Content Management System
The only way for a Shakespeare-quoting creative with zero technical skills to have a fancy website.
WHAT IS A CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM?
A content management system, or CMS, lets you create website content and customize the way it looks on your website. The CMS does the tricky, behind-the-scenes work, to save you time and a few years of college getting a computer programming degree.
What is the purpose of a CMS?
Your website is a powerful and critical component of your business. More people will visit your website — and stay longer — if it has original and up-to-date information on it. (And if it doesn't take forever to load or look like it's from 1993.) So, beyond simply creating a website, you need a way to manage it.
Enter the CMS, your tool for easier website management.
Say your business sells gourmet popcorn. You hired a tech-savvy web designer to create a website for you, and that worked great for about three months. Then you came up with a brilliant new flavor: Campfire Marshmallow. You want to add this gooey, delicious flavor to your website, but your web designer took a job with Google and isn't answering your calls. What do you do?
You have a couple choices:
- Take a crash course in web design and programming, so you can hack into your own website.
- Use a content management system to revamp your website, making it much more user-friendly.
Unless you really like to do things the hard way, you're going to choose the CMS. Soon, your new and improved website is up and running with Campfire Marshmallow popcorn strategically marketed on the home page. Your customers love it, the fan mail pours in, and pretty soon Orville Redenbacher is quaking in his boots.
CMS to the rescue.
How Does a CMS Work?
A CMS provides an interface where you can add your website content. For example, you can type in the heading for your gourmet popcorn flavors page, and then you type in the content that goes onto that page. The CMS gives you tools to insert images, customize the appearance of your background, the style and color of your words, and everything else you need to create a unique website.
Without a CMS, you would need to create your own HTML file, write code for every element on the page, and upload it to your server. (Sound hard? It is. It really, really is.)
Key Features of a CMS
A CMS allows you to focus on the quality of your website content instead of sweating buckets over the technical aspects of keeping a website running smoothly.
Most content management systems include the following features:
- Templates for web pages
- Website themes to choose from
- An easy-to-use editor for inputting your content
- A management system for organizing your images and written content
- Scheduling tools, so you have pages automatically publish at a certain time
- E-commerce functionality, including payment tools
- Multilingual functions to support your global audience
- Administrative features to give different people permission to edit your site
- Analytic tools that help you gain a better understanding of what is working on your website and what isn't
- Optimization tools for mobile users
- SEO support
What doesn't a CMS do? Write the content itself. Good thing you've got other options for that.
Popular Content Management Systems
The page you're reading right now? Managed through WordPress.
You've probably heard of some of the most popular content management systems like WordPress and Squarespace. Others include Joomla, Drupal, Web.com, and Wix. While many of these have a free option, most businesses prefer to pay a fee to get all the extra features that help them boost their brand awareness and drive people to their site.
How Do You Choose a CMS?
Rethinking going back to school for that CS degree? Time to choose the right CMS for your brand:
First, think about the type of website you need now and in the future.
There are endless types of websites and pages:
- Static sites that mostly stay the same
- eCommerce stores
- Social networks
- Blogs and publications
- Landing pages to drive visitors to a specific page
- Directories to list members of an organization
Keep in mind that many websites are diverse and might have landing pages, blogs, videos, and an eCommerce store, all on one website. A good, flexible CMS allows you to create what kinds of pages you need for your business, update them as needed, and will grow with you.
Next, consider who will be managing your web content.
Seek the advice of those who will be doing the actual work of maintaining and updating your website. If you are doing it by yourself, choose the CMS that you are most confident using. Most systems offer free trials, so give them a test run to see which has the features and usability you need.
If you have contractors or vendors that will be working on your site, be sure to loop them in on the decision process to get any technical requirements they may have for their work.
Finally, don't rush!
Choosing the right CMS is a vitally important decision for growing your brand's online presence. Take time to do the homework. You'll learn more about your business and your marketing strategies in the process, and you'll end up with a CMS that lets you focus on the stuff that really matters.
Hi, we’re Verblio.
We create content for SEO and content marketing for every niche.