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6 Signs It’s Time to Change Your School’s CMS
Connor Gleason

You know that nagging feeling you get when something's not quite right, but you can't put your finger on it? That's how many of us feel about our school's content management system (CMS). Sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint exactly “why” it doesn't measure up to our expectations, and that unease is often a sign. Deep down, we know that our school's website could be better, more efficient, and more user-friendly. 

At the core of every school website is its CMS, and when you've picked the right CMS for your school, every department benefits:

  • Comms teams can publish across multiple channels quickly
  • The IT department has a smoother time ensuring everything's secure and data is synced
  • Your marketing office has the creative freedom they want
  • School leaders can better communicate their vision and goals
  • Your admissions and development offices can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing your online presence is making an impact

But sometimes, it's "death by a thousand cuts"...Let's explore some red flags that signal it's time to upgrade and find a CMS that truly elevates your school's digital presence.

1. You Have Too Many Systems

Have you ever heard the saying, "Too many cooks spoil the broth?" Having multiple systems often means a school’s content gets scattered, with different bits and pieces living in different places. This can create “data silos,” which are barriers between your school’s information and different teams or departments.

Confusion, duplicated efforts, and a website that gives mixed messages. With one unified, effective contentment management system working with an enrollment management system and your school’s communications tools, everyone can be on the same page and access the same data and messaging.

2. Your Site Doesn't Tell Your Story

Imagine you’re trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle, but the pieces won’t fit no matter how hard you try. When your marketing office of your IT team keeps saying, “Our CMS doesn’t let us do this,” it’s a glaring sign that your school's CMS might be holding you back. 

Schools are dynamic, and the best content management system for your school should be able to tell your story. Remember, your school website should be a reflection of your school’s spirit – vibrant, flexible, and forward-looking, and that means it should have the ability to share your community's voices, videos, profiles, images, blogs, student life, newsletters, and more.

Whether that's a template or custom site design, that requires the option to change layouts, apply your branding, and share your unique voice.

screenshot of dynamic content

3. It’s a Pain to Publish and Manage Content

If your current school's CMS makes you feel like you're on a content creation treadmill, always running but never getting ahead, it's time to find a system that embraces the value of creating once and publishing everywhere (COPE). After all, your school’s stories are worth telling again and again.

A core purpose of a CMS solution is to streamline publishing, not hinder it, and modern CMS solutions are designed to make publishing content across different channels without the hassle of starting from scratch, whether it's newsletters, alerts, or social media posts. 

Disjointed CMSs cause substantial bottlenecks at every step. If the CMS makes it a chore to upload the latest school newsletter or share photos from the recent science fair, then it’s not doing its job right.

An efficient CMS provides the tools to take that content and easily repurpose it, but if you’re finding your publishing efforts hindered by complexity, then it is absolutely time to consider making a switch.

Website Redesign Playbook

4. You Have Security Concerns

Security is a necessity, especially when it concerns student data and donor information. A breach in your school's CMS could mean sensitive information landing in the wrong hands, and that’s particularly an issue if you’re using plug-ins and an open-source solution like WordPress or Drupal, which are prone to ransomware and malware attacks.

Your website provider should always be on the ball, keeping up with the latest security updates. If your CMS vendor seems stuck in the past, not adapting to new tech or listening to feedback, it might be time to reevaluate.

site settings

5. There's No Chance to Grow

If the CMS makes it tough to integrate new tools, it's a sign that it might be falling behind.

In other words, you should find a CMS that can integrate all those useful add-ons and offer features that include analytics, workflow automation, social media integration, lead nurturing, SEO, inbound marketing, and so on. If your current CMS feels like it's making you run a digital relay race, passing the baton between apps and platforms, it's time to consider a more integrated solution.

messages xr dashboard on a laptop mockup

6. It’s Missing Integrated Communication Tools

Your school's CMS should be a hub of communication. It's versatile, packing in multiple tools that seamlessly work together to create a great user experience. From sending out newsletters, writing blog posts, and updating parents about upcoming events to managing mass notifications, everything should be integrated.

Cut the Constant Contact more juggling separate systems for emails, announcements, and alerts. Every communications and marketing tool should be right there, in one unified platform.

Why is this so crucial? 

Time is of the essence and your school or district’s brand hinges on your communications to families and stakeholders. Teachers, administrators, and staff shouldn’t waste precious minutes navigating through a maze of disjointed platforms, and a CMS with integrated communication tools means they won’t have to.

Key Takeaway

Think about your school or district’s visions and goals. Your school website is a powerful tool, capable of streamlining communication, showcasing achievements, and making daily tasks easier. So, if you noticed yourself nodding to any of the signs above, maybe it’s time to explore your options.

Composer Navattic Demo

Connor Gleason Headshot


Connor has spent the last decade within the field of marketing and communications, working with independent schools and colleges throughout New England. As Finalsite’s Senior Content Marketing Manager, Connor plans and executes marketing strategies and digital content across the web. A former photojournalist, he has a passion for digital media, storytelling, coffee, and creating content that connects.

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