What is a CMS? Do you need a CMS?
Heard the term CMS and wondering what it means for your website?
In this article we explore what a CMS is and the benefits of having a CMS for your website.
An overview of what a CMS is and it's benefits to you
A content management system (CMS) provides a user-friendly interface for easily creating, managing and publishing content on a website without requiring a technical person, such as the site developer to make any changes.
Below, we'll explore in more depth; the benefits of using a CMS in relation to improved content management efficiency, costs and flexibility, along with the various types of CMS available for use with your website and how each type has the right fit for your requirements.
Whether you are a business owner, content creator or working in marketing, a CMS will assist you in improving your online presence whilst also saving time and money.
- Content Management System (CMS) definition and main uses.
- Benefits of utilising a CMS.
- The different types of CMS.
- Choosing the right CMS for your use-case.
- Companies that successfully utilise a CMS to improve workflow.
Content Management System (CMS) definition and main uses.
The main benefit of a CMS is that it allows you to create, edit and publish content on your website without requiring the assistance of a developer.
The primary function of a CMS is to manage content for a web application;
Types of content you'd be able to modify from the CMS would include; pages, blogs / articles, images, products, copy and more.
Think of using a CMS as a central store for all of your web content, similar to the filesystem on your computer.
Benefits of utilising a CMS
Separation of departments
A key benefit of utilising a CMS with your website is that the content of the site and the design/code is completely separated. This means that the two sides can work independently - content creators can easily add and modify content whilst design and development can change the design and functionality of the site without worrying about causing the site to crash.
Easy content management
Another useful advantage of a CMS is that it allows you to easily manage a large amount of content as it will all be organised into separate, logical and filterable folders. It also allows for simple links between content:
e.g. If you link from page A to page B, if you update the URL of page B, the CMS will automatically change the link on page A to link to the new page B URL.
As you do not need to know any programming languages to use a CMS, it can greatly improve the efficiency of publishing content to your website as no changes are required to be made on the website itself by a programmer/developer.
The interface of a CMS is usually straightforward and simple-to-use, with built in text-editors and other functionality such as image / video uploads. This means that even with very limited technical knowledge, you'll be able to quickly update the content of your website.
Without a CMS, updating content of your site can lead to issues if there is no version control system in place. What will happen if you accidentally mess up some of the code of the site, causing it to crash late at night on a Friday? You'll have to plead with a developer to work late/on the weekend to fix it.
With a CMS, this is not an issue - Adding or updating content will not cause the site to crash. If any of the content you add contains a mistake or you accidentally delete something, most CMS's will also include version control, meaning a simple click of a button can restore the deleted content.
As previously mentioned, with the use of a CMS, you won't need a developer to update the website if you want to make changes as it will all be editable from the simple-to-use CMS. This will lead to a reduced ongoing cost as making changes to your site will be free of cost.
Some CMS's come with generous free tiers, and some are completely open source meaning 0 monthly payments (apart from server usage fees), however some CMS's come with a hefty monthly fee.
The types of CMS's available
There are three types of CMS available for use:
1. Open source
Open source CMS's are completely open to the public, with the source code viewable by anyone. These are free (server hosting will still incur a cost) applications such as WordPress and Joomla.
Proprietary CMS's are developed and licensed out by companies and are usually charged on a monthly fixed fee or by monthly usage. An example of these being Adobe EMS.
Headless CMS's can be open source or proprietary, usually the latter. They do not include a frontend ui as WordPress does, however include an API to access the content. This means that the consumer of the data (a website, application or IoT device etc) can easily access the data, without needing a separate CMS for each consumer.
Some examples of headless CMS's include Strapi, Sanity and Storyblok. Headless CMS's are what we use at NPK Media when developing a website.
Choosing a CMS for your use-case
When having a website designed and developed, it is vital that you have the correct type used.
If you are expecting to grow substantially, it is advised that you utilise a CMS which can be easily scaled to accommodate for high traffic spikes and increased usage.
As we use headless CMS's when developing websites, you can rest assured that scalability is covered - By using a content delivery network (CDN), the content from your CMS is cached in edge locations, meaning it is not queried for every user request (this means it will handle scaling very easily).
Keeping your data secure is vital - you don't want any nefarious actors accessing and changing or deleting your websites content. WordPress is so widely used, with many plugins needing continual security updates that it has become a main target of hackers.
A headless CMS greatly reduces this risk as it will be completely decoupled from the main website on which you're serving content from, greatly reducing the available attack vectors.
If you're requiring your website to integrate with numerous services, it's vital that your CMS allows for simple integrations - you don't want to be 6 months into a new CMS only to find out it can't do something that you need urgently.
Most modern CMS's allow for simple integrations to automate processes such as stock-keeping, CRM links etc.
Companies utilising a CMS to improve workflow
You've probably heard of Amazon unless you've been living in a cave.
Amazon utilises a proprietary CMS to manage all of the content on the e-commerce side of their website. It is able to handle millions of products, reviews, recommendations, stock levels, shipping details etc.
Without a CMS, managing all of the data flowing through the e-commerce platform would become a nightmare.
New York Times
The New York Times is another example of a company which utilises a CMS in order to allow for all of the publishers to easily edit and publish articles on a daily basis.
World Wildlife Fund
Another example of an organisation which utilises a CMS in order to handle content updates for articles and page content is the WWF. By using a CMS to manage their content, the WWF has greatly improved the flexibility in which it servers content to users.
What to take away from this post
A CMS is a very powerful tool that can assist you in streamlining your content creation process by reducing costs and improving flexibility without requiring technical knowledge of website programming languages.
Thinking about getting a website designed and developed for your business?
We're experts in developing sites that utilise headless CMS's. Drop us a message using the form below, or get in touch by calling us now to discuss your requirements.