Bridgeline Software (site, news) thinks that the better informed you are about a CMS selection process, the better your return of investment can be. That’s why they’ve released a report called Choosing a Content Management System for Maximizing Web Site ROI.

Step 1: Optimizing Content for the Web

Content management platforms should do more than just manage content. They should also serve as hubs for communicating content and data between key web applications, including sales force automation, customer relationship management, eMarketing, eCommerce and analytics.

Systems that take SEO into consideration are also recommended. It’s true that SEO and CMS don’t always go hand and hand, but they ought to as they both impact a website’s optimization. Bridgeline offers a few tips about what to look for when choosing a CMS.

  • Automactic updates: Site maps and navigation should be generated automatically as pages are published to the site
  • Built-in keyword search functionality
  • Customizable search results: should be able to group results by category
  • SEO Friendly: create search engine-readable URLs that can be controlled by content authors, so they can embed appropriate keywords and phrases.

Step 2: Defining ROI

Of course building or implementing a Web CMS that helps to optimize a website is only part of the solution. Another is defining and identifying ROI. According to Bridgeline, the ROI of your website is directly dependent on the ability to deliver relevant, engaging content to visitors in a timely manner.  Improving website performance and ROI can be done by ensuring that analytics reports and CMS are seamlessly integrated so that “performance-enhancing changes” are made in real time.

Step 3: Making an Investment

Choosing the right CMS for your organization is not just a question of performance, but also price. Be prepared to make an affordable investment, as well as strategic enhancements to help your staff work smarter, not harder.

Bridgeline suggests looking for a CMS built using industry standard platforms, popular databases and open architectures, so that the CMS can bee modified in-house if functionalities need to be updated to meet current or future needs.

As we prepare for the New Year, don’t let your CMS hold you back. As well, don’t let your efforts to choose a new one overwhelm you. There are lots of resources to help you. Bridgeline’s report is just one of them.