A Content Management System (CMS) is a software that allows people without programming knowledge to create, edit, and publish content online. It dictates the way your website looks, feels, and functions for both you and your visitors. A good CMS usually leads to a smooth and cost-effective website. A poor CMS can be a cause of great frustration and expense.
The success of your website will depend in part on the way you customize it, more importantly though, it will depend on the quality of the CMS that you choose. This article provides an overview of CMS software, its uses, and a breakdown of some of the leading systems currently available on the market.
Why Choose a CMS?
Along with website builders, Content Management Systems provide an easy entry point to the web for people without software development experience.
For this reason, a major priority of any Content Management System is that it is easy to work with. Creating and updating content on your website is a large part of what you will be doing, so you need to find a CMS that makes this process as user-friendly as possible. However, a CMS shouldn’t be so simple that it can only create boring and formulaic websites. This is the balance most CMS developers are facing, how to make something that is easy to use, technologically sophisticated, and adaptable to peoples unique preferences.
For the most part, CMS builders have got this balance right. They now produce many sites such as eCommerce, social networks, blogs, business websites, and forums all to a very high standard.
Which CMS should I Choose?
There are hundreds, if not thousands of Content Management Systems on the market, but no single Content Management System works best for every type of websites. In other words, to choose the best CMS you must first ask yourself “what is the purpose of my website?”. Certain CMS work well with blogs and social networks while others work better with eCommerce and business websites. You need to try and find the CMS that best aligns with the purpose of your website. Other factors to consider are whether or not you will be changing and altering your website frequently, and how much you want to be involved in the technical maintenance of your website.
What to Look For in a CMS
Here are some key features every CMS should provide.
- Multimedia Support – How easy is it embed videos, share pictures, and upload documents?
- Navigation – How functional is the navigation within and without of the website?
- Search Functions – How sophisticated are your search capabilities?
- Level of Automation – is it easy to make updates? Does it automatically convert uploaded content to the appropriate format? A good CMS makes light work of all your updates.
- Revisions – How versatile is the page edit management?
- SEO – Does your CMS rank well with search engines?
- Authorized Access – can you set different levels of access for different users?
For the most part, CMS’s tend to be free. However, there will be costs involved. The fees you pay come from your hosting site, your domain name, and any themes, plugins, and services you need to purchase along the way. Obviously, the overall cost will depend on how intricate your site needs to be. The average price for a standard website with managed hosting is $10 per month. For a high-end website, this rises to approximately $40 per month.
The Most Popular CMS’s on the Web Today
|CMS||Platform||Advantages and Disadvantages|
|Linux||The most popular choice for simple, entry-level websites. WordPress started out as a blogging platform, and this is still the way it is used by many people. It is very accessible for beginners and novices due to its user-friendly design. However, it doesn’t make a great choice for larger businesses because it struggles with security and customization.|
|Linux||Originally a community platform that favored social networking features. This open-source CMS is more versatile than its rival WordPress.|
|Linux||This highly flexible open-source option is the CMS of choice for intricate sites that have complicated data organization. The increased complexity that it provides is offset by the fact it can be difficult to use.|
|Windows||The excellent newcomer to the scene has recently emerged as a major player in enterprise-level content management. Its Windows-like interface also contains a host of special features.|
|Windows||This user-friendly CMS is quickly becoming one of the main go-to options on the Windows platform.|
Content Management Systems are a great option for anyone without development experience that is looking to publish web content. Here, we have listed a few of the major options available but there are many more to check out. Once you have a clear idea of what your website is for and how it will be used, then you will be a lot closer to selecting the right CMS for your needs. It is important that you take your time to select the right CMS as it will effect the long term success of your website.