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Top 60 Features That Differentiate Good From Great Publisher Software

Deep dive for brands looking at investing in new publisher software this year or next. Use this feature list to facilitate a conversation with your team about how to improve your CMS's capabilities and better hit audience and revenue goals.
top-60-features-that-differentiate-good-from-great-publisher-software

In no particular order, here are the top 60 features that differentiate good from great publisher software 

Format =

Feature name (strategic benefit by department):

    • <description>
  1. Product cards and product tables (commerce)
    • Frontend-facing product CTAs, both in content and at the top of the article, with Amazon OSP compatibility.
  2. Amazon auto-linking (commerce):
    • All Amazon URLs automatically get the site-default tag, to make sure Amazon urls are not “affiliatized” and to ensure platforms like trackonomics can pull/push data.
  3. Amazon OSP integration (commerce):
    • Pull in only the relevant information from the CMS according to Amazon's complex ruleset (e.g. no more than three non-Amazon links, or required fields). Must integrate with product cards and tables.
  4. Content syndication feeds (editorial, commerce):
    • Partner-specific syndication capabilities for: Apple News, Flipboard, Smartnews, NewsBreak, Google News, RSS, and more.
  5. Syndication Controls (editorial, commerce):
    • Determine— at the domain level and article level— defaults and customizations about how articles syndicate to which platform, including the various Amazon OSP feeds (U.S., UK, Canada, Mexico).
  6. Premium content templates (editorial):
    • Paid memberships templates that are ad-light and utilize a higher-converting design.
  7. Platform integration into software such as Trackonomics (commerce):
    • Javascript enablement (paired with auto-linking feature) that allows Trackonomics to pull data from the frontend).
  8. Botify/Screaming Frog integration (SEO):
    • Enables SEO workers to scan for potential issues and replicate Google crawls. Also enables reliable SEO QA before and after migrations.
  9. Branded CTAs (commerce, direct sales):
    • Enables direct-sold or commerce-cost-per-click deals with brands like homeadvisor, car warrantees, etc.
  10. Memberships capabilities (editorial, memberships):
    • Integration into subscription platforms like Pelcro for authentication and paid subscriptions payments.
  11. Pre-footer tables (SEO):
    • Internal link module that encourages Google to crawl more upper-funnel evergreen content, and reduce crawl depth of higher ROI articles.
  12. Custom Permalinks (SEO):
    • Enables SEO team members and editors to customize an article's URL (rather than default by headline terms). In addition, it maintains the originally published URL even as adjustments are made (i.e. to headlines, taxonomy, or default URL rules)
  13. Web Schema for content blocks (SEO):
    • Content modules such as FAQ, Recipe, and How-To blocks should have dedicated Google Web Schema, which improves search engine optimization.
  14. Web Schema for specific pages (SEO):
    • Article, Author, Category, and Home pages should have dedicated Google Web Schema, which improves search engine Optimization.
  15. FTC-required commerce disclaimers (commerce):
    • Programmatic, article-level disclaimers required by certain syndication partners as well as on-site, per the Federal Trade Commission.
  16. DevOps monitoring and handling security/hosting (editorial):
    • To maintain journalistic credibility, publisher software needs a sophisticated monitoring and alert system via PagerDuty, Sentry Alerts, AWS Cloudwatch, and DataDog.
  17. Content Type internal taxonomy (SEO):
    • Publisher software needs to enable cohort analysis for certain content typologies (i.e. news vs. features. vs. investigative vs. round-ups vs. etc.).
  18. Big Query integration (SEO & data):
    • Allows for more detailed reporting of traffic and revenue, and visualization in partner programs like Looker or Tableau.
  19. Newsletter integration (editorial):
    • Publisher software has to integrate seamlessly with email service providers such as Mailchimp and SailThru.
  20. Social media integration (editorial):
    1. To own their own data, publisher software needs to integrate with brands' Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and more. Well-constructed integrations facilitate easier auto-promotion and publishing with tools like TrueAnthem and SocialFlow.
  21. Content traffic and monetization analytics (editorial, SEO, commerce):
    • The best publisher software paints a comprehensive picture of revenue (programmatic vs. direct vs. affiliate) by fields such as article URL, content category, author, and content type. 
  22. OpenWeb (commenting) integration (editorial):
    • Integration enables comments, tools for on-site community building, and incremental ad revenue opportunities. Article discussion also improves time-on-site for sites who can forum avid commenters.
  23. React frontend with easy redesigns, faster site load (editorial, SEO, commerce):
    1. Improves Core Web Vitals and Lighthouse scores over non-React frontends, as well as enables more modern reader experiences / site looks-and-feel.
  24. GraphQL API for headless React frontends (editorial, seo, commerce):
    • Custom React frontends and related plugins for SEO, AMP, Gutenberg blocks, JWT authentication, Gravity Forms, Schema, advanced custom fields, CORS headers, and pagination.
  25. Skimlinks integration (commerce):
    • Auto-linking to partners such as SkimLinks increases affiliate revenue without adding extra editorial work.
  26. CEROS integration for sponsored content (direct sales, editorial):
    • CEROS enables editors to sell and build immersive article experiences.
  27. Landing page builder (direct sales, editorial):
    • Publisher software needs to be able to  create a landing page for a specific client—basically a homepage or category page layout, but with dedicated content chosen by the sponsor.
  28. Connatix Playspace integration (ad revenue):
    • Video advertising inventory is inherently more valuable and thus sold at a premium.
  29. Connatix O&O integration (ad revenue):
    • Editors can embed videos in articles (or as featured images) using platforms like Connatix, which monetizes much better than Vimeo or Youtube, as publishers own more of the value chain. 
  30. Promotional Stripe (editorial):
    • Lightweight, promotional ribbon at the top of pages helps tout a special story or issue drop.
  31. Product List Light (editorial, commerce):
    • A lighter-weight product card option helps brands focused on utilizng design to create the best user experience.  
  32. Brand taxonomy (direct sales, editorial):
    • Provides the ability to reference a brand for sponsored content.
  33. SVG support (editorial):
    • Provides the the ability to upload an SVG file for logos and other media files. 
  34. Sweepstakes (direct sales, editorial):
    • Affords publishers the ability to manage a sweepstakes digitally and compliantly. 
  35. Featured Image by URL (editorial):
    • This allows users to refer to an image not hosted in the domain's content library. This is particularly necessary for brands that have old images that don't exist in media files.
  36. Featured Images in RSS (editorial):
    • Allows for pushing featured images to platforms like Mailchimp, Infusionsoft, Hubspot, and other services that use RSS feed data for content marketing.
  37. Newsletter forms (editorial):
    • Provides support for Gravity Forms, which allows publishers to create web forms and manage form entries within the WordPress admin.
  38. IndexNow (SEO):
    • Quickly notifies search engines when content is created, updated or deleted.
  39. jQuery Manager for Wordpress (security/hosting):
    • Manage and debug jQuery and jQuery Migrate.
  40. JSON Basic Authentication (security/hosting):
    • Basic Authentication handler for the JSON API.
  41. oEmbed Plus (editorial):  
    • Embed Facebook and Instagram posts in Block Editor and Classic Editor.
  42. Helpdesk Widget (security/hosting):
    • Editors can connect with technical support team from within the CMS.
  43. PDF embedder (editorial):
    • Use a simple snippet of code so that publishers can upload to host and embed PDFs.
  44. Public Post Preview (direct sales, editorial):
    • Allow anonymous users to preview a post before it is published — particularly valuable for direct sales.
  45. Apple News Publisher (editorial):
    • Export and sync content to the Apple News syndication platform.
  46. Query Monitor (security/hosting):
    • For debugging slow queries.
  47. ElasticPress Search (editorial):
    • Improve search, both in the post-listing page of the CMS, as well as reader-facing on-site.
  48. Redirection (editorial, SEO):
    • Manage 301 redirects and monitor 404 errors.
  49. Redis Object Cache (security/hosting):
    • Object cache backend.
  50. S3 Uploads (security/hosting):
    • Store uploads in S3.
  51. User Role Editor (editorial):
    • Publisher software to change/add/delete WordPress user roles and capabilities.
  52. Content Exporting (seo, editorial):
    • Export full lists of content—URLs, fields, word counts, taxonomy terms, and more.
  53. Reader sitemaps (SEO):
    1. Add a sitemap on any page/post using the simple shortcode, e.g. [wp_sitemap_page].
  54. User Avatars (SEO, editorial):
    • Use any image from a Media Library as a custom user avatar.
  55. Mail SMTP (editorial):
    • Configure SMTP for email delivery (i.e. password change requests).
  56. Primary and Premium Yoast integration (SEO):
    • In-post content analysis, XML sitemaps, advanced settings, easy sitewide indexing defaults. This should include support for, and during, Yoast updates.
  57. Google News integration (SEO, editorial):
    • Sitemap and feed.
  58. Infinite scroll articles (direct sales, editorial):
    • Creates an endless article experience and allows editors to set next article in queue (good for adding visibility to custom content). 
  59. Chicory integration (ads, commerce):
    • Creates shoppable ingredients in recipe block, displays ads
  60. Custom byline support (editorial):
    • Ability to specify different roles for multiple contributors, especially important for guest contributors or other influential drivers of traffic. 

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