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Helitha Rupasinghe
Helitha Rupasinghe

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A Beginner's Guide to Content Management Systems

Content management systems (CMS) are web applications that allow users to organise and manage their digital content. It provides the user with a GUI (Graphical User Interface) to manage the website. To build a website, users do not need to have knowledge of databases or programming.

In this post, we will define what a content management system is and cover the different types of CMS available. It will also emphasize the advantages and disadvantages of adopting a content management system.

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

First, it's made up of two parts:

  • The front-end is the Content Management Application (CMA) which provides a simple interface for non-technical users to add, manage and remove web content from a website.

  • And the back-end is the Content Delivery Application (CDA), which delivers content requested by users from the server.

How does a Content Management System work?

A CMS works by allowing you to access your website's database using a simple GUI, which is often accessed via a web browser. You can access a variety of content management features from this interface, including:

  • Create and publish new pages on your website
  • Update or delete existing content and pages
  • Use pre-set categories, themes or templates to organise the layout of your pages
  • Ensure consistent presentation of content across your whole website
  • Manage your website's structure and navigation, including menus and sitemaps.
  • Manage editorial workflows and authorship permission levels.
  • Store and retrieve different types of content (eg text, images, podcasts, videos) in your database

👉 See how to choose the best CMS for your company.

What are the different types of Content Management Systems?

There are three broad types of CMS software: open source, proprietary and Software-as-a-Service CMS, including cloud-based solutions.

Open-Source CMS

An open-source CMS contains precisely what the name suggests: a source code that is open to the public view and free to use by anyone with constraints based on the licence type, the most prevalent of which are GPL and Apache.

Examples of Content Management Systems:

  • WordPress (Cloud-Based CMS)
  • HubSpot (Cloud-Based CMS)
  • Joomla (On-Premise CMS)
  • Drupal (On-Premise CMS)
  • Wix (Cloud-Based CMS)

👉 See a full list of Open-Source CMS.

Proprietary CMS

A proprietary CMS, as the name implies, is software that is the legal property of the business, group, or individual who built it.

Examples of Content Management Systems:

  • Kentico
  • Microsoft Sharepoint
  • IBM Enterprise Content Management
  • Pulse CMS
  • Sitecore
  • Shopify

👉 See a full list of Proprietary CMS

Software as a Service (SaaS) CMS

A SaaS CMS is a pre-built content management system that operates entirely in the cloud. It is usually accessible online without the need for any installation, upgrading, or maintenance.

Examples of Content Management Systems:

  • Adobe Business Catalyst
  • Contentful
  • Huddle
  • Microsoft 365
  • Oracle Content Management
  • Webflow

👉 See a full list of Software as a Service CMS

Advantages of Content Management Systems?

CMS has key advantages over static HTML websites, including:

Quick Deployment

A CMS is the quickest way to speed up the development of websites.

Less Backend Coding

No programming knowledge is required because majority of them have drag-and-drop editors.

Ease of Maintenance

The main goal of using CMS is time management. CMS provides the functionality to create, manage or modify the content of the site.

Convenient for non-technical users

Anyone can use a CMS for basic operations like writing, publishing and adding media.

SEO-Friendly Features

CMS platforms offers extra plugins and tools to improve the security of your website. Using a permission-based system, the site's author can manage who has access to his site.

Improve Customer Services

The CMS's plugins are available which directly supports SEO optimisation strategies that will increase the traffic to your website.

Disadvantages of Content Management Systems?

Despite their many advantages, there are a few common issues to take into account before selecting a CMS. For example:

Plugins and widgets are required.

Most of the functionalities that users can use must be provided by plugins and widgets.

Hidden cost of plugins and widgets

Many plugins and widgets are expensive and can cost hundreds of dollars.

Slow Page Performance

The page performance of a CMS-created web page is noticeable slower than that of many other custom development solutions.

Cost of Maintenance

CMS systems must be kept up to date on a regular basis. Which can impact organisation differently depending on their size, site traffic and reputation.

Not highly scalable

With regard to open-source and freeware. Most systems can only support a certain number of users; as content and traffic grow, you'll need to tweak the CMS system or switch to something more powerful.

Limitation in functional requirements

A CMS system will fail to meet your functional needs if you have a larger project with various procedures, workflows, and stakeholders.

Importance of CMS to your business

If you need a CMS, then carefully consider the following benefits and prioritise your CMS requirements to find the right CMS that will, help you meet your business needs.

  1. Streamline your regular web process.
  2. Update your website remotely, as and when necessary.
  3. Ensure the website has a consistent 'look and feel'.
  4. Customise your website to match your specific business needs.
  5. Reduce website maintenance costs.
  6. Store archived content, either for future use or reference.
  7. Use dynamic marketing to improve sales or user satisfaction.
  8. Optimise your website and content for search engines or mobile use.

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