A content management system, often abbreviated as CMS, is software that helps users create, manage, and modify content on a website without the need for specialized technical knowledge.
In simpler language, a content management system is a tool that helps you build a website without needing to write all the code from scratch (or even know how to code at all).
Instead of building your own system for creating web pages, storing images, and other functions, the content management system handles all that basic infrastructure stuff for you so that you can focus on more forward-facing parts of your website.
Top Reasons To Use A Content Management System (CMS)
1. No Web Programming Experience? No Problem!
Content management systems, like WordPress, were built for users with little to no programming experience. Once your website is fully developed by a web design professional, managing the actual content on your website is simple and easy to learn.
Your web content, like images and text, can easily be inserted and uploaded onto specific pages and styled in a content editor that is similar to Microsoft Word
2. Advanced SEO Tools and Plugins
Content management systems offer a number of plugins and tools that can help your site rank better in major search engines. This doesn’t mean you should get rid of your online marketing team, but these tools can help implement a basic SEO strategy in an attempt to increase online traffic to your site.
Other website options, like WYSIWYG editors, do not have tools and plugins available to specifically help optimize your web content for major search engines. WordPress plugins directly present options within the interface itself to include web page titles, meta descriptions, alt tags, and all the other elements needed to best optimize your website for Google and other major search engines. They will also alert you when these elements are not done correctly.
What’s more, these plugins are regularly updated to adapt to any changes in major search engines that could affect your ranking. So, your website will remain optimized at all times, despite any updates or changes. Basically, CMSs, especially WordPress, are the only website options that allow you to easily optimize your website for search engines using user-friendly plugins and tools right within the editing interface itself.
3. Cost Effective and Affordable
Website maintenance can be a major expense if you have a static website. Calling a web designer or developer to make frequent changes can add up. Not only is cost a factor, but you will most likely have to wait a few days to see the updates live on your site.
Investing in a content management system can save you both time and money. With a content management system in place, you no longer have to rely on a web developer to make common site changes. You can instantly make these changes yourself exactly when you need them done.
4. Easy Collaboration and Access
Content management systems allow multiple people to not only have access to your website but also easily collaborate on different projects. Using individual accounts, multiple people can add, edit, or update content on the site right from their own computers or devices. CMS’ also stores all of your online content for you in one place and is available to anyone with access to the website, meaning the need to send multiple different files to different individuals is no longer necessary.
Better yet, content management systems are also very convenient for people on the go. You can log in to the back-end of your website from anywhere. All you need is a computer, tablet, or mobile device and an internet connection.
In today’s world, the last thing anybody wants is for their website to be hacked, especially e-commerce website owners. Websites can be especially vulnerable and are often targeted by hackers, to steal personal information.
However, content management systems are consistently tested by an army of developers and computer scientists in an effort to protect users against any and all potential security threats. Additionally, there are countless plugins and tools available that are also individually designed to increase your website’s security.
What Makes up a Content Management System?
On a more technical level, a content management system is made up of two core parts:
- A content management application (CMA) – this is the part that allows you to actually add and manage content on your site (like you saw above).
- A content delivery application (CDA) – this is the backend, behind-the-scenes process that takes the content you input in the CMA, stores it properly, and makes it visible to your visitors.
Together, the two systems make it easy to maintain your website.
What Are Examples of Popular Content Management Systems?
WordPress, which we showed you above, is the best example of a popular content management system. While there are certainly other content management systems in existence, WordPress maintains over a 65.1% market share on websites with a known content management system.
Beyond the self-hosted WordPress software, other popular content management systems include:
What Kinds of Websites Can You Build with Those Content Management Systems?
Most content management systems are pretty flexible nowadays. While there are some that focus on a specific use – like Magento and eCommerce – most of the popular content management systems can be used to create essentially any type of website.
For example, you can use WordPress to power:
- Static websites
- eCommerce stores
- Social networks
- Online courses
- Membership sites
How to Build a Website with a Content Management System
Want to build your own website with a content management system? If so, the general process looks something like this:
- Purchase web hosting and a domain name
- Install your content management system of choice on your web server
- Configure the content management system to dictate how your site looks and functions