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What Is a Content Management System (CMS)?
by Dave Reeder , 05 August 2021
Introduction to Content Management Systems
A content management system, often abbreviated to CMS, is an online tool that can be used to create and maintain websites for businesses and individuals alike.
Well-built content management systems allow users who do not necessarily have advanced technical skills to flex their web design muscles by creating and maintaining an online presence that is professional, accessible and adaptable to both their needs and the needs of their online visitors.
Instead of having to learn how to write code and build a website completely from scratch, a CMS provides users with the ability to focus on what they actually want to get out of their page rather than spend too much time setting it up. Using the options provided to them by a CMS, the user can transform their ideas, whatever they might be, into a fully functioning web page that can be accessed by whoever they wish on the internet.
Aside from helping to create web pages, content management systems also allow users to modify their content whenever and however they like so that their online presence can remain sufficient and adaptable, as is required on the internet in the constantly evolving modern world.
Different content management systems can also be used for a variety of tasks such as the management of documents, creation of an intranet or publishing of a blog. The capabilities of each CMS vary with each one but all the well-built, most popular systems should be able to fulfill the requirements of the majority of users and, as is often the case, build upon the user’s initial ideas.
Essentially, a CMS is a website that develops websites. However, what it also does is make the often daunting world of the internet more accessible to a broader range of potential users. Instead of the internet developing into an intimidating, scary new world that can only be influenced by a handful of highly skilled people, it can instead be seen as a practical tool, easily and readily used in the worlds of business, media and marketing to name but a few!
How Do Content Management Systems Work?
The objective of a content management system is to make things as easy as possible for the user so that they can have as much control over their website as possible.
A well-built CMS such as Concrete5 does just this. Concrete5 works with a very accessible interface very similar to a standard Microsoft Word document so that the user can work with a sense of familiarity that can translate into confidence that will in turn be visible in the quality of the website that is created.
Many people that come to use a CMS do so because they lack the abilities or time to build an online presence from scratch but they still have a strong desire to be personally responsible for creating and maintaining an effective online presence.
Therefore, the practical interface of a CMS such as Concrete5 allows them to do just that. Ideally a CMS should allow you to express your ideas digitally and practically and so the CMS itself must be as practical as possible.
Many content management systems, such as Concrete5, pride themselves on the speed at which they allow their users to edit their web pages. They often come with clear layouts and informative tutorials that allow for their customers to easily gain a good grasp of how to most effectively use them.
A good example of the advantages of using an effective content management system would be if you ran a small business that had a web page built using a CMS and you were to notice a typo on one of your pages. A CMS would allow you to swiftly rectify the mistake perhaps even before anyone else notices! (CMSs often come with a form of spell checker anyway so this is unlikely to happen).
In many ways a content management system allows a business owner or an individual looking to promote themselves much more of a grasp over their online profile so that they can ensure their presence has a strong personal touch.
A content management system such as Concrete5 offers its users a variety of options with endless amounts of flexibility when it comes to colours, themes, blocks and page types to ensure that the user can bring their ideas into actualisation.
What are the most popular Content Management Systems?
The most popular content management system is WordPress which is responsible for over 35% of all websites on the internet- a real reflection of just how easy to use an effective CMS can be.
WordPress.org is free to use except you have to pay for a domain name for your website, as well as the option to buy premium design templates. Its popularity stems from its simplistic interface and wealth of add-ons available through plugins. However, many users find themselves having to copy from one of their templates in order to help themselves reduce the number of options that the system gives them to a more manageable level.
Other very popular content management systems include:
Joomla which gives a similar wealth of options and level of adaptability to WordPress.org but some users find the system over complicated and not as easy to use as other CMS options that offer a similar quality of content in a more accessible manner.
Wix, Shopify and SquareSpace are also big names in the world of content management systems and are often good options for those just starting out who aren’t too demanding in what they want to get from their experience with using a content management system.
As a CMS, Concrete5 strikes a carefully worked out balance between ease of use and potential capabilities. Unlike many popular content management systems, Concrete5 manages to give the user the tools that they need in order to create an online presence without overwhelming them with options but equally without limiting their potential.
Concrete5 offers up an impressive level of adaptability for such an accessible site. Users often praise the level and speed of customisation that Concrete5 can provide them with, as well as the level of security that the system can ensure for their customers. All these factors are contributors to why this CMS in particular is used by customers for a variety of purposes from large organisations such as the U.S. military to ITV, through to local business and charity sites.
What websites can be built using a CMS?
Content management systems were initially built to help create and maintain blogs. However, since their conception they have developed to be able to fulfill a much wider variety of needs.
Nowadays most well-built content management systems can be used to make anything their user might desire. Most of the biggest systems allow their users to build sites that include:
- Corporate intranets
- Complex product information sites
- Digital asset management sites
- Marketing sites
- Community portals
It is always worth checking what the system you’re using is capable of before committing to choosing it so that you aren’t caught out later on down the line.
Concrete5, for example, is capable of helping its users to create marketing platforms for the banking and finance sector, online representation for manufacturers looking to sell their goods and expand their business ventures, safe and secure intranets for hospitals and schools alike and secure sights holding sensitive information up to a military level!
If that doesn’t fulfill your needs, Concrete5 also offers a personalised service so that they can work with you to find exactly what it is that you need.
Choosing the most suitable CMS for your project
Choosing the right content management for your own project is a very important process. It is critical to keep in mind that you may be working with this system for a long time and so making sure that you feel confident that the CMS can provide for you what you require from it is the first step.
Just like with any relationship, a feeling of longevity and adaptability might be something to look for. After this, just playing around with the system and seeing if you feel confident with it is the next step. A lot of systems are free to use or at least offer some form of free trial so taking advantage of this before making a final decision is a very good idea.
There is a wealth of different content management systems on the market, a lot of which can offer up very similar services, so the personal comfort of the user is the most important factor when choosing the right CMS for you.
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