From Good Website to Great Website: Does it start with the CMS?

I was thinking about Jim Collins’ book and what makes a Good v. Great company. Good to Great by Jim CollinsThen I was thinking about how that applies to what makes a Good Website v. a Great Website, in terms of the WCM powering it. I was thinking about a recent conversation I had with a .NET WCM commercial provider at a conference. I asked him to tell me why his company’s WCM solution was better than his competitor’s .NET WCM solution. He immediately referred to build time, explaining that his company’s WCM could be built/integrated faster because it allows less customization. That was basically it. Beyond all other capabilities of each WCM he indicated that was the Key Value Proposition.

So I’ve been thinking about this ever since. And I think it’s a fallacious argument. I think the ability to build faster means: you get to build faster. If you have the ability to customize less: you have the ability to customize less. Okay, now in the scope of customization I believe that can be argued in different ways. It probably depends on what your business needs and how well your marketing people (and other stakeholders) and developers can scope out what customization your really need. To make a simple comparison, there are those of us who have always used any version of Microsoft Word out of the box and those of us who tweak our toolbars and build macros in order to work more efficiently. And then there are those who make only minor customizations. If you’re unlucky, you’ve had the displeasure of working on someone’s machine that has a highly customized Microsoft Word and they are probably the only person to whom it appears logical. Still following?

For the sake of scope of this blog post – I’m focusing on medium to large websites. In today’s market isn’t it even more important to focus on creating efficient content management platforms for content editors and marketing departments to readily update content, personalize content to visitors, effectively understand visitors and how they are navigating through your site, where they are converting to leads (or sales) and where they are dropping off? I mean, the website is the company’s front door. There’s a reason Google has such massive capitalization – we search everything. Need a new photocopier for the office? Search. Need ideas on how to through a baby shower? Search. Want to find the best prices on those cool shoes you saw? Search. Need a new CMS? Search!

When I say “efficient” I mean having an interface that is intuitive, offers thorough analytics, offers ease of sending out campaigns, testing web pages and forms, segmenting leads for the sales team….and more…but with little to no intervention or assistance from IT for day to day tasks.

If Marketers have the power to efficient work and create the content they want while being able to respond to the trends on their websites, they are more likely to have a GREAT website than just a GOOD one.