What is a Content Management System?
A Content Management System or CMS is a web based software tool that allows one or more users to create, edit, manage and publish content on your website. They can be set up directly on a network, the Internet, or even to run “locally” on your own computer.
The major benefit of a CMS is that it allows someone who isn’t tech-savvy to update and manage content on your website without having to go back to your web designer or web developer.
There are three types of CMS – Bespoke, Proprietary and Open Source
A bespoke system is one that has been developed and built specifically for your website. It is custom designed to meet the exact requirements of just your website.
The main problem with bespoke systems are that they are expensive and time consuming to develop, and therefore costly. Also they lack portability if you want to move your website to a new host environment.
Bespoke systems are few and far between these days.
As the name suggests a Proprietary CMS is one that requires you to purchase licenses to be able to use it. Even with a license users can’t adapt or modify the system although some will allow an upgrade to a more expensive developer’s license.
Most ‘build it yourself’ website services use proprietary CMS. The main drawback here is that you can’t move your website to a different service.
The main drawback with proprietary CMS is not just the cost of the licenses but also the lack of portability and flexibility.
Open Source CMS
An Open Source CMS is distributed freely with source code and license. Anyone can use it or modify the code without having to ask permission to do so and this means new plugins and widgets are being continuously developed.
There are many Open Source CMS but the 3 major ones all built in PHP are:
WordPress – originally developed as a blogging tool it now is now used commonly to develop complex websites such as Bloomberg, Sony, Disney plus many more household names. WordPress has developed into the most popular Open Source CMS and now powers over 25% of all sites on the web.
Joomla – again used by many well known sites such as Olympus, Porshe and Vodafone. Supports custom databases and extensions. Joomla takes longer to set up and is more complex to use but is seen as a powerful CMS.
Drupal – seen as the most powerful of the three, Drupal is used by the White House, General Electric, The Economist. If you haven’t any technical skills Drupal can be extremely complicated although it can do just about anything.
Benefits of using a Content Management System
- Cost effective – no license fees, no fees for upgrades, no contracts to sign and no long-term commitments.
- Puts you in control of your content
- Design and content can be edited separately
- Continuous technology development – keeps bang up-to-date with the latest innovation
- Large development community – leads to countless free plugins, widgets and themes
- Easy site maintenance – good workflow management
- Search engine friendly – WordPress in particular has very effective search plugins available
- They practically work ‘right out of the box’
If you need any further information on this topic or you would like to arrange a meeting to discuss how a Content Management System could benefit your website then please contact me on 01491 699845 or email firstname.lastname@example.org