Websites, mobile apps and enterprise-level digital services are constantly being innovated to satisfy the growing needs of those who make use of them. Software development in Sri Lanka (and the outsourcing industry at large) is always shifting gears to accommodate changing needs, so that products can be accordingly enhanced for providing greater satisfaction. As developers, businesses and consumers alike focus on the aesthetics of the digital offerings they use, taking a look at how said offerings are built and maintained over time is an equally insightful endeavour. However, this goes far beyond simply satiating a curiosity of how things work. For business owners who are looking to tap into discerning markets (or even increase momentum within existing markets), understanding the ins and outs of digital content can go a long way in determining the true scope for one’s specialities – no matter how unique they may be.
Add to this the steady increase of competition amongst businesses both big and small; even if you’re an established corporation, you’re not immune to the ramifications of aggressive competition that runs ablaze online today. With internet connectivity extensive across the globe, most of the world continues to remain connected (and exposed) to a variety of products and services. Rising up to meet such challenges and keeping your business at the forefront of consumers’ field of vision is paramount to meeting key business objectives, including revenue.
However, this engagement cannot be attained simply via the website and mobile app. With IoT devices gaining popularity on a household level, users remain connected to the digital world more than ever. From smart watches to voice assistants, everything is driven by content. But with multiple devices under ownership for the average user, everything needs to align well. In other words, what is displayed on a smart watch needs to match with what’s eventually displayed over a smartphone. This may prove to be a challenge, considering a large set of variables that differentiate devices. From screen dimensions to UI, the same content needs to be tweaked to display the same in a clear and comprehensible manner.
The right kind of CMS will definitely be able to accommodate such challenges. But then again, this is still a single part of the entire picture. An on-demand service culture necessitates the display and subsequent change of content in accordance to changing consumer needs. Facilitating this will require the right kind of insights in turn – something which calls for seamless integration with the right calibre of business intelligence to serve your digital product overall.
As self-sufficient as they’ve become, CMS platforms are seldom made to function in a silo these days – and for good reason. By incorporating the right technologies, trends and key providers, the CMS of yesteryear is now a powerhouse for not just delivering quality and useful content – but elevating it to fetch greater business value.
Within this intricate mix of digital applications, content and the systems in place to connect the two, enter Content Management Systems (known as CMS in short). With its capabilities for inputting, formatting and displaying data, the CMS constitutes as the back-end for websites, apps and other digital applications. What was initially subject to a simple text editor for mainly blogging purposes has now evolved into a multi-faceted processing platform that delivers more than just content.
Thanks to solution unification and seamless integrations, CMS systems can now work hand-in-hand with website builders to deliver a holistic web presence that consists of both back and front-end systems. Add to this the likes of analytics, automation and even AI, and you have a content powerhouse that’s capable of leveraging your content to perform at its fullest potential, as opposed to simply being a one-dimensional source of information.
Headless CMS or CaaS has been around for quite a while now, especially with the advent of non-conventional digital devices such as IoT, as well as embracing connections with offline media such as print. Unlike traditional, coupled CMS stacks i.e. a CMS back-end that is dutifully connected to its front-end component such as a website, headless CMS/CaaS can deliver content across different devices. This is made possible by APIs for each device, which are then connected to the CMS for output. This way, the CMS (as well as the developers coding and maintaining your system) need not worry about coding different versions of the front-end for each device, since the API does the needful to mould the content into a format that is compatible for its designated device.
From digital hoardings to smart watches, devices range extensively, and so do their screen dimensions and user interfaces. The number and types of gadgets getting digitized are exponentially adding up in this modern age. Therefore, displaying the same content across each such that it is within the customized formats pertaining to each device, and while being comprehensible by the user, is a necessity. Unifying the presence of content further adds to brand value, as users gain a sense of familiarity, and subsequently – trust.
Without a doubt, AI and machine learning have proliferated across the digital world, with applications ranging across the spectrum. Content Management Systems aren’t an exception either, and AI-based automations are slowly starting to become common now. This can range from suggesting relevant actions depending on the nature of content, or detecting any changes/anomalies to existing content via monitoring systems. In turn, user feedback helps AI-powered features to ‘learn’ what is acceptable and vice versa, thereby creating a CMS that is truly intelligent.
As mentioned earlier, modern-day Content Management Systems are now a part of any digital application outside a conventional website – as long as it needs a back-end for entering, storing and displaying content. Proprietary software is one such example. Many SaaS-based services such as marketing automation tools offer in-built CMS capabilities for enabling users to create publication entries, which are then uploaded onto blogs, social media and a variety of other platforms, depending on the client and/or project.
Once again, this goes hand-in-hand with headless CMS offerings, as multiple content sources require a streamlined flow of content displays. Cloud support services have long since formed the base for both CMS and SaaS solutions, which indicate that this trend is only going to get stronger by the day.
Content has moved away from one-dimensional and static text a long time ago. But this trend seems to only be diversifying all the more, as video content continues to gain viewership. This is also the reason why social networks of the more recent era are video-based, with entries being bite-sized and only a few seconds long. However, animations, surveys and general Q&A are also gaining traction, together with self-service customer support suites. There is still a level of insight required in terms of content for such variants, and a CMS that offers website administrators to add, remove and/or change the contents of such variants is now a growing need among brand-conscious companies that are keen to heighten engagement with their customers.
Without a doubt, WordPress is going to be at the top of this list thanks to its mainstream use as a leading CMS platform. Starting off as a blogging platform, WordPress has long since transformed itself into an all-in-one website builder that yes, still offers its highly trusted CMS capabilities. Apart from its useful text editor that enables formatting and tagging, WordPress also offers a great level of customization. This is particularly valuable for complex sites such as online shopping carts, and is made possible with a vast array of plugins.
However, what makes WordPress exceptional is its thorough integration with the Google Suite – particularly for SEO. Google’s Search Console enables comprehensive monitoring of your site, to indicate visitor traffic as well as other statistics pertaining to customer engagement.
When it comes to the best CMS platforms out there, Joomla is the next contender in this list. Unlike WordPress, Joomla isn’t necessarily easy for beginners or non-coders to get a grasp of. But it makes up for this by offering a number of highly resourceful features that can give businesses a good bang for their buck (especially if they need to hire a developer). Starting off, Joomla consists of in-built multilingual support. This means that multilingual websites can be created off of Joomla without the use of additional plugins, thereby reducing the need for extra work (and even the risk of errors that could happen in due course).
On top of that, the Joomla CMS is extremely versatile as it can customize posts to suit the preferences of your business. This level of customization is possible at a rather granular level, in comparison to other CMS platforms. Additionally, user management options are also diverse, thereby offering website administrators to customize the level of access they provide users.
Coming at a close third, Drupal may be less popular than the rest – but it definitely offers high value to make it the CMS platform of choice for numerous corporate giants the world over. Drupal also starts off by offering the usual as a reliable CMS provider, but it takes things a notch above with its extensive suite of security features that go all the way to the database level.
But that’s not all. Drupal is also highly resilient in the wake of traffic fluctuations, especially phases of high traffic. This prevents undue website crashes, thereby keeping your web presence constantly up to speed – and functioning well.
Primarily known for its website building qualities, Squarespace also offers a CMS structure that is easy to understand and later use. It provides a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor which displays exactly how an edit will look like on the front-end, before it is saved and made live. Due to its ease of use, Squarespace is undoubtedly a treasure for someone who has no coding knowledge, and aims to create a basic website of their own.
This ends up being a boon particularly for smaller boutique businesses, since many ideas need to start with a pilot before more time, money and other resources are invested to materialize something more substantial.
As the world continues to remain digitally connected, the consumption of content also subsequently increases – while taking many shapes depending on prevailing trends. Being a dedicated AWS partner, realizing the increasing dependency that businesses are now garnering towards the cloud is something to also take note of, since content is now primarily hosted. As content is unified across devices and screen dimensions, what takes place behind the scenes to make it all possible? Content Management Systems have long since constituted as the back-end to websites and blogs, but it’s a capability that is now evolving into something bigger and better – especially in the wake of numerous devices that double up as digitized smart devices.
Headless CMS in particular has been one of the biggest topics of discussion when it comes to CMS. Offering a holistic system to manage content for multiple output streams that may each have their own unique parameters such as device type, screen size and user interface, headless CMS has helped power IoT, while also removing the stress of building dedicated codes for every device.
With WordPress, Joomla and Drupal leading the CMS field, smaller players are still gaining traction owing to a range of unique capabilities. As a business owner, which platform will work for you depends on numerous factors, ranging from requirements to costs. Add to this software integrations on both an enterprise and consumer level; with everything connected across the digital landscape, the products and services your business offers should be connected too, else risk losing out to competition.