If you manage an enterprise CMS-driven website, upgrades are a recurring fact of life. At least once or twice a year, CMS companies like Ektron and EPiServer will release major upgrades to their platform with new functionality, refined architecture, bug fixes and a variety of other improvements. Generally, there are plenty of technical reasons why upgrading is a good idea. But upgrading provides an opportunity for more than just making sure your platform is stable, up to date and secure. As CMSs evolve and provide new tools to meet the demands of an ever-changing digital universe, you should also look at upgrades as an opportunity to see how your website is embracing new trends, how effectively you're engaging your audience, and most importantly, determine if you're seeing an ROI from your ongoing CMS spend.
Let's just assume you've purchased a CMS and you pay your yearly maintenance fees which give you access to upgrades. If you simply do nothing and let your site hum along without upgrading or making any significant modifications, the more proactive CMS clients thank you for your generous donation. You see, part of your maintenance fee is what pays for the R & D and all the engineering that goes into continually improving and updating the CMS. If you don't take advantage of the updates, you're paying for something you're not using.
If you do stay up to date on upgrading, but your site is basically the same now as it was three years ago, you're really not in much better shape than the do-nothing group. Yes, your site is on the latest and greatest version, and that has its advantages, but the digital universe changes rapidly, and you can be quickly left behind if you're not thinking strategically about how to use your website to stay current and relevant to your audience.
Ektron's latest addition to their product line is a good example of a CMS platform evolving to meet important industry trends but requiring a strategic change in the mindset and behavior of its users. Coinciding with the release of version 9.1, Ektron introduced the Content Marketing Platform (CMP), a toolset allowing users to build and manage inbound marketing campaigns. Inbound Marketing in and of itself is not a CMS function. It arose out of the evolution of SEO, blogging, and intelligently driving quality traffic to your site via targeted, personalized content rather than pushing out messages and hoping somebody listens (i.e. traditional marketing). Since Inbound Marketing relies heavily on content creation, the CMS plays a vital role. But the CMS will not change your marketing practices or write the content for you. You need to adjust your thinking and embrace a strategy of actively engaging your audience to drive business.
Ektron understands that success on the web is the result of looking forward, and its product path reflects the changing habits of users and marketers. As a CMS user hoping to stay ahead of the curve, you should adopt a similar way of thinking and make sure your web strategy is current and geared toward staying relevant in a rapidly changing world. While a CMS upgrade will not automatically do this for you, it can be an essential step in aligning all of your marketing tools to create the most effective web presence you can.
So, if you find yourself 2, 3, or 8 versions behind with your CMS, take a step back and see how an upgrade might play into an overall strategic re-evaluation of your website. Some questions to consider are:
- Is my website meeting organizational goals?
- Is my audience getting what they want/expect from the website?
- Is my website reaching new users and contributing to the growth of my organization?
- Is my current CMS implementation capable of supporting what I need to do to answer "yes" to all of these questions?
By following this strategic path, the decision about whether or when to upgrade your CMS should be fairly easy. Its not the driving factor to building a successful web presence but an important step along the way. Do you have any questions about how to make sure your web strategy is up to date along with your CMS? Please contact us to speak to a CMS and/or online marketing expert, or feel free to leave a comment below.