by Emilie Toll
Developers specialize in various languages, applications, and technologies. Creating websites is the specialty of a web developer (also known as a front-end developer). Agencies typically relegate the setup, deployment, and maintenance of the hosting infrastructure (including CMS updates and fixes) to these developers.
Considering developers are one of an agency’s highest paid production members, requiring them to manage sites after launch, such as maintenance, updates, support, monitoring, availability, and backups, may not be the most cost-effective approach.
Enter software-as-a-service CMS (SaaS CMS). With a SaaS CMS your developers spend their time doing billable development work. The CMS provider handles the maintenance, updates, support, monitoring, and availability, often at no cost to you.
The CMS you choose for your clients’ websites falls into one of these four categories:
Build Your Own CMS - A CMS your team develops from the ground-up. This can be a very expensive option that requires a great deal of continuous maintenance and has a limited feature set.
Off the Shelf CMS - A CMS platform that your agency purchases and licenses from a reputable vendor. The costs can be steep. The biggest issue with off the shelf software is the absence of support if you or the client don't pay the extraordinary fees.
Open-source CMS - A CMS platform that has no licensing fees and is built and maintained by a community of developers. Free, however, doesn’t actually mean free.
SaaS CMS - A cloud-based content management solution priced as a subscription service. Deployment time is negligible. The platform handles all maintenance, hosting, and support. Instead, your team can focus on creating results-driven websites for clients.
SaaS CMS platforms are popular for their affordability, ease of use, and many other benefits provided to users including:
Let's take a closer look at how a SaaS CMS platform will remove the maintenance burden from your front-end developer and pave the way for your agency to scale and maximize profitability.
Websites are hosted on the web based CMS’s servers. Meaning, the platform takes care of and maintains website hosting. Now, your developer doesn’t have to waste time on troubleshooting why you, your team, or your client are unable to access the website or the management interface.
If a server goes offline due to an issue or maintenance, load balancing ensures that traffic is automatically shifted to available servers. This keeps your site live. Your developer will thank you for allowing them to continue to develop and not calling them after hours.
Your developer doesn't have to worry about making sure that servers can handle the clients’ website traffic. As traffic loads increases, the SaaS CMS provider automatically performs vertical and horizontal scaling. Vertical scaling increases the size and processing power of each server and horizontal scaling adds more servers to divvy up the traffic load.
Continuous monitoring allows providers to quickly identify issues if something goes wrong. Your SaaS provider will immediately begin diagnosing the problem and devising a solution. This service means agencies and clients do not have to spend valuable time problem-solving. It’s likely you or your client won’t even notice there was any downtime.
Time is money. You cannot afford for your clients' websites to experience downtime. A SaaS CMS platform should have an uptime of at least 99.9% or greater. It may seem that 99% is close enough, but there is a significant difference between 99.9% and 99%.
Let's take a look at the numbers. An uptime of only 99% suggests the site could be down for 87 hours per year. Compare this to a website uptime guarantee of 99.9%. With the extra nine-tenths of a percent, the maximum downtime a site will experience is 8.7 hours per year. This is a substantial difference of about 79 hours per year.
Many SaaS platforms include automatic backups and redundancies. If a crash happens, your developer doesn't have to spend hours trying to recover lost content and data. Developers can restore the automatic snapshots, or contact the solution’s support team to take care of it for you
One redundancy many systems provide is version control. A snapshot is taken of each version of the content, which content managers can restore on their own. Editors don’t need to bother website developers, and that helps the bottom line.
SaaS platforms typically include user permissions. Diligently maintaining user access secures data and avoids accidental content edits, publishes, or, worse, deletions.
Website security is one of your agency's top priorities. Many SaaS CMS solutions are decoupled, meaning the backend is completely separate from the front-end. As a result, your agency can worry much less about hackers and other malicious parties.
Using out-of-date software leaves your agency and clients open to vulnerabilities and hacks. In fact, failure to properly update the system can result in plug-in failures and poor performing or unresponsive websites. With a SaaS CMS, rest assured that you are only using the most up-to-date software with all of the recommended patches. The SaaS CMS provider manages all of the platform and security updates. Your developer avoids countless hours updating your clients' sites, including patches, plugin updates, and maintenance. The burden of ensuring a secure system rests with the provider and not your team.
Having the support of the CMS provider cannot be overstated. You, your team, and your developer have unlimited access to the platform's support team before, during, and after the project.
After the client’s site goes live, the responsibility to ensure the website stays live might rest on your agency (i.e. your developer). Or, it could be your client’s responsibility to ensure the payment method, SSL certificates, domain, and DNS are active. Either way, the party responsible for maintenance can use the CMS platform’s support team as a resource.
CMS platforms come in all shapes and sizes. Based on your developer's bandwidth, is your agency able to scale and maximize profitability for the foreseeable future? If the answer is no, or you aren't sure, why not consider a SaaS CMS that will free-up your front end developer to help your agency grow, scale, and maximize profits.
Marketpath CMS not only provides the professional toolset to build and maintain sites but also handles monitoring, backups, high availability, failover, uptime, load balancing, page speed, system updates, and much more. Count on us as a hosting partner who you can trust to keep sites running and take advantage of our unlimited support.
Emilie serves as the Marketing Project Manager for Marketpath. She obtained an M.B.A. in Marketing and International Business from the University of Indianapolis. She enjoys every aspect of marketing, and finds the analytics just as fascinating. As a former restaurant owner, the entrepreneurial spirit lives on in her, and she wants to help others establish their ideal online presence.