Marketing has evolved significantly over the past few decades. Naturally, it has also invented and introduced many new concepts and terms like SEO, CRM, SERP, CDN, and CMS. For some, keeping up with the ever-growing marketing terminology can be challenging. Still, any successful brand needs, at least, a basic knowledge of these terms.
CMS (content management system) is one of the most central aspects of marketing. More than 68 million websites are built with CMS and this could be a great solution to many problems you face with your website.
Here we’ll define what a CMS is and how it works. Then we’ll look at some of its benefits for educational organizations and some of the challenges. Make sure your school’s content management system is working for you and not against you. Let’s dive in.
What is a Content Management System?
A content management system (CMS) is a tool for creating, editing, or publishing website content and managing your organization’s digital assets. For example, if you want to edit an old blog post or add a new article to your website, CMS gives you a simple and easy-to-use platform.
CMS can be added directly to your network as a web-based solution. You can also use the software version on your computer. This way, you can change, add, edit, and modify content on your website or blog without damaging its appearance.
Why Content Management System Is Important
CMS is a good tool for many schools because it creates a collaborative work environment where multiple team members, from administrators to editors and teachers, can monitor and manage web content. This collaborative environment is especially useful since running a successful website is rarely a one-man job.
Moreover, CMS helps school administrators share responsibility with Role Assignment features and lets every member of the school community participate in preserving their collective identity.
Finally, CMS is very flexible in integrating third-party systems, so you can focus on different aspects of your school marketing campaign, including design, content creation, website maintenance, data security, website development, and search engine optimization.
Content management systems and word processing software share many similarities. Nevertheless, CMS is more comprehensive. It helps you organize, write, and modify content and prepares it for your audience.
Benefits of CMS for Schools
Every CMS is different. One platform may be perfect for publishing and creating content, while the other focuses on optimizing page findability and search engine optimization. In short, each content management system has its advantages and drawbacks. Here are some of the benefits you can expect from using CMS for your school:
#1 Easy Interface
Using complex tools may not be an issue for professional marketers. But other brands and businesses need user-friendly, easy-to-navigate software. Otherwise, they may leave it altogether without even trying. The good thing about most popular content management systems is that they are extremely user-friendly.
Many CMS software systems will simulate your website with similar templates and designs, making finding your way around different features and options much easier. The content management systems are designed based on intuitive navigation, not high-level technical knowledge. With proper training, updating your website’s content can be quite simple.
Every brand and business has different needs and preferences. For instance, one organization may prioritize communication with students and families or aim to provide a high-quality education. That’s why having a customizable CMS makes a huge difference in tackling specific tasks and challenges.
Content management systems offer many customization options, including personalized design, layout, and content organization. You can install new themes, change colors, and adjust dashboards, the main menu, and the navigation bar. You can add plugins and extensions like contact forms if you want more features.
#3 Teamwork and Collaboration
Managing digital marketing campaign or websites usually take a lot of time. You need people with expertise, dedication, and willingness to design and develop webpages, create content, and manage your communication strategy with prospective parents and students. The DIY approach is a common but inefficient way to deal with all these tasks.
Instead, you can use CMS as a sustainable, long-term strategy. CMS helps you build a strong team of professionals on a single platform and allows users to collaborate to achieve a specific objective.
For example, content creators can write blog posts or videos while designers work on visual components. At the same time, editors can track their progress and ensure brand consistency.
#4 Creating Content Calendar
Having a content strategy, comprehensive market research, and well-thought-out web design are important. Still, keeping a steady workflow without a content publication schedule can be very challenging because no one would know when to accomplish their tasks.
Creating a content calendar helps you plan your publication and make sure you get the right mix of content types, at the right time, and for the right audience. Although there are many tools for planning a content release schedule, the good news is you don’t need them when you have CMS software.
Content management systems offer you a good combination of tools and features to draft your content and schedule it for later publishing. You can even schedule the content release months in advance without worrying about forgetting them.
#5 Cost Efficiency
CMS is a financially viable option for every educational organization. The automation and standardized online learning processes reduce costs by replacing most manual tasks. The less work your employees put into maintaining the website, the more resources you have available to improve the quality of your top priority and the education you provide.
Moreover, CMS offers unparalleled integration features, reducing the number of routine operations and overlaps. This way, you have more control over each aspect of your content strategy, which helps you find weaknesses and opportunities in the workflow and promptly respond to them.
Challenges of CMS for your school website
We’ve talked about some advantages of using a content management system to manage your school’s website, but now let’s address those challenges.
Your website’s health depends on many factors, but above all, it is data security.
If you manage your school website in-house, you’ll need to include a focus on security. Daily instances of website hacking, ransomware intrusions, and data stealing happen. This means being constantly on guard against these nefarious players. It includes server and software security measures and updating against recent hacking measures facing organizations and businesses worldwide. Your school is no exception.
When developing your own CMS platform or using a vendor that provides these services, ensure that they are diligently managing against intrusions to keep your website secure and available.
On the other hand, we’ve been witnessing an increasing number of cyber-attacks on school websites, raising concerns from students, parents, staff, and faculty members about the security of their private information. Many content management systems have integrated state-of-the-art security measures for updating, hosting, backing up, and managing websites.
For example, a recent WP White Security study revealed that 70% of WordPress installations are vulnerable to security breaches. So, take extra measures to safeguard your website’s health and security. If your staff isn’t trained on the many server and website security levels needed to manage your own CMS, get some help!
#2 Too many cooks in the kitchen?
When using a CMS for website updates, anyone with access to update your school website must follow an overall guiding brand. Without these guidelines, your website will soon become disorganized and unattractive. This can be handled by ensuring that a school brand guideline is followed, including consistent content tone, colors, font choice, and layout. Like too many cooks cooking the soup can create something inedible, the same can happen to your school website if not managed consistently.
Another way to handle this issue is to have checks and balances in place so that a single resource approves updates. This can eliminate inconsistency and error issues but can also create a bottleneck and slow down the update process unless managed promptly. It often requires dedicated resources for the approval task as well.
At School Webmasters, we solve these problems for our schools by offering a blend of services. We offer CMS services for schools that want to manage all website updates using their staff. However, we also offer school webmaster services for those schools wanting to maintain consistency for their brand, assure security and accuracy, and maintain ADA compliance.
#3 The real costs
Some schools feel they are saving money by having their staff manage website updates. But, you’ll want to be sure you have analyzed the cost of having staff spend their time on website updates and the training involved in making those updates, especially those dedicated to other tasks. If you pull a teacher from his or her teaching duties to train and manage the website, you are still paying them for this work, and if you don’t factor that in, you will not understand the actual website management cost.
So, use your resources wisely, and develop a system that works for your school. It may be a blend of using school webmaster resources and your staff managing your website in-house. Just be sure you compare your options and find the best one for your situation.
#4 Website accessibility
Website accessibility is another issue that every school needs to address. Not only is it the law that you eliminate barriers to access to your school website (for which there are expensive and litigious results for non-compliance), but you also want to ensure that you are not limiting access to any site visitors. Since as many as 15-20% of the population are affected with some disability, there is good reason to provide accessibility.
So, including the training necessary for your staff to learn your CMS, you’ll want to ensure they are each trained on using that system to guarantee every update is compliant. Managing multiple staff in this area can become challenging, but it is necessary for effective school website management.
With a plethora of CMS solutions in the market, you have many valuable resources to contribute to your school community and offer prospective students a unique online experience.
Many content management systems are free and highly customizable. They provide powerful integration features to help you analyze and plan your content creation process. That said, no content management system is perfect. You still need to work on other aspects of your brand promotion to keep everything in the right direction.
If you’re unsure where to start, the answer is right here at School Webmasters. We offer you the ultimate school website solution, from website design to social media management, website maintenance, logo and design services, and parent messaging services. Whether you want to use your staff to update your website or have the help of experts to keep things on track, we’ve got your back.