Some website owners are simply tired of waiting for days or, sometimes, weeks on their web guy or IT department to make updates to their sites. For others, they need to make these changes so frequently that they would rather do the content updates themselves rather than pay someone an hourly fee. Here are a few things you should know if you are considering whether content management systems will work for your website.
What is a Content Management System?
A Content Management System (CMS) is a web-based application that makes it possible for anyone (with the proper access rights) to manage website content without using a single piece of code. This system makes it easy to add, edit, and delete text and images on your website on the fly.
The CMS web application stores most of your website’s data and content in a database instead of flat files (multiple linked HTML files). In some cases, a CMS website is also referred to as a dynamic website because of how the data is stored. CMS offers more advanced functionality compared to HTML, along with a host of features that make running a website faster and easier.
Why You Need a Content Management System
• Increased efficiency – Publishing content becomes easy and more efficient as no design or coding skills are required, allowing you to make quick updates while saving your business time and cost.
• Maintain control over content – Using a CMS allows you to have a direct hand on what should and should not be posted on your website.
• Increase search engine ranking – Improving or maintaining search engine ranking requires that your business remains relevant. An easy-to-use CMS can help publishers keep content fresh. In turn, this encourages contributions in the form of likes, forums, and comments that inevitably improve your search engine ranking.
• Few web design bills – A CMS does not require you to call in a web designer every time you have to upload a new image, post a new blog or change page content.
• Easy-to-use components – CMSs offer you user-friendly tools for creating content and uploading media. In addition, you get access to many formatting controls that can help you build attractive layouts.
• Familiar website management – If you run several sites, the knowledge and skills you have picked up while working on one are transferable to the other sites using the same CMS platform. This makes it easier for you to manage multiple sites, without having to spend time learning different management tools and systems.
• Extensibility – Most CMSs have user communities that are continually working on extending the usefulness and reach of the systems using plugins and extensions. In addition, the layout and design of a CMS website are separate, making it possible for you to change the website’s look and feel – without disrupting existing content.
How to Choose a CMS
If you are convinced of the benefits of content management systems, there are three things that you should remember as you shop for a system:
• What you already know
• The types of database and scripting languages you intend to use
• Your future plans for the website
• Ease of use – A CMS should feature a flexible design that allows you to manage and customize the feel of pages, without any design or programming expertise.
• Easy to use templates – A CMS should have templating capabilities that allow you to create and duplicate content, including page layouts.
• Performance and scalability – The CMS should load pages and posts quickly, and maintain performance with the growth of your website
• Service and support – Evaluate whether the CMS vendor offers various service and support options that meet your requirements.
• Mobile ready – A CMS should have the capabilities and tools to render a smooth experience to mobile users.
• SEO and on-site search – The CMS should have SEO tools or plugins that will help your pages rank well in search engine results.
Which CMS is Best?
There are both subscription-based and free CMS offerings for personal and business use. The following are just a few of the most popular CMS platforms:
• WordPress – This is the most popular CMS, used by thousands of users. It offers an easy-to-use interface. You can quickly turn a basic website to a fully functional eCommerce site using the many third-party business add-ons.
• Magento – Another CMS that is specifically geared towards creating powerful and attractive eCommerce websites. Ready-made themes can be easily customized with your own code, making the platform great for growing businesses.
• Drupal – SEO is critical for any website, and Drupal offers you many modules and tools that will help you create content targeted at your specific audience. The CMS tools also help structure your website’s structure so search engines can effectively crawl through it.
• Joomla – Website maintenance is critical no matter what kind of content you host. In most cases, it is the first impressions that visitors get once they visit your site that matter on whether they will make a purchase. Joomla is an easy to customize and develop CMS that is considered best for small business owners.
If you are not using content management systems to manage your content online, making the switch can save you money and time. The key is choosing the right tool for the job and choosing a CMS that clearly matches functions, extensions and the flexibility you need.