Understanding Content Management System (CMS)
There millions of websites across the globe. Has it ever occurred to you, how these websites are running 24/7, how are they being managed and how does their content remain fresh and updated at all times? Well the answer is Content Management Systems (CMS).
What is a Content Management System?
It is a software that enables a user to create, manage, and modify content on a website without the need for any technical skills. In lay–man terms, a content management system is a tool that enables you to build a website without requiring you to write software code. Using these tools you can run and manage a complex website, using drag-and-drop functionality, and a authoring interface that seems as easy as creating a word doc. CMS solutions, also comes with lot of standard functionalities like site search, generating RSS feeds, built in themes and templates, multi-lingual support, detailed taxonomy and so on.
A Content Management System is divided into 2 components:
- Content Management Application (CMA) – CMA acts as the front-end user interface that enables a user, even with limited skills/knowledge, to add, modify, and remove content from a website without the intervention of a webmaster.
- Content Delivery Application (CDA) – This is the second major component is that compiles the content and updates the website.
How is a CMS useful :
- Savestime :
Choosing your website layout, design, formatting etc. is a time-consuming activity. But with the help of a CMS, one can save time on these activities, as the templates offered by the CMS can take care of these things. With a CMS, you can build pages and sites in one-tenth the time it takes to build them from scratch. Time once spent in writing code, can be spent publishing fresh content and optimizing pages.
- Brings in consistency:
Every designer in the team might have his or her own preference for colors and design choices. However this will bring inconsistency in terms of the website look and feel. Using standard templates (that can be configured at the time of set up of the CMS), ensures a consistent look and feel across the site, even as content gets updated regularly. Further, use of standardized templates can also ensure that the webpage provides a consistent experience to all users irrespective of the device (laptop, tablet, phone) or browser
- Smoother Workflow:
CMS systems ensure collaborative working between content writers, designers, video creators and the search engine optimisation team. Using proper workflow, task flows from one desk to another, and post final quality check and authorization, can go live on the website.
- Standard Modules
Lots of CMS systems come with standard modules that can assist tasks like creation of meta-tags for search engine optimization; creation of fill-in forms (like enquiry or content us forms); site search functionality, newsletter subscription functionality and so on. Some CMS platforms also have inbuilt e-commerce functionality like catalogue display, shopping cart, check out and payment gateway integration.
What are some of the popular CMS?
Content Management Systems come in all shapes and sizes (and price points !!). Right now entry level platforms like WordPress (30% worldwide market share); to mid-tier solutions like Joomla! and Drupal; to enterprise solutions like Sitecore and Adobe Experience Manager (AEM). Businesses that see lot of traffic on their web platforms or need multi-country, multi-language support or have dynamic content or applications (like a booking engine integration etc), prefer to go with enterprise solutions. This guarantees platform stability as well as data security.
Hence, you need to take help of your IT team (or an external consultant) to help you articulate your requirements from a user perspective, and then identify relevant CMS, from the plethora of solutions available, and evaluate them to come up with the one that best fits your requirements and budgets.
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