Content management systems, commonly known as CMS, are applications that enable users to easily publish web content. A CMS allows users to create, and publish from a single interface.
There are many content management systems available. The three most popular content management systems are WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. WordPress is the most popular for a reason, its very simple and anyone can learn how to use it. Joomla has a lot of similarities to WordPress, but brings a lot of functionality to the table that would require plugins on WordPress. Drupal has the most capability out of the box out of these 3, but due to its interface it’s a bit more difficult to use. These 3 are great choices for anyone looking to make the jump to content management systems.
Content management systems can be useful for any website, but are especially useful for large websites that require a lot of ongoing maintenance and need to be updated frequently. The best attribute that content management systems have is that almost all of the tools needed to build and publish a website are included. All of the 3 CMS mentioned above are free to use. They’re also updated regularly to make them more efficient, user-friendly, and secure.
What Are The Benefits?
The benefits of a CMS depend on the type and size of the site, but the basics include:
- Efficient Site Navigation – Navigation can be controlled within the CMS. With this being the case, navigation can be modified quickly in one place instead of having to edit multiple lines of code to make a small change. This is perfect for a webmaster with limited coding ability.
- Quicker Site Editing &Publishing – With a traditional website, users have to edit code, save changes and upload the changed files using an FTP client or file manager. This is time consuming and can get pretty tricky! With content management systems, edits can be made, saved and published within a CMS with a single click.
- Reduced Maintenance Time & Cost – Since the content is managed inside of the CMS, maintenance can be performed without changing and uploading files repeatedly. Most content management systems also include a “debug” mode, which can help find issues with a site swiftly. Everything being available in one place saves time, and eliminates the need to hire someone to make web content edits or minor site repairs.
Each CMS offers a basic set of functions. As a site is developed, some functionality may need to be added. With a CMS this is simple. There are thousands of “plugins” that can quickly add different functionalities to a website. Examples include:
- Web Forms
- Media Galleries
- Spam Protection
- Search Engine Optimization
- Media Players
- Social Media Integrations
- Shopping Carts
This is just the beginning of the functionality that can be added to a CMS with these plugins. Plugins exist for just about anything that a person could imagine!
Websites Of The Future?
Content management systems can be used for any site, however large or small. They can increase the efficiency of design and publishing, while also offering long-term ease of maintenance. Are you using a CMS, or do you plan to? We’d love to hear about your projects in the comments below.