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Content Management System

What Is A Content Management System?

A content management system (CMS) is an application that is used to manage web content, allowing multiple contributors to create, edit and publish. Content in a CMS is typically stored in a database and displayed in a presentation layer based on a set of templates.

The following are the basic features of a CMS:

  • Content creation (allows users to easily create and format content)
  • Content storage (stores content in one place, in a consistent fashion)
  • Workflow management (assigns privileges and responsibilities based on roles such as authors, editors and admins)
  • Publishing (organizes and pushes content live)

Benefits Of A Content Management System

One major advantage of a CMS is its collaborative nature. Multiple users can log on and contribute, schedule or edit content to be published. Because the interface is usually browser-based, a CMS can be accessed from anywhere by any number of users.

The second major advantage of a CMS is that it allows non-technical people who don’t know programming languages to easily create and manage their own web content. The WYSIWYG editors of a typical content management platform allows users to enter text and upload images without needing to know any HTML or CSS.

When a company uses a CMS to publish its pages, it reduces its reliance on front-end engineers to make changes to the website, making it quicker and easier to publish new content.

CMS Examples

While there are hundreds of CMS platforms, some of the more popular ones are listed below:

  • Drupal
  • Joomla
  • Magento
  • ModX
  • Squarespace
  • Wix
  • Weebly
  • Wordpress

What To Look For In A CMS

Before choosing a content management system, it is beneficial to evaluate your company’s information management practices and overall business goals with respect to the publishing of content.

You will need to begin by making a list of the business problems you are trying to solve as well as any specific requirements you may have. This will help you choose the right content management system – the one that supports your business requirements – rather than the most popular or well-liked.

CMSs come in all shapes and sizes, each with its own set of features and benefits. Some are ideally suited for blogging; others may be tailored to ecommerce sites with features for pricing and accounting functionality. Specifics will vary based on your company’s needs and resources.

Here are some questions to consider in the evaluation process:

What is your budget?

If you have infinite resources to spend, there are some very complex content management systems with features designed to make content creators’ and editors’ lives easier. With a limited budget, however, your choices will be more limited.

What business operations does the CMS need to support?

After price, the next major consideration is which business operations the CMS will need to support. Does your company need to publish hundreds of new videos a day? Change prices on thousands of SKUs per day? Host images for blog posts?

What technologies does the CMS need to support or integrate with?

If your company already uses a CRM, ERP or web analytics program, you’ll need to consider a CMS that integrates with existing online marketing software.

How easy is it to create and edit content?

The larger the company, the more removed the end user of the CMS will be from the person who implements it. Ideally, the system will be easy to use and intuitive, with features like a WYSIWYG editor.

How many different groups of users will there be?

One consideration will be the various different levels of administration privileges that are required. Consider the various user roles, including the role of managers in reviewing scheduled content.

Is the platform SEO-friendly?

If SEO is important to your company, you will want a CMS that automatically handles basic on-page optimization tasks such as title tags, urls, alt tags on images, and a sound internal linking structure.

How large is the developer community?

Some of the CMS platforms, particularly Wordpress and Drupal, come with very large developer communities. The advantage to a sizable community is the amount of online help and documentation you will find on most aspects of customization.

Answering the above questions can help you select the right content management system for your business or organization.

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