to complement one another rather than be in direct competition, so that nowadays professional web services will use CMS software as part of their offer.
Even though CMS are designed to be accessible and easy to use, a digital specialist can still wring a great deal more value from them for your business than you would likely be able to if left to your own devices. Here are the top reasons why it still makes sense to outsource your content management.
Free up your time and reap cost efficiencies
Whenever you talk about outsourcing any aspect of your business operations, two benefits are almost universally mentioned – it saves you time and money. In the context of web content management, yes CMS software makes things easier. But it still takes time to build and then run a website. Time you could be spending on other areas of your business.
In the first place, there is inevitably a learning curve involved in getting up to speed with CMS platforms. This is especially the case with WordPress.org, which requires a little technical know-how getting your head around the basics of website infrastructure.
Plus, a website is no longer something you can just build and leave. For the sake of SEO, for delivering the best customer experience etc, you have to be on your game offering fresh new content to your visitors on a regular basis.
All of this takes time. A professional will be able to handle it much more efficiently than a non-specialist, plus you free up time that you could perhaps use more profitably elsewhere. And if you feel it necessary to hire someone to run your site, you will almost certainly find it cheaper to outsource to an agency.
Get better results from skilled specialists
CMS might make it easier to run a website, but it still takes a certain level of expertise to do it well.
To make a website that looks great and functions seamlessly, you need design skills and a knowledge of on-page and cross-site navigation. To deliver the kind of content that grabs attention and helps convert casual browsers into customers, you need marketing expertise and the skills to write great copy or produce entertaining video clips etc.
Plus, CMS software has by no means killed off traditional web programming skills. Most CMS platforms allow for HTML coding to customise the pre-built building blocks available, giving developers the opportunity to fine tune designs and create more unique sites.
It’s also increasingly valuable to have people with broader programming skills involved in running your site. The ability to build bespoke web apps or integrate third-party services via APIs is an important way to create a competitive advantage through your website by giving visitors more features and more innovative experiences.
Link to your broader content marketing activities
We mentioned above the benefit of having people with digital marketing expertise creating your web content. Taking that a step further, your web content should form part of your broader digital and content marketing strategy.
Web content plays a critical role in search engine marketing – when we talk about ‘optimisation’ or SEO, we mean making your web content as search engine-friendly as possible. That is nowadays a specialist area covering everything from how you lay out and tag your content to simply refreshing it on a regular basis.
Running a blog on your site is not only beneficial to SEO, it also provides you with ready-made content for social media campaigns. And your website is also a crucial tool in growing your audience, for example by hosting sign-up forms and other lead capture options that form the first step in turning casual browsers into engaged customers.
Web content management therefore has to be viewed as part of a much bigger picture. As digital agencies often combine technical expertise with marketing services, outsourcing offers a one-stop solution to cover all the bases.
Scale your website in line with your business growth
Finally, a website can no longer be viewed as a static asset. 9 times out of 10 when businesses come to us and say they’ve seen their web traffic fall off a cliff, they’re not getting any click throughs from search any more and so on, we can guess the answer before we even ask – the site has had very little attention for a considerable amount of time.
To survive in the hyper-congested, ultra fast-paced modern digiverse, you have to be ultra agile and dynamic. You need a website that can nimbly roll with the endless waves of innovation, keep up with user demands for bigger, better, faster online experiences, and grow as your business grows.
The problem with some CMS platforms, especially the most ‘user-friendly’, simple ones, is they tend to be a little static and one-dimensional. There isn’t much room to grow and develop a site – it’s pretty much what you see is what you get.
That’s where the value of developer expertise comes into its own. It’s also why WordPress, for example, is so popular. As an open source platform, it is highly adaptable because any developer can come along and create a new plug-in to add a new feature to it. And tens of thousands of those plug-ins are openly available to use.
At Key Element, we pick and choose CMS platforms to build and run websites on behalf of clients based on their differing needs. We can use solutions like Wix to take the load off managing small business websites, we can set up digital stores in Shopify and WooCommerce, we can build unique sites in WordPress.
We also use our own in-house CMS, Lucid, which has been purpose-built to be ultra scalable and dynamic – the ideal choice for building high performance professional websites for the modern business.