What is a Content Management System (CMS)?
A web content management system is a software system that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages to create, change and manage website content with relative ease and little training. A typically requires a systems administrator and/or a web developer to set up and add features, but it is primarily a website maintenance tool for non-technical staff.
Why should you use a CMS? Here are 11 good reasons why a CMS is your best choice…
An open source CMS solution reduces the cost of building and maintaining a website.
Using pre-built CMS plugins to add needed features is extremely affordable. Paying for custom programming to create a dynamic website with full functionality from scratch is expensive.
Using a CMS and pre-built extensions/plugins to add functionality provides a more intuitive, flexible and secure system, and is generally considered the best way to build websites. Using tools that a lot of other people are using results in developers constantly improving their products, adding requested features, fixing bugs and improving performance and security.
Systems built exclusively for you tend to be developed just good enough to pass basic tests. Then they are forgotten unless you’re willing to continually pay the developer to improve their system. Bugs found later, new security loopholes discovered, that new feature you’d like will never happen unless you retain the developer on an indefinite basis.
Building a website from scratch, writing every line of code, will end up costing 5 or 10 times as much and take much longer to complete. A built by hand website will probably have to be updated by hand as well, requiring you to learn code or pay your website developer for every minor little change. And that tends to inhibit the amount of editing and adding new content that you do to keep costs down. Sites like this tend to stagnate and quickly go out-of-date. Search engines hate websites that don’t change, and will continually downgrade your value. Your visitors won’t return because everything is the same as before. A unique design alone won’t attract visitors like valuable, new content.
With a CMS you can update website content yourself, so there’s no need to pay and wait for your website developer to make changes. No delays in making updates, and the content is controlled by you, the subject matter expert.
Your website developer does the complicated work of actually building your site in the CMS. Then they hand you the keys, and you have the ability to add and update content as you please.
2. No Technical Skills Required
Don’t know HTML, CSS, PHP, MySQL? No problem! You edit content using a familiar WYSIWYG editor similar to Microsoft Word.
A CMS requires almost no technical skill or knowledge. You can easily manage website content - publishing, editing, modifying, deleting, scheduling any content at any time or from any location without touching a single line of code.
Since your content is stored in a database, you can change it in a single location and it will apply the update to multiple pages on your website wherever that content appears, for example a sidebar Contact Info module that shows on many pages. Since the CMS manages all your content, you don't have to.
3. No Special Software Required to Manage a CMS
A CMS is web-based software. To edit your website, all you need is an internet connection and any type of computer - desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile smartphone.
You don’t have to do all the content authoring and updating yourself. You can give multiple people login access to distribute content authoring duties. Assign different levels of access permissions to limit what a person can edit, if it’s published live on the website immediately or if their draft must be approved by another administrator first.
5. Limit What Visitors Can See and Do
Ability to control who can access content - you can have articles that are only visible to registered members.
6. Search Engine Friendly
Most CMS’s make it easy to optimize your site content for search engine results. Using the provided tools will help rank your site higher.
7. Easily Access the Most Current Web Functionality
Frequent CMS software updates may add current web standards and trends, or you can use plugins that extend the core functionality any way you desire.
8. Your Website Can Still Be Original and Unique
It’s common to want your website to be entirely original and completely unique. However, many assume that using a CMS with a template will make them look like everybody else.
Websites built with a CMS don’t have to look all the same. Templates are very flexible and allow for easy modifications of layout and colors. A good website developer will start with a template that is fairly close to the look you want, then modifies it to get your unique look. Many times websites built with the same template look entirely different. Quality commercial templates don’t lock you into a single layout or color scheme.
9. Easily Redesign or Add New Functionality
Major additions or revisions to your website won’t require a complete website overhaul. In a CMS, design, content and functionality are all kept completely separate. Any one can be completely changed without affecting the others. This allows you to easily change your look or add new features in a cost-effective manner without disturbing what you already have.
10. Support is Readily Available
Open source means the code is visible to everyone and can be modified without copyright infringement. Open source is community developed. For example, Joomla!® does not have a central corporation profiting from their CMS product. It is entirely managed and developed by a large and passionate community of users. Thousands of professional developers work diligently to improve the system’s security, usability, and modern implementation. Support is widely available from community forums, blogs, conferences, and training services. The community is international and extremely friendly and willing to help.
11. A CMS Can Be Extremely Secure
It’s easy to find many users reporting CMS insecurities. In the vast majority of cases this is a result of out-of-date software vulnerabilities. If you insure your CMS and plugins are always running the latest release versions your website will be extremely secure. CMS’s are consistently updated to protect against new threats and are tested by many, many users.
There are many additional best-practice guidelines to increase your security, such as using strong passwords. Most CMS’s also have high-quality security extensions that provide additional protection against hackers, blocking most common exploits. Sparks Arts offers several security-related services to insure your website is kept safe.