7 reasons to choose eZ Publish / eZ Platform if content is key to your business
If you landed here because you’re researching a content management system, then you already know there are literally thousands to choose from. Some you’re probably familiar with, but most you likely haven’t heard of. Narrowing down a shortlist can be overwhelming.
But if content is key to your business, you’ll want to choose a system that makes dealing with lots of content -- and leveraging it throughout your site and across other channels -- easy and intuitive.
We’ve worked with traditional publishers in the book and magazine industries, and with companies that publish content as part of their marketing and engagement strategies. We’ve also worked with some of the biggest and most popular content management systems around. Our top recommendation for content-based sites is eZ Publish / eZ Platform.
Originally launched in 1999, eZ is a robust enterprise CMS with a flexible suite of tools for businesses with publishing as a key activity. Its users include traditional publishers like the Financial Times, The Economist, and The Christian Science Monitor; large public organizations like Harvard University and the American Museum of Natural History; and big brands like Kitchen Aid and John Deere. All have one thing in common: they publish a lot of content that needs to work hard for their business -- whether for marketing, sales, reader engagement, or any number of multi-channel applications.
What we really like about eZ Publish is that it’s not trying to be everything to everyone. Its strength is with complex websites that require structured content, extensibility, and long-term performance. If this sounds like you, here are seven reasons to consider eZ Publish as your CMS.
Extensive core functionality
Some CMSs are lightweight at their core to allow users to add the functionality they need through extensions. Sounds appealing on the surface: why pay for what you don’t need? But the consequence of a lightweight core is that, to get the functionality you do need, someone will have to do a lot more coding -- either your development team, or those who create the third-party extensions you can plug in to your site. And the more extensions you add, the more security problems, bugs, and interoperability issues you’re bound to encounter, which can quickly blow through your development budget. Plus, a CMS highly dependent on extensions is very difficult to upgrade.
eZ takes the opposite approach: a robust core with a lot of built-in functionality and specific interfaces to add customizations that meet your unique requirements. In other words, you can do a lot with what’s already there so you don’t have to rely on an extensive patchwork of third-party extensions.
Of course, no CMS can have every functionality built-in, so whatever you choose will need to be able to interoperate with different platforms for functionality such as subscription fulfillment, ID management, and so on. eZ Publish is often used as an integration platform because it plays so nicely with others. In fact, eZ developers rarely have to say no to client requests due to technical incompatibility.
One way we’ve extended eZ Publish for content publishers is through the creation of workflows that reflect our clients’ specific needs and processes. For example, one of our clients needs to be able to run plagiarism checks on all new content before it goes live. We were able to integrate a third-party plagiarism scanner right into their workflow in eZ. After a content creator submits a post, an editor can quickly run the scanner to determine whether it contains content duplicated elsewhere online.
With eZ, we rely on and build integrations every day, whether we’re working with CRM and marketing platforms such as Salesforce and Marketo or making editorial enhancements such as with the Dropbox Chooser.
The way you structure your content affects not only your end users but also your content creators, who need to be able to easily find content in the back end. Unlike some popular CMSs, which display all back-end content in one long list, eZ Publish uses a tree structure, giving visibility to each branch and the ability to easily see the big picture. In other words, content structure in the back end reflects front-end navigation, so the URLs map directly, making it easy for non-technical users to manage their content. It also lets you name your tree branches whatever you’d like, and you can give your content types names that reflect your business practices.
Within each content type, you can also structure content to suit your needs -- separating out key components like author bylines, social media descriptions, and SEO requirements. And as your business evolves, so, too, can your content structure and content types. They’re never set in stone.
Separation of content and design
Separating content from design gives you the ability to repurpose your content in a variety of channels. eZ enables this by breaking content out into specific content fields or blobs (title, author, meta data, and so on), and storing the data in a structured XML format, preserving rich text formatting without HTML.
That allows you the flexibility to push your web content pieces to channels beyond your website, including mobile devices, social media, syndication channels, and even in-venue screens. And as your content channels become decentralized, managing them all this way in one central location is a valuable benefit that empowers you to maintain control over your digital assets.
As anyone who uses Drupal will know, upgrading your CMS can sometimes mean having to basically start from scratch with your code. Not so with eZ Publish / eZ Platform. Enterprise clients find that eZ has a clear upgrade path with a strong respect for backwards compatibility, even if your site is 10 years old. And this is very important for your total cost of ownership. You don’t want to be rewriting your site every three years, nor should you have to.
Enterprise support with open source code: best of both worlds
eZ marries the open source software model, where anyone can adapt the code to their needs, with the more traditional closed source model of having a parent company at the helm. Except in this case, you still own and can adapt the code, and the parent company, eZ Systems, maintains and supports the core code. A network of implementation partners is also available to support you in customizing the system to your needs.
eZ Publish / eZ Platform partners are certified experts around the world who have created a wide array of sites that demonstrate the power of the platform for publishers and companies that publish content as part of their core activities. No matter who you choose to work with as your development partner, you’ll have access to a skilled and experienced community of collaborators who work together to solve problems and deliver the best experiences for clients worldwide.
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