Web Content Management is Losing Its Competitive Advantage

By Deane Barker • Posted on July 07, 2011

For a side project, I’m finally writing down my time-honored elevator pitch for “The Benefits of Content Management.” This should be simple, right? I mean, I’ve been droning on and on about this for years.

Weirdly, however, it’s got me thinking about something odd –

What are the benefits of content management...over what alternative?

Well, static HTML sites, of course! But – and I mean this seriously – how many of you are doing those anymore? What percentage of Web shops out there still cranking out sites in static HTML? Is there any business needing more than just brochureware that is seriously considering static HTML? Do your pitches ever come down to talking someone into a CMS over static HTML?

You used to be able to get a GeoCities or GoDaddy account and upload your FrontPage site. The equivalent of that today is something like WordPress.com, Drupal Gardens, or Squarespace

Today, the default choice is really content management. We’re to the point with all the free tools out there, that it would actually be harder to develop something in static HTML than in a CMS. Can you imagine buying a copy of Dreamweaver and teaching a client how to use it? Can you imagine managing a new, remotely complex site in static HTML with Expression Web?

If you go get some book about “How to Build Your First Web Site,” I would think page one should just be “Go sign up for a WordPress.com account...” FTPing HTML files will go the way of the command line. (Relax, Linux fanboys – I just mean it will be something people don’t do without a good reason and the expertise to match.)

The competitive advantage of content management is disappearing. It only had an advantage while the majority of sites were stuck back in static HTML. With this in mind, the “what are the benefits of content management” speech loses all its relevance. You may as well just skip it. And if this is the crux of your sales pitch, you have a problem.

The question is no longer “what are the benefits of content management?” The question has become, “what are the benefits of CMS A over CMS B?”

This is item #118 in a sequence of 356 items.

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