A Content Management System (CMS) is an application or a number of programs that work in unison to manage digital content. The CMS is the ‘back-end’ of a website, where those with the appropriate admin rights can edit, organise, and publish content, alongside a host of other integrated features. When working with a large amount of content, a CMS quickly becomes a necessity to effectively keep on top of it, and allows for large teams of staff to perform different roles easily, as all the content is in the same place. What a CMS also allows is for total control given to the owner and staff, where they can assign rights to whom they want.
Features of a CMS
A CMS provides a variety of features, and usually come as large packages that are available for purchase, or open-source code available for use. Unlike leaving issues to the developer to solve, such as editing mistakes on the web page, having a back-end of a website allows staff to edit the front-end without any delays, and is simply far more streamlined than relying on third-parties. The main features of a CMS are:
Template creation and implementation
A full admin panel
Easily accessible content editing and publishing
Purchasing a CMS
A CMS can come in two forms: proprietary, and open-source. Proprietary means a CMS that has been developed by a company that is then available to be used for your website. You will likely have to pay up-front or monthly for this solution, but the fact that it is pre-built makes it highly convenient for many businesses.
An open-source solution, however, is free and usable for all. Worked on by a huge community of developers, any and all that are fluent in the language can improve and add features to the code - resulting in a CMS that is constantly updated. WordPress, an open-source provider, currently claims to ‘power 28% of the internet’, making it the largest current CMS option. However, providers like WordPress often contain many different variants, and as such it can be time-consuming to test each one.
A CMS can be obtained from many different providers - both free and subscription-based. The current most popular vendors for CMS’s are: Wordpress (a free provider of an open-source code, acting as either a hosting service, or as a local web server); Sharepoint (a cloud-based content management system); and Joomla (a free open-source solution, similar to WordPress).
Different websites will require different CMS options. Wordpress, for example, is very popular among bloggers, whilst Joomla is popular among mobile developers. Research into the different vendors to decide which is right for you.
If you are currently having a website developed, or plan on it, ask your developer about a CMS. In some cases - such as us here at Ansta - they may offer an in-house CMS that can be purchased and customised to your site, which will be significantly more effective than other options in most cases.