What is a Content Management System?
A Content Management System, or CMS, allows a website owner to update their website content themselves, as well as add new pages/sections to their website. This is done by using an admin area of the website (which requires a user name/password login), to choose the page to edit and then edit in a web page using a simple editor.
The beauty of a CMS is that is allows you to make regular content updates to a website, for example adding new products, services or news, without having to pay or wait for a developer to do those for you. Google and the other search engines love fresh content, so your CMS will be a core part of delivering your Search Engine Optimisation strategy.
CMSs are complicated programs that store information about each of your pages within a database, retrieving that information when a visitor’s machine asks to view a page, and embedding it within a template that defines the design of the website. Most developers use ‘open source’ CMSs – systems that are developed by a community of people. Being open source they have the advantage of being free to the developer and also more ‘portable’ should you wish to change developers in the future.
What are the more common CMSs?
Popular open source CMSs include Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. The former two are solutions developed by techies for techies; they have very confusing user interfaces. Although very powerful, we avoid them because we think that one of the fundamental properties of a good CMS is how easy it is to use by the website owner! WordPress is at the opposite end of the spectrum and it is now our development system of choice – although only since it matured from a blogging system into a proper CMS. WordPress powers over 25% of the websites on the internet (allegedly), but be careful when you choose a WordPress web developer – many use the vast collection of add-ons and design themes to develop websites without any technical skills, and they often come unstuck or deliver solutions that are well Search Engine Optimised or which are insecure – we know this because often we get asked to pick up the pieces by customers. With our PHP, MySQL skills and experience (that might sound like gibberish, but basically it’s what WordPress is built out of) we can properly setup, optimise and customise WordPress to your needs.
Find out more about WordPress web design.