Sustainable Growth

Understanding CMS evaluation and management guidelines for 2024

Stay ahead of publisher competition by understanding the latest CMS evaluation and management guidelines for 2024. Read on to see how these guidelines can optimize your website's monthly performance and grow your monthly online earnings.

Why CMS evaluation and management guidelines matter

CMS evaluation and management guidelines play a crucial role in ensuring the success of publishers. Having guidelines provides a framework for evaluating and managing content management systems (CMS) to optimize website performance,  enhance user experience, and grow revenue. By implementing their own view of these guidelines, publishers can stay ahead of the competition, grow their audience, and maximize their online earnings.

One of the main reasons why CMS evaluation and management guidelines are important is because they help publishers assess the effectiveness of their CMS, and identify areas for improvement. By evaluating the performance of their current CMS, publishers can make informed decisions about whether to upgrade to a new CMS, or implement changes to enhance their existing system.

Furthermore, CMS evaluation and management guidelines provide publishers with a set of best practices to adhere to throughout the CMS relationship process. These best practices cover various aspects of CMS management, including content creation, organization, recirculation, syndication, and optimization. By adhering to agreed-upon guidelines, publishers can ensure that their websites are user-friendly, search engine optimized, and capable of delivering high-quality content, and ads, to their audience.

CMS evaluation and management guidelines are a roadmap for optimizing their CMS technology investment, and improving website performance and outcomes.

CMS evaluation and management guidelines are a roadmap for optimizing their CMS technology investment, and improving website performance and outcomes.

AI-generated image of a publisher's content management system

Key changes and updates in the CMS evaluation and management guidelines for 2024

CMS evaluation and management guidelines for 2024 introduce several key changes and updates to keep up with the evolving digital landscape. These changes reflect the latest industry trends and aim to provide publishers with updated strategies for optimizing their CMS.

One notable change in the 2024 guidelines is the emphasis on writer technology familiarity. Wordpress backends, for example, provide a familiar interface publishers can navigate vs. having to constantly learn a new system and set of procedures. As of last year there are roughly 450 million WordPress in the world — set to exceed 750 million by 2027. 

Another important update is the focus on AI. The 2024 guidelines highlight the importance of making websites easier to manage alongside AI. Publishers are encouraged to implement AI for accessibility features, technical procedures such as alt text for images, keyboard navigation, and proper heading structure, to ensure that their content can be accessed by all users, as well as backend sources of referral and search traffic.

Additionally, the 2024 guidelines address the growing importance of website security. With cyber threats on the rise, publishers need to prioritize the security of their CMS. The guidelines recommend implementing secure authentication methods, regular backups, and proactive monitoring to protect against potential vulnerabilities.

By staying updated with the key changes and updates in the CMS evaluation and management guidelines for 2024, publishers can ensure that their CMS is aligned with current industry standards and best practices for generating audience and earnings growth.

 ensure that their CMS is aligned with current industry standards and best practices for generating audience and earnings growth.

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Implement sensible 2024 CMS evaluation and management guidelines

Implementing the 2024 CMS evaluation and management guidelines requires careful planning and execution. Here are the steps toward effective implementation:

1. Familiarize yourself with the process: starting points for assessing CMS value include analyzing domain rating, page load speed, affiliate link breakage, backlink profiles, product cards and tables, structured data usage, web schema usage, total site uptime, ads earnings, affiliate revenue, average session time, and GDPR/CCPA compliance.  

2. Evaluate your current CMS: Assess the performance of your current CMS based on the above KPIs. Identify any shortcomings or areas for improvement. This evaluation will help you determine whether you need to upgrade your CMS or make changes to optimize performance and increase revenue.

3. Develop an implementation plan: Create a detailed plan that outlines the necessary steps to implement the guidelines. This plan should include tasks, timelines, and responsible team members. Prioritize the areas that require immediate attention and allocate resources accordingly.

4. Make necessary changes: Based on your evaluation and implementation plan, make the necessary changes to your CMS. This may involve upgrading to a new CMS, installing plugins or extensions, or modifying existing features. Ensure that these changes align with the guidelines and best practices.

5. Test and monitor: After implementing the changes, thoroughly test your CMS to ensure that everything is functioning as intended. Monitor the performance of your website, analyze user feedback, and make any necessary adjustments.

By following these implementation steps, you can effectively align your CMS with the 2024 guidelines and optimize your website's (or websites') performance.

Best practices for optimizing your website according to the 2024 CMS evaluation and management guidelines

To optimize your website according to the 2024 CMS Evaluation and Management Guidelines, consider implementing the following best practices:

1. Focus on user experience: Prioritize user experience by creating intuitive navigation, clear and concise content, and visually appealing designs. Ensure that your website is easy to navigate on both desktop and mobile devices.

2. Optimize for search engines: Implement SEO strategies to improve your website's visibility in search engine results. Conduct keyword research, optimize meta tags and headings, and create high-quality, keyword-rich content.

3. Ensure mobile-friendliness: With the increasing use of mobile devices, it is crucial to optimize your website for mobile. Use responsive design, optimize images and videos for mobile viewing, and ensure fast loading times on mobile devices.

4. Enhance website data security: Protect your website and user data by implementing strong security measures. Use secure authentication methods, regularly update software and plugins, and perform regular backups.

5. Prioritize accessibility: Make your website accessible to users with disabilities. Use alt text for images, provide keyboard navigation, and ensure proper heading structure. Consider implementing accessibility plugins or extensions.

By following these best practices, you can optimize your website(s) according to sensible 2024 CMS evaluation and management guidelines.

Future trends and predictions for CMS Evaluation and Management Guidelines Heading Into 2025

As we head toward 2025, several future trends and predictions can be anticipated for CMS Evaluation and Management Guidelines. These trends are driven by the ever-evolving digital landscape and changing user expectations.

One trend that is likely to continue is the increasing importance of mobile optimization. With the majority of internet users accessing websites through mobile devices, publishers will need to prioritize mobile-friendly designs, fast loading times, and seamless user experiences on smartphones and tablets.

Another trend to watch out for is the integration of artificial intelligence (AI) in CMS. AI-powered features, such as chatbots, personalized content recommendations, and automated content creation, can greatly enhance user experiences and streamline CMS management.

Furthermore, the focus on website security is expected to intensify. As cyber threats become more sophisticated, publishers will need to invest in robust security measures, such as advanced encryption, threat detection systems, and regular security audits.

Additionally, accessibility will continue to be a key consideration. Publishers will need to ensure that their websites are compliant with accessibility standards and provide inclusive experiences for users with disabilities.

In conclusion, the future of CMS Evaluation and Management Guidelines is likely to involve a greater emphasis on mobile optimization, AI integration, enhanced website security, and accessibility. Publishers should stay updated with these trends to maintain a competitive edge and provide exceptional user experiences.


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

Format = Feature (strategic benefit): description

  1. Product cards and product tables (commerce): frontend-facing product CTAs, both in content and at the top of the article, with OSP compatibility.
  2. Amazon auto-linking (commerce): all Amazon URLs automatically get the site-default tag, to make sure no 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, 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 defaults and customization at the article level—which articles syndicate to which platform, including 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 track to pull data from the frontend).
  8. Botify/Screaming Frog integration (SEO): enables SEO workers to scan for potential issues and replicate Google crawls. 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 payment for paid subscriptions.
  11. Pre-footer tables (SEO): internal link module that encourages Google to crawl more upper-funnel, evergreen content and reduce crawl depth of high 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): publishers 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): 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, direct, 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): improves Core Web Vitals and Lighthouse scores over non-react frontends, as well as enables more modern reader experiences / site look-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 our 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): providing support for Gravity Forms 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 and 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): 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.