People come to your website to learn something. About your services. Your pricing. Your people. You name it. That’s why it’s such a good idea to have a website based on a content management system. A CMS puts content under your control. That is a very good thing.

Before we talk more about why you want to wrangle updates yourself, let’s talk a bit more about what a CMS is. What does CMS even mean? It’s jargon to most people. When talking to friends about the website I just developed and how excited I was because I coded the CMS “so easy to use, even an admin can make content changes” – I get blank stares.

In my attempt to explain CMS, I will say something like, “You know… it’s when I do all the coding and hide it to make it super easy for non-tech types to make updates to their website without knowing or having to see any of the difficult coding and backend stuff.” The response is usually, “Oh, okay…” But they still have no idea what I’m talking about and the topic shifts to a newly released movie or an upcoming game.

I like to compare creating a website to a movie production. It takes a team of people working together. There are stages of production from planning, writing the story, gathering assets, determining visuals, adding audio, editing, and making it all come together for viewers/users. As a developer, my role is backstage, helping the production run smoothly. The CMS is just one of my tools.

WordPress is one of the most widely known and used CMSs. I interact with it every day. Of course, there are many other systems in the marketplace that are open-source and free to use. These include Joomla and Drupal. Each one has its pros and cons. It ultimately comes down to which best suits you.

Visualize with Me

I would like you to visualize something with me. Think about visiting a webpage in your browser. There are form fields to input a title, a subtitle, upload an image, and text – like those contact fields you’ve no doubt seen (and probably used) in just about every website you’ve visited. Enter the content in those boxes and click save. Simple, right? A link then shows up that says, “View Page.” You click that, the browser refreshes and you see the title, subtitle, image, and text right there as a webpage. Add a few more pages. The next step is to create a navigation. Are you with me? Click on a button that says “Menu.” A list of the pages you just created shows up and you can select the pages and add them to the menu. Save. View page. You then have links that show the pages you created. You can move back and forth between the pages. This is the simplest form of the CMS in action. You do not need to code or learn a new language. It’s already been done for you by a developer, like me. You’re welcome.

When to Bring in the Professionals

Now wait, if it’s that easy, why do you need a professional digital team behind you? I’m going to guess that you are going to want something more impressive than a title, subtitle, image and text on a webpage. You need a professional website that builds your brand, achieves key performance goals, and doesn’t break when traffic gets heavy or the latest CMS update goes live.

That’s where you may need help. Look for a proven agency that can manage all stages of production from initial strategy to final execution. Partner with someone with marketing expertise and creative skills as well as digital acumen to lift your website to another level of excellence. Someone who will deploy search-engine optimization (SEO) tactics and help you monitor and adjust over time. Your website should not be one and done, but rather in a constant state of evolution and refinement.

And content? Why does it rule so mightily? Because today people use the web as their go-to research tool. They comparatively shop and do their homework before they pick up the phone or shoot you an email. They want to gain a better understanding of you and your offerings. Sources such as DemandMetric say content marketing generates as much as three times as many leads while costing 62% less than traditional marketing. So, you don’t just want your content to be as good and as fresh as possible. It simply must be.

This column ran in the February 16th issue of BlueSky Business Aviation News.