Create engaging user experiences with your CMS
5 not-so-secret top tips to create engaging user experiences with your CMS.
These days, it goes without saying that a digital presence is key to business success. Trust us. As a digital design agency we live online and bear witness to the good, the bad and the ugly of websites across the wild west of the web (that’s what www. stands for, right?!).
Put simply, it pays to have a bespoke, user-friendly website. But what happens when your agency has delivered a beautifully-crafted website? What about the content?! We know creating a new campaign landing or updating your service pages can seem like daunting tasks, but that’s where a content management system (CMS) comes in.
What's a CMS?
Before we get into the good stuff, if you haven’t come across the almighty CMS, let’s rewind for a sec. A Content Management System is a piece of software that allows you to create, manage, and modify digital content without the need for extensive technical expertise. Think of a CMS as the layer between your content and the front end of your website. Flavoursome content spices go in, a tasty front end meal comes out. There. Done. Finito.
From Wordpress to Umbraco, these nifty pieces of kit make it easy for your website to grow with your business, providing a centralised platform to collaborate on and efficiently manage content. They also usually have built-in Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) functionality to add metadata and supercharge your content.
How to create engaging user experiences with your CMS
With great power comes great responsibility and the same goes for websites as it does for spider-bitten super heroes. In the hands of the wrong content editor, your digital content can go awol and the fate of your customers’ loyalty hangs in the balance. Never fear, Yoyo is here with some top tips on how to use your CMS to create engaging user experiences.
1. Choose suitable components
Choosing the most suitable component for your content is the first step to creating an engaging user experience with your CMS. This may seem straightforward but it isn’t the easiest thing to get right. Components are the sections, or rather building blocks, of a page. You should be able to look at most websites, split them into visible sections, and there you have your components. It all starts with your content, though. Is there a lot of it? Can I break this down into sections? Do my users need to read it all at once? These are all questions we can ask ourselves as content editors when choosing which component to house your content.
If you’re uploading frequently asked questions, for instance, an ‘accordion’-style component allows you to hide your answer content and reveal it when a user interacts with the component. If you want to signpost your users to a specific page on your website, avoid simply hyperlinking text and use a component that features heading copy and a prominent call-to-action button.
2. Utilise theme and layout options
All components are born equal but some are more equal than others. I’m not going all Orwellian on you, but rather hinting at the various theming and layout options available in your CMS. Do you want your text left, centre, or right-aligned? Can you apply your primary brand colour to the background? A CMS gives you the flexibility to explore the endless possibilities of your design system with the click of a button.
It is this flexibility which allows you as a content editor to grab and guide your users attention through your content. Our not-so-secret top tips for using theme and layout options effectively are to pay close attention to the page as a whole and use the ‘preview’ functionality to make sure you’re happy with how things come together before publishing.
3. Personalise your content
Personalisation means a lot of things to different people. Whilst powerful content management systems like Sitecore allow you to serve relevant content tailored in real-time, there are simpler ways to personalise content for your audience. It is, however, essential that you know your audience.
Understanding their wants and needs will help you serve content to your users at the right time in their experience. Predicting the questions that your audience will be asking and the actions they likely want to take will enable you to structure your content accordingly. The bottom of your page is a prime example where we can apply this approach by signposting to content which answers those questions and facilitates the next stage in their customer journey - moving closer towards their goal.
4. Create page templates
Uploading content to your website can seem like a pain. Whether you don’t know where to start, which components to use, or aren’t that confident with the CMS, here’s a sure fire way to make your life a little easier. Page templates. These are pages within your CMS that you can duplicate and use as a starting point for your content. Nobody likes a blank canvas!
This will certainly speed up your content workflow and support the consistent use of components across your website’s user experience. Taking this a step further, we recommend you create a template for all types of your content - from generic content and landing pages to article and product pages.
5. Test & Learn
Your website is a living breathing thing - it will grow and shrink with your business depending on your content needs. That means you’re undoubtedly going to have a long-term relationship with your CMS.
Some content will be popular, improve your conversion rate, and help users achieve their goals. Some will be less impactful. As a result, there is an opportunity to test and learn with each upload. Tap into the data available at your fingertips, conduct usability testing and translate your learnings into design interventions that ensure your user experience is as engaging as possible.
Want to use your CMS to supercharge your website?
Don’t hesitate to get in touch with a member of the Yoyo team!