Congratulations on your new startup! The entrepreneurial spirit really lives in you!
Now the real action starts, and one of the challenges of which is creating a website so you can better reach and engage your target niche. A startup has a better chance of success if a functional website backs it. Why? The reason behind is that the site will act as its online storefront, conversions happen on the site. If it chooses not to have a website, it would be harder for the startup to gain brand awareness and loyalty, let alone profitability.
Building a website has its own challenges like choosing the right CMS. CMS stands for content management system that powers up a website and helps in managing the digital content. You should not hurry in choosing a CMS though but below are some practical tips, so you end up using the right one for your website purposes.
1) Be involved right from the start
If you hired a professional web design and developer or development company, chances are, he will choose the CMS for your website. Don't do this. Your involvement is crucial at this stage. Ask the developer to present to you the pros and cons of using which CMS in relation to the nature, scope, and specifications of your website. Choose the most appropriate platform. After all, you are the one who's going to monitor, update and maintain your site going forward.
2) Learn about hosting and server compatibilities
It is not enough that you understand what CMS you are going to use for your website. You also need to make sure that it is compatible with your chosen hosting provider. As an entrepreneur, you need to think of the future and that includes scalability. If in case, you need to switch hosting soon, you need to know which hosting services can be seamlessly integrated with your chosen CMS.
3) Check security and backup features
Hacking is not unheard of. In fact, it is rampant, and your website may experience it in the future. Spamming is also inevitable because of companies doing shady optimization practices. You need to protect your digital content housed on your website. Your choice of CMS is thereby critical to this aspect. Choose a CMS that is backup-friendly, or you will lose all your data. Automatic updates and security patches must be thoroughly checked too to ensure that the site will be up and running 100% of the time.
4) Test the dashboard all you want
Extensively learn and check the CMS dashboard to know if it is intuitive and navigable enough. You need to do this because the developer may not be available 24/7 for assistance once you get stuck in updating the pages, for instance. Look into the functionality, control, and versatility of the dashboard before you make any commitment. You need to understand that learning the key features can make your work easier in the future.
5) Check the SEO features too
Don't bother testing the site though if it has limited SEO-related functions. SEO is search engine optimisation, and your website will definitely need it. And the tools must be built right in. Alternatively, there should be available third-party tools. Without these tools, the CMS may limit the ways to optimize your website. The CMS must allow you to edit on-page elements including meta tags, permalinks, internal links, markups, and canonicals at its most basic. Also, the CMS must be able to refine the content structure to make it as search engine-friendly as possible.
6) Ascertain analytics compatibility
Naturally, you'd also want to determine if the CMS is compatible with any analytics tools that SEOs are using. We are talking about a website that you want to be profitable. Thus, you need to track and measure its progress eagerly. The right platform will accommodate this feature otherwise you need to decide for a CMS that can integrate the tool, measure your site's data and give insights pertaining to these data. In this way, you will know what to do to make the site reach its maximum potential.
7) Determine any licensing fees
Startups like you should be wary of the operational cost, which may be limited at this time. Some CMS platforms require that you pay the licensing fee first, one-time or annual, before using the platform. Reasonably, the developers behind the CMS need to sustain the operation too. The costs may also increase depending on the requirements of your website. So think ahead of your need for extensions before you pay any fee or choose a platform that is open-source and invests on the extensions instead. Bottom-line, you should be aware of the current and future costs of using a CMS.
In choosing a CMS platform that can accommodate your needs as a startup, you need to take an active and proactive role at it. Ask questions especially on things that you don't understand. The developers will willingly share their knowledge and experiences with you. You are a client and a valuable one at that. In return, introduce your startup as well as its core values to the one who is going to develop your website so he'd understand your goals.
Other takeaways when selecting a system is to make these two things. First, list your business goals and how you want it to be reflected on the website. It is important that you know what requirements you'll be needing from the developers. Second, assess the CMS of your choice feature by feature. Review each aspect and how a particular CMS is better than the other one and start from there. Determine how well a particular CMS fits well with your list of business goals.
If cost is an issue, then limit your choices to free and open-source CMS. Don't fret because even when these are free, they do the job right and deliver on your expectations as a startup. These free CMS platforms are high-quality too. That's the most important thing—that your website will achieve its purpose that you initially created it for.
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