Content Management Systems are brimming with possibility!
You might not be familiar with the full name 'content management system', but we're sure you've heard the term CMS being thrown around often. But perhaps you've never been quite sure what a content management system is and why it seems to be so popular.
Fret not, we're here to clarify what a content management system is.
What is a Content Management System?
A content management system is a software application that is used to create, manage and modify content of a website without needing to code.
Users can create and build a website using CMS software without needing to work on the back-end and on code.
You are able to customize the design and functionality of your website by means of templates or extensions, as opposed to needing to create content by means of coding knowledge.
Now if you know how to code, this might seem unimportant to you, and to be fair, you might be right. CMS systems are suited more toward users with limited technical knowledge or coding ability. However, they do make the lives of devs easier too, as CMS systems offer a way of getting a clients website online faster.
The reason for this?
A CMS platform will have templates and extensions at the ready for users to work with, as opposed to coding from scratch, which saves even the most informed devs time, should they wish to use a CMS system.
To understand how useful, time saving and efficient CMS platforms are, we need only quickly outline the usual steps needed in creating digital content for websites.
If you want to create a website or e commerce websites from scratch, the process starts with HTML to add texts, images and the bones of the web pages. This is all with code by the way.
You would then need to add CSS (Cascading Style Sheet) to style this HTML language, this is the step of colours, fonts, specific layout design etc.
Once this is finally done, you need to test the code, upload to your server and file it away.
Those are really technical and difficult steps to create a web content.
Do not even get us started on how to edit content. This would include going back in, changing the little piece of code you need to re-write, re-testing the whole thing to ensure nothing has stopped working, re-uploading and only then have you managed to make even the smallest of changes.
CMS software is made up of 2 important components.
1) CMA – Content management application.
This is what you as a user would work with. Here you will be able to create a layout easily, add extensions, manage content and consistently work on content creation. Creating new web pages will be easily done by simply dragging and copying from the custom templates on offer.
2) CDA – Content delivery application.
This step happens after you have entered the updates into the CMA. The CDA will then take this, automatically create the code for you, so this is kind of like the back-end that you have nothing to do with but that powers the front-end CMA that you created.
Most (but not all) content management systems also deliver the visitor frontend from within the CDA, i.e. the part of website that your visitors see when they visit your online store.
The benefits of a CMS system
No knowledge of coding needed
CMS software systems have enabled users with little to no coding ability to create, customize, modify and publish their own websites without needing a specialized team of developers to create this for them.
Creating a website using a CMS software has allowed users to create their own online store easily and publish content without needing to code. Naturally, CMS applications also allow users to add custom code if they want to make more serious modifications to their website.
Increase and improve upon the creativity and output of your team. With a CMS platform, members of the team can access the same web pages and word on it simultaneously without a problem.
This means that online store owners can get their marketing team to add some advertising copy to one of the products, while the IT team adds a CTA link at the same time. The design team can upload images to the exact same page and all of this allows for more productivity as teams can work on things at the same time.
Users are also given special permission, so writers can make changes to blogs for example but wouldn't have the access to be able to delete important internal information for example. You can determine user roles in the admin panel.
Search engine optimization
There are built in SEO tools that users can take advantage of. There are a variety of tools that come with the CMS platform and additional ones that you can add through third-party extensions. You can add search engines and extensions to your website that allow your website or online store to perform better.
Built-in features include things like being able to customize meta titles and descriptions, adding meta titles to the images you upload so they rank higher on search engines or you can easily create and upload blog posts.
Adding information to your website, like a blog post, will increase the likelihood of you being found on search engines, it will increase the ranking of your website and it will show your online users that you are an authority in an industry.
This depends on the CMS system that you decide to go with, but most CMS platforms offer a dedicated security team that ensures that the safety and security of your website stays intact.
This is usually a service that is included in the cost of your subscription or the company will offer it as an additional free service.
Custom templates and Design templates
The major advantage of working with CMS software, is that you get to choose from predesigned templates and pick one that suits your business best.
Working on a template means that thought has already been put into how the template functions, which means that you just need to customize it during the CMA process and then your website is likely to be extremely user friendly and responsive.
Managing content has never been easier!
Your team can get creative in advance, create content that is stellar and design some new web pages that you can schedule to go live whenever you want!
Easy access to make changes
CMS platforms make it simple to make changes as all you need is some internet connection and you can make changes virtually anywhere.
As you do not need to go into your server and change some technical code, you simply need to go to the admin panel, look around in your home page or settings to find what you're after, make the update and then hit publish content and that's it.
How to choose the most fitting CMS platform for your business
Before we mention some of the best CMS platforms out there, we'd like to outline some factors that you need to take into consideration before picking one.
- What is the size of your business?
- Will your website or online store need to be available in various languages?
- What level of control do team members need?
- Does your business span over many countries?
- Can you first ask for input from your tech team and follow their advice?
- What is the monthly fee? Can you afford this realistically?
- Are there additional costs or subscription fees that come with it?
- Will your business need to be prepared to scale in the near future?
Depending on how you answer the above questions will determine which of the many CMS open source projects that are out there will be suitable for you.Open source CMSs are usually easy to use, inexpensive to buy and operate, and come with a large community and many practical extensions.
However, if you are a large company, you probably cannot avoid using a more expensive but also more powerful enterprise content management system to make your users happy and to effectively manage and securely store your data.
Popular content management system names:
There are quite a few popular CMS platforms out there. It's important that you find a CMS platform that suits the needs of your business.
When it comes to web content management system types and what they can offer, you need to take a good look at each and every one. It might even be worth trying a free trial of their platform to ensure that you sign up with the best CMS platform out there.
As we said before, there are quite a few popular content management systems available to you, here are some of them:
How a CMS looks in action!
Now that you know what a content management system is, how it works, how helpful the system is in creating a user friendly interface for your online visitors, how you can leave coding behind and still manage to create content and a functioning website in no time, we though it's high time to let you know how this process continues.
Once you have chosen a CMS platform that you would like to use, you simply need to follow a few basic steps:
1. Install the CMS into your web server
2. Use the CMA to create your website
3. Allow the CDA to run and create the back-end for you
4. Publish content
5. Now we know that you can easily access your site and make necessary changes on-the-go!
When it comes to creating a website or eCommerce stores, this process can be daunting.
With a content management system, you can bypass complexity with predesigned templates and user friendly tools.
You can leave all the code work behind you, and focus on creating a website or eCommerce store that suits the needs of your business. However, if you feel that you would like more support and a more dynamic performance, then we would suggest a Headless CMS setup.
If you'd like to know more about Headless CMS and how this type of content management system would benefit your business, take a read of our blog post 'Headless CMS – 5 Reasons Why'.
With ‘classic’ CMS, you are limited in building the user experience, as you are stuck to the capabilities of the CMS you are using. With the headless approach, the possibilities of being creative are almost entirely endless as you can custom build the functionality you would like.
Naturally, this takes away the part of you being able to do it yourself, as going headless is a technical feat and one that requires a clever team at the helm. We just so happen to specialize in going Headless, and would be overjoyed to help you with your content management system project! Simply get in touch via our website or pop us an email on email@example.com
Found this helpful? Share this post with your colleagues and friends
Natalie MillerMarketing Manager
Would you like to know more about Content Management Systems (CMS)?
Let us help you!