Overview of Top Eight Content Management Systems (CMS) for Higher Education
By Ed Sussman, CEO, Buzzr.com
If you need a content management system (CMS) for higher education (or for a secondary school), you have many good choices. We think the Buzzr Education CMS is among the strongest, especially for smaller colleges (with strategy, implementation and design from our partner mStoner), for larger schools looking for multi-sites with anywhere from a handful to many hundreds of websites or microsites; schools or departments within universities and, for secondary schools. But we also want to review the competition, so you can more fully evaluate your choices. So here they are, eight marketing leading CMS for colleges and schools. The listing is in alphabetical order. Buzzr just happens to be first!
1) Buzzr Education Content Management System
We created the Buzzr Higher Education CMS in partnership with mStoner, the world’s leading marketing and digital marketing and strategy consulting firm for Higher Education. mStoner has created more than 170 higher ed websites since they started more than a dozen years ago. Buzzr itself started in 2008. mStoner works with us on primary websites for smaller colleges and schools, such as Paul Smith’s College and Palo Alto University. We’re a pure technology firm focused 100% on building a great CMS and have created open source Drupal technology that’s been used by over 100,000 websites. Buzzr also offers a multi-site product for creating and editing as many as thousands of websites. And Buzzr will works with individual departments at schools, from the smallest to the largest.
Our platform is known as very affordable and having fast turn around times. We’re also a complete turn-key solution, with hosting and support built in. Technically, this is known as Software as a Service, or SaaS. Our solution lets schools create and easily administer either their main campus websites (and responsive mobile sites) and/or many smaller sites using the same centralized system. If you want an in-depth review of the process of working with the Buzr Higher Ed CMS for a small college, you can look at this video from our partner. Recent websites include Palo Alto University, Paul Smith’s College, and this departmental site for Utah State University.
- Fully integrated responsive design for mobile and tablets.
- Buzzr implementations typically take 1/3 the time and cost less than one half the price of a custom Drupal education website.
- Leverages Drupal, the most popular CMS in education, but since the solution is fully-supported by us (including hosting, security and training), eliminates the need for costly, in-house web developers.
- More than 10,000 Drupal modules for further customizations.
- Websites can be exported to your own servers.
- Optional Quickstart system for one-click self-service roll-out of new sites. Ideal for student organizations, faculty sites, small departments, or even teaching website skills.
- An intuitive, icon-based user interface for managing content.
- Editing options presented in-line, on pages throughout each site.
- A flexible list of content types, such as faculty profiles, news articles and feature stories. Plus created dynamically updates directories of content, such as faculty or student directories.
- Calendars for presenting campus events.
- Online giving for donations and development
- Simplified user interface for managing user roles and permissions.
- Built-in site search tool.
- Integrated Google Analytics and search engine optimization tools.
- A homepage slideshow with text overlay.
- Drag and drop widgets such as calendar, campus headlines, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, random stories. A special interest feature system with randomized sidebar content.
- A system for tagging content and generating tag-specific dynamic views, widgets and pages.
2) Campus Suite
Focused on just the higher education market for 15+ years. Focuses on bringing together community of students, faculty, parents and alumni. Views their products as communication tools. Campus Suite customer support is trained to focus on problems specific to Higher Ed. Offer online, phone and video support.
- Simple-to-use content editing and publishing
- Workflow approvals
- Permissions based access
- Choose from multiple templates for design
- Responsive design for mobile and tablets
- Online directories. E.g. student organizations, faculty listings.
- Faculty pages to create profiles.
- Teach pages for individual teacher sub-sites with lesson plans, calendars, etc.
- Podcast tool. Podcasts personalize a website so greater user engagement.
- Social media integration. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more.
- Form builder
- Announcements to spotlight timely news
- Photo galleries
3) Hannon Hill
Hannon Hill, founded in 2001, is known for premium customer support. Customers can call them as much as they want and speak to the entire Hannon Hill staff. Special help forums, webinars and tools & tips posts to further advance customer support. Cascade Server is their premium CMS product. Cascade Server emphasizees features for mobile, social, agile/flexiblity, collaboration and extensibility.
- Cascade Server product specialized for mobile publishing and responsive design
- Integrated publishing with Twitter, WordPress and Facebook
- RSS Broadcasts
- Simple-to-use content publishing and editing.
- Workflow management tools.
- “Content Strategy Management Suite”
- Multi-site platform with Quickstart tools. Unlimited sites ad users.
- Cloud or installed servers. Platform agnostic (Windows, Linux, etc.)
- Analytics suite.
- Schedule publishing of content
- Shorten URLs for SEO. Search engine friendly, SEO scoring
- Custom meta-data
- Enterprise Search
- Version control
- Personalized administrative dashboards.
- Online and onsite training
- Free code repository
- Annual user conference
- Multi-server publishing, load balancing, failover
A popular choice, Ingeniux offers CMS 8, along with 24×7 support. They also offer robust digital asset management.
- Software as a Service. It’s a hosted, cloud solution. If you have a web browser and permission to enter, you can access the CMS.
- Add apps. 300+ extensions.
- Form builders
- Google analytics,
- Simplified editing. They advertiser a “tech-free” editing experience, meaning no coding or tech training required to administer day-to-day content.
- Mobile ready. A responsive site accessible from any mobile device is part of their service offering.
Jadu is very popular with colleges. It’s also a CMS used in other verticals.
- Drag and drop design that non-techies can use.
- Simple to add and edit content creation and editing function. Customize marketing message based on visitor registration information. E.g. Prospective students shown info on the degree they want to pursue.
- Multi-site called Jadu Galaxies. Let your departments, organizations all use the same CMS as the main college website, but with their own sites.
The LiveWhale’s CMS also provides easy content creation and editing. Bills itself as the CMS “for storytellers.”
- Design flexibility. Hundreds of color coordinated layouts. Skip the designers when building a site. Or hire them to build a custom design.
- Unlimited e-mails tech support.
- One day of on-site training.
- LiveWhale Calendar is made just for schools. Add images, videos, content on events listings. E-commerce for tickets sales to events.
Founded in 1982, the company has focsed on higher ed since the 1990s. Their OU Campus CMS has been deployed by scores of educational institutions, making it a market leader. The CMS’s highlighted features include powerful administration, streamlined content, user-friendly editing, reusable content, quality control, convenient publishing, extensibility and effortless syndication.
- Software as a Service cloud or local hosting
- Code open to developers
- “Modules” — add ons to extend functionality.
- Course catalogs
- Campus maps
- Faculty directories
- E-mail campaign managers,
- Social media mashups
- Live delivery platform
- “True cost calculator” for adding up tuition, fees, etc.
- Robust dashboard called “Gadgets.”
- Back end dashboard for analytics, going as deep as analysis of individual pages.
- URL editor
- Image editor
- Drag-and-drop “snippets” of information from page-to-page
- Check out content
- Site activity trackers
- Inbox messages
- Dependancy tags.
- Simple-to-use publishing tools. No tech knowledge required to post and edit content. Rich text editor works in a similar way to creating an offline documents with text, charts, images. One click to publish.
8) Terminal Four
T4‘s slogan is “defining digital engagement for Higher Education.” Headquartered in Dublin, T4 serves large numbers of European clients, but also has U.S., Australia and UK offices. “Achieve greater engagement online with personalization, social media integration, easy to create micro and mobile sites,” T4 promises.
- Intuitive editing tools
- Permissions based publishing of content
- Multi-sites with large numbers of templates
- Responsive design and mobile templates
- Workflow approval
- Social Media Dashboard
- Google Analytics
- SEO tools for improving performance
- E-mail integration
- Campaign management performance
- Form builder
- Recruitment dashboard
- Research dashboard
- Integrate with third-party systems such as Blackbaud, Ellucian and Blackboard
- Personalize user experience
- Course structure
- Course catalogue
- Social poster
- University events
- Expert databases
- Research showcases
- 24/7 support