“Content is king”. You have heard this archaic cliché more times than you would care to admit. We all know that content is the back-bone of all things Internet. When it comes to posting content on the website, the most important tool at your disposal is Content Management System. As the name implies, Content Management System or CMS is a tool to create, edit, and store content in a convenient way. Having a CMS allows a user to add new information, products and services with speed and ease. Search Engines quest for new information is insatiate and that’s why they favour sites which are updated regularly. Updated content means better search engine results in turn translating to better traffic and return on investment.
Reasons to Use a Content Management System
- The best part about using Content Management System is that you don’t need to know HTML or any other kind of coding language to add content to your website. It is completely easy and any non-technical person can add in the information and update the website.
- Since, most CMS’s are server based, you can access it and add/edit content from anywhere and from any computer. With an Internet connection and a computer/smart-phone/tablet, you can create and edit content on the go.
- Content Management System allows a better flexibility and independence as there is no dependency on developers or IT department.
- Most CMS Systems have in-built SEO friendly systems which can help a content rank higher in search engine results.
- Content Management System also offers a collaborative system with features like approval chains, etc.
- Adding/editing content through CMS ensures a consistency in design for all pages of the websites
- Most CMS allows multiple people to add/edit the website at the same time without confusion, making the process faster and seamless.
Types of CMS
Content Management Systems can be roughly categorized into ‘open’ and ‘closed or proprietary’ systems. As the name suggests, an open source system is open to anybody working on the software and many people can work and create extensions which can be used with the original system. Since, the CMS is open, the best part is that it is available to use for free without any fee and the codes are more likely to be updated with many guides and tips on using the system. Open Source also ensures regular updates as it has a large developer base. The codes are available with a lot of documentation and ‘how-tos’ for the system. However, open system is more prone to hacker attacks as the codes are lying out in the open, making it vulnerable. Some of the most functional and easier to use open source CMS are Drupal, WordPress, Silverstripe, Joomla, Radiant CMS, etc.
Closed or proprietary systems are locked and secure systems built or maintained by single or group of organizations and normally do not allow general access to source code. These kinds of system may either be developed for a specific industry or edited to suit the needs of a specific website. With a monthly or annual subscription, you can avail the services of a proprietary system and get the features, training, design, development, etc., for your website with technical support. This helps you run your business without any hassles and extra need to hire developers and IT team. Closed System is more secure because it has closed codes and therefore is less prone to hacker attacks. Closed System also allows better and faster help with technical support. Some of the most functional closed source CMS in the market are Adobe CQ5 CMS, Magnolia, CoreMedia WCM, ECM Documentumetc, etc.
What to look for in a CMS
Whether you opt for an open or closed source Content Management System, there are a few things which you must ensure while choosing a Content Management System.
Easy and Quick Installation – The installation of a CMS shouldn’t be too complicated and should not take too long to install. A good CMS will have a simple and quick installation process leaving you up and running in no time!
Easy administration interface – Another feature which most popular CMSs provide is simple and easy interface which require no or minimum IT skills.
Supporting user community – Especially in case of open source CMS system, it is very important to have a thriving community where potential issues can be discussed and resolved.
Availability of extension of CMS – It is very important for website to keep evolving which means the CMS needs to be able to absorb and adjust to all website’s needs. A good CMS system will have continual availability of CMS extensions for added features and extra functionalities.
Easy template manipulation – A good CMS will provide a horde of templates which could be used for different pages of the website and should also accommodate easy manipulation to suit a website’s preference.
Scalability – The CMS you choose should be able to grow with your expanding business. Always remember to choose a CMS with a long-term vision.
Customization – Without the ability to customize, your website will end up looking like millions of websites strewn across the World Wide Web. A CMS you choose must have an ability to provide easy customization. It should allow manipulation of design, structure and the order of the content for unique visualization.
Security – One of the most important threats in real-life scenario for websites is hacking. A CMS you opt for must account for security and should have features to ensure maximum safety.
Before opting for a CMS, always research it thoroughly. The main purpose of a CMS is to make your life easier by creating and editing content, easily, effortlessly, and quickly. Always look from a user’s point of view and give preference to user experience over other functions. Make a list of all your requirements and choose a solution which works best for your audience and your business while being pocket-friendly. Remember that a CMS can make or break your website.