A content management system (CMS) allows you to create and manage online digital content such as a website. WordPress, Hubspot, and Wix are all examples of a CMS. Because your website is crucial for enticing guests (think of it as your online lobby), the software you use to create that website is key. Choosing the right CMS helps ensure a user-friendly experience for you and your customers—and saves you time and money as your website evolves.
Here’s what to look for when choosing a CMS for your hotel website.
How hackable is too hackable? You don’t want to have to ask. Instead, pay attention to your CMS security features such as SSL encryption, content delivery network, and web application firewall before you buy. Find out if your CMS has a dedicated security team, made up of employees, not volunteers or community members. Ensure that the software is easy to update when new security patches come out.
Ease of Use
Ask yourself how easy your system is for a beginner. Is it intuitive or counterintuitive? You shouldn’t have to be a web designer or HTML expert to update your website’s content.
Whether you’re editing text, adding images or creating new pages, your CMS content editor should make it easy with drag-and-drop and WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) functionality. You shouldn’t have to contact your web designer every time you need to update your content—this will get old (and expensive) fast. You should be able to add and edit content yourself without knowing code.
Lastly, find out about access to support in case something goes sideways. Is there a customer support team or robust community forum?
A plugin is a little extension on your website that adds functionality. If that sounds vague, that’s because it is; plugins come in all shapes and sizes and serve a wide variety of purposes. For instance, you can have plugins for your contact form, site analytics, security (see above), and even SEO optimization.
The catch is that not every plugin will work with every website. Think of it like a jigsaw puzzle; if the piece doesn’t fit, the overall picture (your website) will fail. And it can fail dramatically, going down in flames (or at least a 500 Internal Server Error). Before committing to a CMS, research the kinds of plugins it offers to make sure your wishlist is covered. WordPress has over sixty thousand to choose from.
You can’t use them all though. Not only would this make your site extremely convoluted, it would also slow it down, tanking your SEO and user experience along with it. The more plugins you use, the more vulnerable to security issues your site is, especially when plugins become out-of-date. So be selective. And jettison old plugins when you update your site.
There’s more to SEO than keywords, and the CMS you use impacts those rankings. Choose one with effective HTML markup (how code is written), SEO-friendly permalinks (web page URLs), and responsive themes (mobile-friendly design). These elements and more all come into play to boost your website’s search ranking. You don’t need to know much about them though; they’re the responsibility of your CMS. All you have to do is pick the right CMS.
Your website is a marketing investment and, like any other investment, you need to see ROI. You should know who your audience is and how they’re interacting with your content. Is one of your blog posts surprisingly popular? Or do visitors consistently exit from a page you wouldn’t expect? Your CMS should either provide basic website metrics or offer a plugin for a service that does (such as Google Analytics) so that you can monitor the performance of your site and make improvements where necessary.
Analyze your data! If Google Analytics reports a page with high bounce rates, then it’s not relevant to your visitors and needs a content refresh. Do you have a blog post that has a lot of hits? That’s perfect insight for creating more related content.
Consider who in your organization will manage your site—and what for—before choosing a CMS. Your CMS should allow you to designate different roles (and access levels) for different people, e.g., administrators, editors, and contributors.
CMS come with pre-made themes and templates, so you don’t have to create designs from scratch. The theme is the overall look and feel of your site. It determines the front-end design and functionality, including navigation style. Page templates available within the theme allow you to choose layouts for individual pages, saving lots of time. Make sure your CMS offers hotel themes and templates that work for your brand and function well across devices. It’s important to choose a theme that integrates easily with your booking engine, email marketing system, chatbot, and social media feeds.
Does your website showcase guest testimonials and reviews? TripAdvisor says that at least 72% of guests refer to reviews before booking. Consider using a widget that displays testimonials on your website, encouraging guests to stay on your website instead of searching for reviews on OTAs.
Do your research before deciding on a CMS to prevent future headaches and revenue loss. When you decorate your lobby, you don’t grab a paint can and start splattering. You consider your options first (and you hire a paint company). Treat your website with the same care.
Here at World Web Technologies we use WordPress to create beautiful, high-performance websites for all kinds of lodging operations at an affordable price. The modern, easy-to-use CMS offers all of the above and gives our clients more control over their sites. Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote or to find out more about how we can bring your vision to life.