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CMS stands for content management system. This is basically a software or set of related software programmes that are used to manage and create digital content. Content management systems are used for web content management (WCM) and enterprise content management (ECM). ECM manages the collaboration in the workplace by integrating retention functionalities, document management and digital asset management. Still, many site owners don’t the real reason why a CMS is beneficial. At the end of this article you will have no doubt on how important content management systems are.
If ever a software should have a nickname, a CMS would certainly cop ‘Mr. Easy’. Let’s talk about how easy it is. So, if you think about the intricacies of building a website, coding, design etc., it’s not so simple and no site owner wants to risk their site crashing. This is where a CMS comes in. It makes things pretty easy for non-technical people as not all users have the same comfort level for technology. So, ‘easy’ is crazy-good and beneficial for websites. Everyone can grasp the basic function of publishing, writing content and adding media as well. What’s more, multiple users can work for your business with CMS as role management and publishing permissions for all the users become quite easy. CMS also enables you to go “live” or publish online whenever required.
A CMS allows the reviewing of the status of all content whether it is live or a draft. In addition, it also allows the assigning of tasks and also keep the check on the status of assignments. What’s more, integrating planned content and a marketing plan is also easy with CMS.
With a CMS you can easily manage a website’s content when and where you want. Well, you’ll need internet connection and access to the CMS admin. Then you can add, modify or remove content when it is outdated. Since removing unwanted content is easy you have more control over your website. So, you can focus on giving customers the best experience when they visit your website. Plus, most CMS let you add SEO tools to rank the site/page which gives your content a better chance of being found by users.
Site maintenance can be managed with a CMS. It can provide the same underlying architecture hence maintenance becomes easy and you can add functionality by updating the CMS without site breaking. It also enables automatic update.
Making design changes is something that used to be pretty difficult, this is no longer the case with a CMS. You can keep the content and design separate and you can change the design while keeping the site functional. You can also change the administrative dashboard and it will propagate the entire website.
You don’t need to have a web development background to manage content with CMS. Remember the easy factor we spoke about earlier? This revolutionary programme, it even lets you edit both live and back-end content. If you choose, an administrator can review changes before it goes live. It allows you to control the functioning and appearance of the site through admin areas. Tasks like adding or removing a plugin/extension or changing the theme are quite simple with a CMS. You do not have to edit the raw code of the website and with CMS everything can be done with a button click in the form of intuitive interface.
A content management software not only lets you control, customise and manage content on a website, but, it also provides great support for SEO. There are several SEO related plugins and extensions available for free of premium download. Most CMS are open source and built by a community with PHP and MySQL infrastructure. Let’s take examine a few leading CMS platforms.
One of the most popular CMS is WordPress. It was intended as a Blogging CMS however, it has become one of the most popular CMS steadily and it isn’t just for blogs. WordPress was built on MySQL and PHP in 2003 and it has now climbed the ranks to become a household name in the CMS market. Self-hosted WordPress has more flexibility in terms of customisation and you have the freedom to pick your own Web Hosting Provider.
The designers or other technical savvy that wish to customise the appearance, Joomla! is an open source software and quite user friendly. However, WordPress is still more user-friendly than Joomla! It was built on Mambo in 2005 and it is a community-based platform that has strong social networking features. Joomla has extensions built on Modules, Languages, Templates, Plugins and Components.
Drupal is developer friendly CMS type with a lot more flexibility when it comes to back-end coding. As such, Drupal is not as user friendly as other types of CMS. Still, it can be used for both large and small-scale websites and has extensions based on modules. This component adds extra functions or features to websites. Drupal offers vast functionality and can be a bit overwhelming for designers. Though it still lacks a bit on the number of available themes. With the CMS, you can create advanced communities and membership sites.
It is a popular choice and an excellent option for e-commerce websites. Like the other CMS programmes mentioned before, it too is also available as open source and has an enterprise version that cannot be customised. It has a hosted version called Magento Go. Magento dynamic features like marketing traits, SEO compatibility, and catalogue management are worth it for creating an exceptional online shopping experience.
After learning about different CMS types, you can choose what is right for you. No matter how popular a CMS is, if it does not meet the criteria of your website, it is not right for you. The main focus should be on the ease of use and the efficiency of the software to carry out tasks. Flexibility and depth of customisation is also an important aspect. Unfortunately, many CMS are pretty vulnerable to cyber-attacks (a con of open source software). So, your choice of CMS should depend highly on the frequency of security patches and updates. It’s worth noting that security related issues also apply to the extensions, modules or plugins you download. You need to make sure that these modules, plugins or extensions are compatible with the software you pick.
As blogger or business, you should be keen to how fast your website gains internet traffic. If you start on a shared hosting plan, then you need to keep this in mind that when traffic starts to surge, shared hosting can cause problems like sluggish website, crashes and more. This could create a swarm of disgruntled customers. If your site fails performance test frequently on a shared plan, then, the second most vital step is to upgrade to a VPS hosting plan.
CMS are quite easy to install and very user-friendly. However different types of CMS cater to different needs. Some are great for blogging, creating general websites and some are good for e-commerce. They have a large active community you can turn to for questions. But remember, no matter the CMS, they all have their pros and cons. So, before getting one you need to examine the functions and features according to your site’s needs.