08.08.2023

Technical & Integrations

Balancing ease of use and customisation of your CMS solution

9 min read

Marc

Balancing ease of use and customisation of your CMS solution

In this article, we delve into the challenges and opportunities that arise when considering CMS solutions, with a focus on striking the perfect balance between ease of use and customisation.

Over the course of the two decades that I’ve spent in web development, I've had the privilege of witnessing the remarkable evolution of content management systems (CMS). From the early days of custom-built solutions to the emergence of out-of-the-box platforms, the world of CMS has come a long way. 

Today, we stand at the crossroads of user-friendly CMS solutions for non-technical users and the need for customisation to meet unique business requirements. 

Understanding CMS solutions

Before we dive deeper into the custom vs. out-of-the-box dilemma, let's understand what a CMS truly is and why it holds such importance for businesses. 

A CMS is a powerful software tool that empowers organisations to manage their digital content efficiently. From websites and blogs to e-commerce platforms and digital content, CMS solutions have revolutionised the way we interact with the online world.

In the early 2000s, the concept of CMS was groundbreaking, especially for non-technical users like marketers and content creators. Back then, making changes to a website required a coder's expertise, leaving businesses dependent on technical resources for even minor updates. 

I still remember the excitement of creating my first custom CMS back in 2004, a time when the world was just starting to realise the potential of such solutions. Little did I know that at the same time, WordPress was making its debut, signalling the beginning of a new era for content management.

The custom vs. out-of-the-box dilemma

Now, let's delve into the heart of the matter: the custom vs. out-of-the-box CMS debate. 

Custom CMS solutions have their merits, allowing businesses to tailor every aspect of their website to specific needs. Back in 2004, when I built my own CMS, it seemed like the ideal solution for complete control over the development process. 

However, there was a downside to this customisation. The risk of technical debt loomed over our heads - the more we customised, the harder it became to maintain, and the time spent on maintenance only grew as our business expanded.

On the other hand, out-of-the-box CMS platforms like Wix and Squarespace have emerged as user-friendly solutions that offer quick and easy website setup. 

They have a range of built-in features that allow non-technical users to create and manage content effortlessly. 

However, this ease of use can sometimes come at the cost of limited customisation options. Businesses might find themselves restricted by the platform's pre-designed templates and lack of flexibility in catering to unique needs.

The rise of user-friendly CMS solutions

The beauty of CMS solutions lies in empowering non-technical users to take control of their digital content. As technology advanced, so did user experience in CMS platforms. 

Today, we are in a golden age of user-friendly design, where intuitive interfaces have become the norm. This includes features such as the ability to preview content before publishing, enabling content creators to perfect their work without affecting the live site.

In my experience, one significant feature that enhances user-friendliness is customisation within modules. 

Consider a scenario where you have a rich text box for editing content. With a customisable CMS like HubSpot, you can take it a step further, allowing users to create switchbacks with images and text, all with a simple toggle option. 

This level of control enables businesses to design pages precisely as they envision them, while still leveraging the benefits of an out-of-the-box platform.

Catering to end-users and content creators

When building a CMS solution, we must focus on catering to both end-users and content creators. 

For the end-users - the visitors to the website - we aim for seamless navigation, quick loading times, and an enjoyable browsing experience. 

On the other hand, content creators should have an easy-to-use content editor that empowers them to make updates swiftly.

The user interface plays a critical role in delivering a positive experience to both these groups. 

When creating modules or content blocks, we take into account the end user's perspective while also considering the simplicity of the editing process for content creators. Striking this balance is crucial to ensure a successful CMS solution that satisfies all stakeholders.

Considering brand consistency

One essential aspect of user-friendliness is maintaining brand consistency across a website. With an effective design system, businesses can ensure that the content created adheres to brand guidelines without the need for technical expertise. 

For instance, you can provide users with predefined colour options that match their brand's identity. This way, they can create content that aligns with their brand without the risk of inconsistency.

The importance of user experience

UX is at the forefront of modern web development, and CMS solutions are no exception. As CMS platforms mature, developers are now able to create beautifully organised underlying technology, enabling a better user experience on the surface. 

Whether it's a drag-and-drop interface or conversational interfaces for easy navigation, the focus is on making content management seamless and intuitive for all users.

When selecting a CMS, businesses should prioritise the ease of use for both basic and advanced users. HubSpot’s CMS strikes the perfect balance, offering native drag-and-drop features for quick and straightforward content creation. 

Simultaneously, it empowers advanced users with customisation options, like developing custom modules to cater to specific requirements. This flexibility caters to a broader range of users, from content creators to technical experts.

Technical debt and customisation

One of the challenges with fully customised solutions is the risk of accumulating technical debt over time. When businesses build a custom CMS, they often focus on immediate needs without considering future scalability. 

As the system grows in complexity, maintaining and updating it becomes more challenging, leading to additional costs and time investment.

On the other hand, out-of-the-box CMS solutions, like HubSpot, take this burden away. As a hosted SaaS platform, HubSpot's team handles maintenance and updates, ensuring that businesses stay up-to-date with the latest features and improvements.

This eliminates the need for a dedicated in-house technical team to manage the system, saving resources that can be better utilised elsewhere.

The right balance: a CMS that adapts to your needs

To find the right balance between ease of use and customisation, businesses should consider their unique requirements and long-term goals. 

An ideal CMS solution should offer a range of out-of-the-box features, allowing users to build and manage a website quickly and efficiently. However, it should also provide room for customisation, so businesses can add unique functionalities and tailor the website to their specific needs.

HubSpot stands out as an excellent example of a CMS that strikes this balance. With its out-of-the-box CMS offering, users can leverage pre-built modules and themes to create stunning websites with ease. The platform's user-friendly interface empowers content creators to make updates and publish content effortlessly.

Simultaneously, businesses can tap into the power of customisation with HubSpot. 

Developers can create bespoke modules and fine-tune the website's functionalities to align with unique business requirements. Huble’s design system ensures brand consistency in the HubSpot CMS, making it a top choice for businesses looking to maintain a professional and cohesive online presence.

Why choose Huble as your partner in HubSpot website design

As businesses navigate the world of CMS solutions, striking the right balance between ease of use and customisation is critical to their success. 

While custom solutions can offer complete control, they also bring the risk of technical debt and maintenance challenges. Out-of-the-box solutions may lack the flexibility needed for specific business needs.

At Huble, we understand the complexities of finding the perfect CMS solution for your business. With our expertise in HubSpot website design, we can help you harness the power of a CMS that adapts to your needs. 

Whether you're a non-technical user seeking a user-friendly interface or an advanced user looking for customisation, our team can tailor a solution that works best for you.

Speak with our team to learn more about how Huble can transform your online presence and streamline your content management process with HubSpot. Let us help you unlock the full potential of your digital content and drive your business to new heights.

 

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