Is your institution’s website in need of a redesign? Are you questioned daily about when it will be mobile-friendly? Is it time to re-evaluate your institution’s web content management system (CMS)? Many colleges and universities consider implementing changes to their websites as more and more technologies advance and the pressure to keep up gets to be too much.
Yet, less than a decade ago, many higher ed websites were fairly simple and straightforward. A small web team could easily handle all of the content updates across a site. However, as the audience has become more tech-savvy and the need for a robust web presence has increased, the workload has outpaced the capability of a small team. Enter the almighty CMS. By allowing users to edit their own content, webmasters were freed to handle administrative duties as opposed to spending most of their time updating content across the site. Universities began asking, “Should we make the switch to a CMS?”
Today, the vast majority of colleges and universities use one kind of CMS or another. A survey conducted by DotEduGuru found that almost 95% of higher education institutions use a CMS. The question is no longer “Do we need a CMS?” – It’s “Which CMS will be best for our institution?” With all the options out there, it’s important to do several things in order to make an informed decision:
- First, create a plan. Look at your institutional, technical, and staffing needs to create a realistic expectation for your new CMS. Be careful not to over-complicate the plan with impractical desires suggested by overly enthusiastic stakeholders.
- Second, develop a budget. Don’t forget to budget for annual maintenance.
- Finally, with the above two pieces in place, develop a realistic list of features that you would like your new CMS to do. Treat things like ease of use, training, and the quality of support offered by the vendor as “features” because if these pieces aren’t there, none of the features will matter.
Many products have unique functions or services to enhance user experience, but there are six areas your new CMS should cover well to create a usable product that will leave your content contributors, admins, and designers satisfied.
Flexibility – Your new CMS should adapt to your institution’s existing (and future) hardware and environment.
Scalability - Your new CMS should be able to grow with your institution without becoming a headache.
Ease of use – Your new CMS has to have a workable interface that makes novice and advanced users alike happy.
Quick implementation – The quicker your institution can roll out your new CMS, the sooner content contributors can begin improving your site.
Comprehensive training – Your new CMS should come with effective training that equips your institution with the skills it needs to sustain the site for years to come.
Ongoing support – Your new CMS should have efficient, effective, and overall excellent support to quickly resolve issues and provide complete documentation.
Here at OmniUpdate, we've spent almost 15 years refining our CMS solution to fit those exact needs. Today, we are the most popular content management system for higher education, serving over 45,000 users. It’s an honor to see rankings like these and publications like this placing OU Campus atop the list as best CMS for higher education.
Making the switch to a new CMS is a big decision. Your web presence is at stake, as are years of commitment. OmniUpdate has been chosen by hundreds of colleges and universities around the country. We’d love to bring those years of experience and our highly-awarded CMS to your institution, too.