In part 1 (Choosing the Right Shopping Cart Software and Web Content Management Software - Part 1) we looked closely at some of the features in shopping cart software to help you identify what you may or may not need from your software.
To help you evaluate some of the features you may need from your web content management software to run your online business, it will be helpful to think about how important the following features are to you. The level of demand for each of these features will depend a great deal on how experienced you are with web content management software.
As mentioned in part 1, some shopping cart software can limit the number of products a website retails, while others can support unlimited products.
This is the same for web content management software - some systems or versions of the software can limit features available to you and if you plan to grow your business it is important that your content management system has room for growth and can support the growing amount of information on your site. Software that supports a limited amount of content may be fine for a short time, however may become a problem as the website develops.
Similarly, one of the main purposes of content management software is that it allows a number of administrators to organise and handle the information that is uploaded to one website no matter where they are located. This means that separate departments can handle the information on one website from the same system. Some software can limit the number of administrators that have access to the content management system, therefore if you plan on expanding you may want to take this into consideration.
If you want to get up and running quickly you may consider buying web content management software that provides you with predefined templates or base designs that you can customize to suit your design preferences.
Web site content management systems often provide template-based designs that allow users to build up a website from scratch without any HTML knowledge at all. On the other hand, for people with advanced PHP knowledge or a definite idea about how they want a website to look, it is important to find a flexible content management product with an advanced scripting engine behind the scenes.
Search Engine Friendly
Search engines drive a great amount of traffic to a website therefore it is important your custom pages can be easily accessed by the search engines.
For ecommerce websites dynamically generated websites offer some real benefits. However some search engines have been unable to spider dynamic websites in the past and they often do not appear high up in the search engines. Some web content management solutions have overcome this problem by producing static pages, so this may be an important factor to you.
Some content management products additionally support RSS feeds. RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds are very search engine friendly if updated regularly with fresh content, and they enable other web masters to syndicate your content, which can effectively increase brand awareness.
Similarly, some shopping cart solutions support the ability to add META data to each page, an important factor in on-page search engine optimisation.
Managing Customer Support
It is possible to get web content management software that provides you with the ability to add and manage a forum on your website. Forums can become a widely used feature of a website, this is more so the case if online retailers sell equipment users may need product support for.
Test, test, test
As with shopping cart software, the key to choosing a piece of content management software is practical testing. You should download a free version of the software and test it out.
ViArt are offering a fully hosted 30-day trial of their Shopping cart and integrated web content management software. This means you can test out the Viart Shop without any installation or commitment whatsoever from: http://www.viart.com/hosting_trial.php