CMS Integration

Google Analytics Dashboard
Google Analytics Dashboard

For any site that has more than a few pages, it’s most likely using some sort of Content Management System (CMS). The CMS options available today range from the very simple (online “page builders” provided by web hosting companies) to the very complex (enterprise class CMS like Interwoven TeamSite). Somewhere in the middle lie the more popular Open Source options like Drupal or Joomla. Even the popular blog tool WordPress is considered a CMS.

A CMS can make managing a web site much easier even if your company currently only needs one person to manage it. Any CMS is great at making it easier to update content on a web site without needing to know all the codes required to make it look the way you want. You just type and go. Now if content requires some kind of workflow process for approval before it goes live, many CMS can help automate that for you as well (once content has been updated the system can be set to notify the correct folks within the company to review and approve it, once approvals have been made the system can then just update the content automatically based upon the scheduled time it was meant to go live).

Another great feature of a CMS is link management. If you have a relatively large site and you change the name of a particular page, it can take hours to hunt down all the links to that page across the site and update them manually. This is an area where a CMS really excels in – it keeps track of all those links for you and when you change a file name, it will update the links on all the pages for you automatically (or at least it should – if it doesn’t someone didn’t set it up correctly).

So with all the easy of use and back-end management that a CMS can provide, the next logical thing would be for it to also be able to manage your web analytics tracking for you. Now a CMS will not, out of the box, provide such functionality. However if you integrate your analytics solution into your CMS you can save yourself a lot of time and hassle in the future.

Depending somewhat both on your CMS set-up and your analytics solution, you can either have a very simple, nearly automated process for integrating the two, or a more complex one that will require some manual work from a developer to get it set up. However once it’s set up it shouldn’t require a lot of help from the developer for the Web Analyst to be able to manage and track both the site and any campaigns you may be launching over time.

Many CMS vendors are seeing the need to supply easy to implement integrations and in the Open Source community folks are developing modules, widgets or plug-ins that help automate the process of the integration. WordPress has a variety of plug-ins available for Google Analytics, for example.

Bottom line – if your company does not yet use a CMS, or have your analytics tool integrated into your CMS solution, you should start considering implementing it. It will save both your web developers and your web analysts time – time they could be focusing on more critical projects.

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