Almost 40 per cent of respondents in our State of digital copywriting survey felt that the CMS had an effect on the quality of published content. But was the effect positive or negative?

On the plus side, some respondents felt that CMS constraints were creative. ‘Limits on length help keep copy short and snappy and improve overall quality,’ was one comment. It’s ‘strictly templated – which is good for consistency,’ said another.

Rather more comments, however, felt that the CMS hindered rather than helped with the presentation of user-friendly content. Here are some typical comments: 

  • ‘It restricts layout options’
  • ‘Poor display of copy’
  • ‘It can impose structure that limits our ability to write naturally’
  • ‘Things are written to the shape of the space!’
  • ‘Stifling design templates sometimes get in the way of letting copy breathe on the screen’
  • ‘There’s not enough flexibility in terms of content format’
  • ‘The structure is predefined too rigidly’
  • ‘CMS authors don't get a feel for the look of a page as a whole’

Some felt that the performance of the CMS could discourage time spent on getting content right:

  • ‘It's too slow, seo isn't easy to update and it sometimes deletes content’
  • ‘If the amount of effort required to just load the content is high, it discourages focus on the creative’
  • ‘It’s difficult to use so publishers aren't inclined to spend time on it for QA purposes’

Then again, at least one respondent felt there were perils in the CMS being too easy to use or too accessible: 

  • ‘It's easy to publish; so they do – in abundance!’
  • ‘Product managers have direct access to the CMS so it’s harder to manage quality’