What Is a Content Management System?
If you’re aiming to create your website or to make an interactive platform for your customers, but you don’t have enough coding skills, a content management system, or CMS, is the perfect tool for you. A CMS allows you to create, manage, publish, and modify a website without the need to write all the codes from scratch. Instead of developing your online platform by writing an HTML file, and uploading it to your server, this software will handle all the necessary infrastructure to build your website, like creating web pages, storing images, and other functions.
Why Do You Need a Content Management System?
Whether you’re a skilled web developer or someone who has little technical skills, CMS can give you a lot of advantages. Here are some reasons why content management system is beneficial for you:
No Technical Skills Required
One of the most significant advantages of using CMS, or content management system, is that you can use it regardless of your technical expertise level. You can easily publish web pages with no complicated programming and software installations. Its user-friendliness would allow you to manage your website, even without the assistance from a professional web developer.
The internet is filled with malware or viruses that could hugely affect your website. However, the best content management system has continuous scanning features to make sure that no suspicious activities could compromise your site. With the help of its state-of-the-art security features, your database will be protected against malicious attacks.
You Can Have Huge Savings
You can acquire most of the top content management system solutions for free, and you don’t have to pay for a web developer to manage it. You can access pre-designed templates and plugins with no charge, which you can use in upgrading your website. Getting a hosting service, buying templates, obtaining plugins, and acquiring support could cost you a lot if you choose not to use these free content management system solutions.
Suitable for All Business Sizes and Types
Whether your business is a start-up, small, or a large-scale one, you are welcome in using CMS. It allows organizations of different types and sizes to place content quickly, or make a website to drive more traffic and revenue. Plus, it’s customizable to match your business needs, so you can decide on every feature and function you want your website to have.
Improves Collaboration and Sharing
If you have multiple business lines, or there are several business units in your organization, CMS can give you a collaborative environment for content sharing. Your system can be used by multiple people simultaneously, while they’re on the same page.
Control User Access
A content management system will allow you to customize the access permission assigned to each of your team members, depending on their roles. This option is a great advantage in making sure that they only have access to what they need to prevent them from accidentally altering something that they should not. Also, you can easily set these permissions without the need of a web developer.
If you’re always on-the-go and you need to work remotely, a content management system software would still allow you to access the back-end portion of your website. As long as you have an internet connection, you can quickly address anything that needs to be fixed on your platform wherever you are.
Offer a Better Customer Service
With the help of a content management system in building your website, you could provide better support to your customers. The use of CMS will allow you to place a live chat feature on your platform, which you can integrate with video call and co-browsing functions. The CMS will not just improve the viewing experience of your customers, but could also enhance their engagement and satisfaction.
Core Features of Content Management System
To drive engaging content, you need the best content management system. Here are key functionalities an excellent CMS should have.
Advanced SEO Strategy
To drive traffic to your website, having an advanced search engine optimization tool is very crucial. One great feature that CMS could give you is that it can optimize your platform for search engines through title tags, meta descriptions and keywords, search-friendly URLs, and many more. It will also help your search results to look better by supporting microdata and structured data.
What You See is What You Get Editor (WYSIWYG)
Having a WYSIWYG editor would allow you to easily manipulate text and graphics, to resemble what its appearance will exactly look like when published, or displayed on your website. This feature would help you to modify text styles, add multimedia, and produce a basic web page, even without any assistance from a professional web designer.
Responsive Design and Mobile-Ready
A responsive design feature of a content management system could automatically adjust the scale of your website to fit with tablets, mobile devices, and smaller browser windows. You no longer need to use separate software to create a mobile version of your platform because this feature is built-in from the moment of installation. It will not just increase your website’s traffic, but it will also optimize your visitors’ viewing experience and will give more convenience to your customers.
This feature is very crucial when you’re deciding to get a content management system for your website because this will give you options to produce web content in multiple languages. This can help you to easily maintain a single branded message across all of your content, regardless of language differences. A multilingual capability is essential in improving the usability of your web portal applications, enhancing communication and productivity, expanding your business internationally, and building customer loyalty.
Whether you’re a skilled web designer or not, this feature enables you to customize the appearance of your site quickly. Whenever you need to publish new content, you can use this feature instead of creating it from scratch. These predesigned templates could help you to create a down-drop list of categories, generate a meta description from your product description, add a widget, resize images, and many more.
Open Application Programming Interface (API)
This feature is beneficial if you already have other existing systems that you need for your business. An open API allows the exchange of different systems and makes it possible for application programs to interact with each other and share data.
Social Media Integration
If you wish to drive more traffic to your website, this feature is a must. Social media integration would allow you to share your content on different platforms, which can be done effortlessly by activating plugins on your webpage. This feature could help in increasing customer engagement and market reach, and monitoring paid search campaign performance.
Measuring your business’ key performance indicators identifies your effectiveness in achieving your goals and objectives. The analytics feature of a CMS could help you collect and organize data, track website visitors, compile customer feedback, generate leads faster, identify the most commonly researched item, frequently encountered problems, and measure your platform’s traffic. You’ll find opportunities to improve the digital experience of your customers.
Types of Content Management System
Content management software can make your website creation process lighter and easier; however, you must identify the right type of CMS to use. Identify your current business, or personal needs, and start comparing it with the following types of CMS.
A coupled or traditional CMS is the simplest type of all CMS in terms of layout and general functionality. You can create and edit your content using a WYSIWYG or HTML editor, and it connects the front-end to the back-end of your website. Therefore, while your developers and content managers are working on the back of the system, your platform viewers can use the front-end at the same time. They get the same amount of data in real-time, using the same system.
Pros of Coupled CMS
It's easy to set up and deploy.
A coupled CMS is a simple type of CMS; that's why it can be set up and be deployed with ease. You won't need to spend long hours on the installation.
It comes with built-in themes, templates, and essential plugins.
Even though it's the simplest form of CMS, it still comes with a bunch of free features, which you may use in creating your content for your website.
You aren't required to invest in infrastructure.
Upon getting this CMS type, you don't have to get high-quality computers or servers, because a hosting service is enough.
Cons of Coupled CMS
It has low security.
Its security is not as high as the other types of CMS. There are chances that hackers could enter the admin portal, which could cause risks to the front-end of your platform.
It has limited customizations options.
By getting a coupled CMS, you'll have access to some free templates, themes, and plugins. However, you only have the option to use those. It won't allow you to make your own, or upload from different sources.
It can only be used to build simple and basic websites only.
It's not ideal for websites that need advanced features, and different forms of media, like videos and pictures. It is best suitable for those who will use it for building simple websites or a blog site with texts only.
If you need predesigned templates, but prefer to work with more flexibility, you may consider a decoupled content management system for your website. In this type, the back-end and front-end are separated from each other. However, they are linked together and still function as one.
Pros of Decoupled CMS
It’s more flexible and it has more features.
Since the front-end is separated from the back-end, each team can work at their own pace with more features and functions to use, which results in producing more content compared to using a coupled CMS.
Its up-time won’t be affected.
While you’re making system upgrades, or even when back-end experiences downtime, the live website, or the front-end will not be affected.
It has greater security.
It offers better security as hackers can’t compromise the back-end easily since it’s separated from the front-end.
Cons of Decoupled CMS
You need more people to manage it and requires long-term maintenance.
Due to the need to decouple, you might need two development teams with separate specialties to work on each side. You need to make sure that everything that is created on the back-end will reflect on the front-end without glitches.
It might cause miscommunication.
Decoupled CMS won’t require your web developers and marketing team to work at the same time, which would result in miscommunication between the two teams. For instance, the back-end workers might accidentally put some changes with the contents being published by the marketing teams because they work at a different time.
If you want more options on how your content will be displayed, a headless CMS is your optimal choice. Once you choose this, you’ll have an environment where you can create your content instead of using a system that only displays it—being headless means that it does not have a standard or a fixed front-end. Therefore, your content can be displayed across multiple channels, like web browsers, mobile applications, digital assistants, virtual reality, smartwatches, and many more.
Pros of Headless CMS
It enables you to choose any front-end of your choice.
By using headless CMS, you are not stock with just one front-end option. Your content can be displayed using different platforms and devices.
It allows you and your developers to innovate quickly.
Since you have greater flexibility, you can always make upgrades and innovations which could result in gaining a competitive advantage over your competitors.
Your customers will have a convenient viewing experience.
Headless CMS is a great advantage for your customers, as they can view your website whatever device they’re using. Whether you have a mobile application or just the website platform, your content will automatically adjust to the scale to fit with tablets, mobile devices, and smaller browser windows.
Cons of Headless CMS
Implementation and Deployment is time-consuming and more complicated.
A headless CMS is more complicated compared to the other two types. Deployment is time-consuming, and it requires more people to be completed.
It could cost you more.
Given that it's headless, you have to pay separately for the CMS, developers, and the infrastructure to run your website and/or application. There’s also a chance that you need to pay for a license to make it work.
You have to create the front-end from scratch.
Unlike with the two other types of CMS, this type does not have a default front-end; therefore, you have to create it from scratch as it does not have any built-in themes and templates.
Who Needs a Content Management System?
As a blogger, one of the things you need to consider is what content management system you’re going to use. You can choose from a lot of open-source CMS from the internet. You can use those in creating your site, even without the help of professional web developers. It will let you use predesigned templates, control your site, have access to free plugins, post your content, and many more.
Hosting Service Providers
If you are providing a hosting web service, one of the features that you must give your customers is a CMS. This could improve their satisfaction, especially for those who aren’t tech-savvy. You can offer this as a freebie, or an add-on with a corresponding charge. Most importantly, providing CMS will give you a competitive advantage against several providers in the market, because customers will be more likely to choose a hosting service that could also build their platform for them.
As a web developer, you have to deal with a problematic coding task to build a website. A CMS can streamline web page making and content publishing. It would help you to create a platform without starting from scratch or spending a long coding time. You no longer have to manually put plug-ins, like SEO, because it’s a built-in feature of CMS already.
Choosing to code could take much of your time, and might cost you more. A sound CMS that is customizable to match your business needs could be used to integrate your site with social media platforms. Plus, it can give you a mobile-friendly website. You’ll have templates and plug-ins, which you can use to put a live chat feature to your website. You can drive more traffic, provide better support, increase customer engagement, and improve retention.
Digital Marketing Agencies
As a member of the marketing team, some of your goals are to promote your campaigns, increase brand awareness, and to generate leads. A content management system will empower you to work independently, by allowing you to publish content, add headlines, upload images, and reach out to customers. It also has an advanced analytics feature, which will help you to easily spot website visitors, which you can turn to sales prospects.
Frequently Asked Questions
Content management is a set of processes comprising the collection, managing, and publishing of data in any platform or medium. It is a collaborative process that involves the creator, editor, publisher, administrator, and viewer. Any form of data that is stored and accessed through computers is referred to as digital content, or simply content. The solution that enables CM to collect, manage, and publish the digital content can be defined as the content management system or CMS.
An ECM is a solution that can help your organization to collect and organize some of your essential business information strategically. It is also known as document management or records management because it concerns the process of creation, approval, and distribution of each content.
ECM is important for your organization because it could capture documents digitally and store documents in a digital repository. It can also retrieve documents from different devices or locations, automate the document-driven process, secure data, reduce risk, improve customer service, streamline workflow, and eliminate the use of paper. It refers to holistic business processes.
A CMS is composed of two core parts: the CMA and the CDA. The former is known as the front-end, wherein you can do the creation, removal, modification, and management of our website’s content. The latter is the back-end portion of the site, wherein everything you put in CMA gets stored, and becomes visible to your platform’s visitors.
A web content management system is a subsection of CMS that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools. If you’re a beginner, with limited knowledge about web programming languages, this will help you create and manage content. You can use this to maintain, control, change, and reassemble the content on your webpage. Its deployment pattern could be offline, online, or hybrid processing. A WCMS can design and organize websites to provide efficient and effective access to relevant and up-to-date content. It could also control and prepare the material for publication and automate the critical parts of the publishing process.
The content management system is open-source. Therefore, it can be used by anyone to build their website. You may use it to create different platforms, like static websites, blogs, e-commerce stores, internet forums, social media networks, online couches, membership sites, and many more.
Not necessarily. You may still need to hire one because a web developer will help you add some complex features that your business might need. You can build a website with basic functions on your own using CMS; however, you may still hire someone to upgrade it for you if you do not have enough technical skills.
If you do not have extra funds to pay for a web developer, you can access free templates, which you can use for styling, site design, and database creation. If you feel confused about how to use those, a community of tech-savvy web developers in the online world can help you with your questions.
No. If you’re planning to build a website, you can start it already, then find a web hosting service provider later. However, if you do not have a website yet, and if you do not have enough time and knowledge to build it, get a host that could also provide a CMS for you. Most of them provide CMS on top of their hosting services.
CMS is a software, while HTML is a markup language. Both of them can be used in creating web pages and contents; however, HTML or hypertext markup language would require you to write codes. CMS will give you predesigned templates and plugins, but in choosing HTML, you have to create everything from scratch.
If you have limited coding skills, CMS can make your task lighter; however, if you have coding skills, then choose HTML. If you want to be more creative, then use both. You can start by using CMS, maximize each template and plugin, then you can use HTML to code for additional features that you want to add.
CMS can be used by either a beginner or an expert web developer. However, as someone who does not have formal training, you can still use it. To take advantage of CMS, you should have a basic understanding of creating databases, doing back-ups, restoring files, working remotely with a host, manipulating permissions, basic HTML understanding, and running error diagnostics.
They are both not connected to the front-end; however, a headless CMS does not have a front-end at all. You need to separately look for, or create a platform to display the content made using a headless CMS.
If you make a content using decoupled CMS, you need to create a different mobile version to make it available for all devices. In contrast, the contents you make through headless CMS already have a built-in mobile version and can be displayed on any device.
CMS and web builders are somehow similar but both different from one another. Content management systems allow you to build and manage your content, such as your blog posts. However, web builders, on the other hand, are mostly concerned with the basics of creating a website. Web builders are easier to use, and as the name suggests, it’s usually limited to providing you with the tools needed to build your pages.
Step-by-Step Guide on How to Use a Content Management System
Step 1: Create your CMS plan.
Set your goals and objectives by evaluating the current and future needs of your business. Identify the particular features that you want your platform to have and calculate your return of investment, so you can set your project timeline and allocate your budget.
Step 2: Get internal support and input.
Acquiring CMS is an investment, which will significantly affect all your team members and your operations. It is crucial to gather and inform them about your CMS plans. Start getting their inputs and suggestions, which you can consider in finalizing your platform plans. Ask if there’s someone from your team who can do it for you, or if you still need to get a third-party service provider.
Step 3: Create a project team.
If you have a large-scale organization, this can be very time-consuming for you. Creating a trust-worthy project team is a smart decision you can make. When choosing the right people, you can consider getting from the IT and marketing departments. They are the ones to look after your website and all contents to be published. Give them individual assignments, and they need to give you updates from time to time.
Step 4: Check the compatibility of your existing software.
If you already have some existing software that you use in your organization, like for CRM, ERP, or HRM solutions, check if they are compatible to be used for your website. You may coordinate with the providers to clarify the concern and inform your future CMS service provider.
Step 5: Research about CMS providers.
After finalizing everything from the internal aspect, it is now time for you to work with the third-party. Take time in researching some examples of CMS service providers, the best core features to look for, the most competitive price, customer reviews, current trends, and best practices. Compare each one, talk to them, and assess you among them to provide you the best CMS for your website.
Step 6: Choose a vendor and start working with them.
Once you have already chosen a CMS service provider, it is important to relay to them the plan you created. Make sure that they understand each goal and all the features you need to be on your platform. Give them a project timeline and a deadline date.
Step 7: Test it.
If the CMS provider is already finished creating the project, it is essential to try it first, especially the back-end and front-end portions. The IT people can try creating security protocols, while the marketing team can try making contents. After those, try how those actions will reflect on the front-end part. Any issues and difficulties should be raised to the vendor, and be rectified at an early stage.
Step 8: Migrate your business files.
After the system has been finalized, it is now time to migrate your existing business files, like the customer database, products, and account credentials. If you have any other existing software, you have to connect or transfer them as well on your CMS before the launch.
Step 9: Prepare to go live.
It is now time to launch your CMS. You may now allow your team to use it in making your website and start posting content. If you are getting CMS and hosting services from the same provider, those can be launched together at the same time.
Step 10: Secure support.
Securing support is very important, especially if you do not have enough technical expertise to do it by yourself. You can select one employee from your project team, who can work as an administrator and will work closely with the provider for immediate support. The CMS service provider will usually take care of the updates, maintenance, and will fix downtimes for you.