Content Management System (CMS) is a product installed on a web server that allows managing pages, blogs and articles online, without storing them on a desktop computer and uploading each time when you need to make changes. You simply login to your website, write or modify content, and your website is instantly updated, unless you set a specific schedule for your content to be visible to website visitors. CMS products also allow multiple administrators or editors to maintain online content without conflicting with each other. And most importantly, CMS products provide separation between articles and web design, thus allowing you to focus on writing content and not worry about copying the web design from page to page. CMS products can also automatically update menus and links between pages based on the list of articles you create, therefore you don’t need to worry about your website becoming broken when you rename pages.
Many CMS products have emerged over the last few years and sometimes it is difficult to choose the right one for your needs. In this article we are going to talk about what you need to keep in mind when choosing a CMS. We will cover a few of the more popular CMS products used today.
Please note that some of the topics, pros and cons provided here are based on personal opinion and experiences of our staff. Other people may have a different opinion about CMS products based on their prior experience and comfort level with specific technologies. Therefore this guide is provided only as a general overview of popular CMS choices for those unfamiliar with CMS products or concepts.
Advantages of Using a CMS to Run Your Site
Using a content management system (CMS) to power your site could be one of the best investments you make in your website :
- It’s easy for the non-technically minded. Not all users have the same comfort level with technology, but the basic CMS functions of writing and publishing content, and slightly more advanced ones of adding media are usually easy for everyone to grasp. In fact, anyone who can use word-processing software can use a CMS for the basic functions so you don’t even have to spend much time on training.
- It allows multiple users.In a business, there are many people who can have input into your website, from those who add product pages to those who produce blog posts for your content marketing efforts. A CMS makes it easy to manage roles and publishing permissions for all these users so that only those you allow can publish content and content only goes live when you are ready.
- It streamlines scheduling.
Related to that, any decent CMS will give you an at a glance view of the status of all content, whether it’s live, being reviewed or a draft. That doesn’t just apply to blog posts but to product pages and other website pages. It allows you to assign tasks and check that they have been done. And it’s easy to integrate planned content with your marketing plan so that everyone knows what’s happening when.
- It improves site maintenance.
Need to change something on your site? Without a CMS that can mean having to trawl through hundreds of pages, making changes on each one. With a CMS, the underlying architecture is the same so you can make maintenance changes, update the CMS software and add functionality without breaking the site. In fact, with the right CMS, it may keep itself up to date automatically.
- Design changes are simple.
Speaking of making changes, let’s talk about the look of the site. If you want to change the site design, a CMS makes the process easy. That’s because the content and design are in separate virtual boxes, so you can make design changes while keeping the site functional. Another advantage is the ability to make a change in your administrative dashboard and have it automatically propagate to the entire site. This gives your site a consistent appearance and is great for branding. It also makes it easy to add a mobile interface to your site.
- It helps you manage content.
This may seem obvious, but for some businesses, content management is not just about publishing content but about being able to remove it when it’s out of date. If you are running a Thanksgiving or Christmas promotion, then even before the season ends, you will want to remove and change it. With a CMS this is as simple as unpublishing the content as all menus and links update automatically, so that your customers continue to have a good experience of the site. And if you want to include customized content such as countdown calendars and lists, the CMS can be configured to allow this. And a good CMS includes SEO too, making sure your content ranks well in the search engines.
- You are in control.
All of this adds up to the biggest advantage of a CMS. Instead of being reliant on an external vendor, with a CMS you are in control, with the ability to assign tasks and roles and to check progress at any time. That puts you in the driving seat when it comes to this important business tool.