As ecommerce and the vast structure of tech that is built around it continually expands, deepens and expands with ever-increasing complexity, a company’s content has gone from a static and informative piece of the digital jigsaw to an evolving and immersive experience.
With the perpetual advancement of technology and competition for capturing customers and building loyalty, a brand’s content has become even more difficult to distinguish and separate itself. And the tools to build meaningful content expands from classic CMSs to digital asset management (DAM) platforms.
A content management system is the control center for creating and managing digital content. The high-end CMSs provide broader capabilities that incorporate features of DAMs, to allow users to build better content experiences. A CMS like Adobe Experience Manager allows you to automate tagging, assign roles and deadlines, add metadata and comments to every asset, and auto-scales in seconds.
Here at United Virtualities, we focus on Adobe Experience Manager because for our clients, they require an enterprise solution that is built with powerful capabilities to build a unique identity across all channels, languages, and platforms, from text and images to interactive ads and other marketing materials.
But not all companies need such a robust digital content solution. They don’t need AEM’s automation or developer tools. They don’t need cloud hosting or tailored messages to customers. Or they really want these capabilities but simply can’t afford them.
And so alternatively, there are content management systems that provide great alternatives depending on a company’s needs, requirements, and budget.
Flexible enough to provide customers with the ability to create customized templates and components, and to write content in multiple languages, CMS Hub is HubSpot’s content solution for businesses of all sizes.
One advantage that CMS HUB has is that it is very user friendly, with navigation easy to use, thanks to the fact that it is built on top of a CRM and is integrated with the marketing, sales, and service tools of HubSpot.
There are two separate versions: CMS Hub Professional and CMS Enterprise. The former is designed for growing companies and is priced at $300 per month; CMS Enterprise is designed for growing companies of all sizes and comes with everything that is found in Professional plus more, and is priced at $900 per month.
As an alternative for smaller and medium-sized businesses, Bynder is the ideal digital asset management platform to build on top of your pre-existing content management system. Providing popular plugins from WordPress and Drupal, expanding your CMS is very easy and quick.
Bynder is cloud based and makes it simple to share digital content as well as assign permissions and track it in the database.
Pricing for Bynder is estimated at $450, $1,250, or $2,250 per month.
Designed for businesses searching for capabilities to create mobile-first applications, portals, and intranets, Liferay DXP (short for digital experience platform) also enables users to stage features, add blogging tools, and work with a drag-and-drop interface.
Because it has a mobile-first approach, a business is able to integrate marketing tech with their customer database and across web and mobile.
Pricing for Liferay DXP is estimated at approximately $23,500 per year.
Another digital asset management platform, Brandfolder can actually be integrated with AEM or function as a stand alone solution. Simple to organize, manage, and distribute digital assets, Brandfolder utilizes thumbnailing, bulk tagging, and advanced filtering options.
The platform also contains Brand Intelligence, an artificial intelligence and machine learning tech where you can monitor content, allowing you to view who is using assets, as well as the highest-performing assets.
Saving the best for last: how can we resist WordPress? WordPress is the free content management system par excellence. It’s the gold standard and industry leader, and used by about 1/3rd of all websites. In fact, it’s so powerful and popular and free and established and with so many plugins to do so much of the extra functionality you’d want… the question for WordPress is really the reverse of the others: why not use WordPress?
And the answer there is basically, it’s designed to power run-of-the-mill sites, but not for the super-power that a high-end, high-volume site needs for its content management. The features that a serious system needs that don’t come natively nor easily integrated into WordPress include:
- There is no workflow for content review, approval, and editing (yes, I used the Oxford Comma there) nor any plugin to even accomplish that reasonably
- Lack of any digital rights management system
- A/B and multivariate testing (beyond trivial one-page landing page tests)
- Content and site personalization or customization per user for each particular visitor based on rulesets (for example, changing the content depending on the jurisdiction, or the user’s previous experience with you or the source of where the user came from)
- WordPress wasn’t built for speed but speed can be achieved via caching (and a few other tricks) – but caching largely limits the amount of personalization you can do for each visitor
In short, while WordPress has deep advantages and a great cost – and, powering so much of the internet, you know it will be around for years to come – but beyond a certain size, the requirements for a complex content management system for a serious, substantial site will ultimately overpower WordPress and force you to rebuild so much of it that it’s just not worth it, and instead you should look at an alternative instead.
Okay, Drupal was the top-of-the-line PHP CMS 20 years ago… and hasn’t really been changed since. (Yes, the Drupal haters will hate me… but haters are going to hate!). So Drupal doesn’t even deserve a full-treatment but instead I will jump to the conclusion: the one reason to use Drupal is for legacy reasons; you’re tied to it, for some unfortunate reason. But there’s no other reason to choose it today. Any advantage you could attribute to it today (say, it’s free, or you happen to love PHP) you can attribute much more strongly to WordPress so, well, see above.
The smoothest fit
All of these content management solutions will be an ideal fit for multiple types of businesses. And each of them has its own set of capabilities that fit with certain businesses better than others. Your needs and goals are going to direct you towards a particular CMS over others. If you’re a young and hip startup or limited by budget constraints, Bynder or Liferay DXP may be the better options – or perhaps even WordPress, if you have simple needs. For large brands or companies spread across continents and languages, you’re better off sticking to Adobe Experience Manager.