For those new to the world of web and graphic design, a “CMS” stands for “content management system”. These include the likes of WordPress, Drupal, Kentico, Ruby on Rails, and dozens of others. For the last decade, these systems have reigned supreme, because prior to that, all website work had to either be passed on to web administrators and developers, or someone in a company had to have decent coding knowledge.
So, the rise of the CMS has presented a whole new world that has allowed people to manage their own websites from their home or office, whether they are in New Zealand or the UK, or anywhere else.
If you are still deciding about getting a professionally crafted website, or perhaps even making one on your own, then remember that a CMS for non-developer types is a must.
- Content Management Systems create easy-to-edit systems, so that when you add a new page or article, that article automatically appears in the menu or where it is specified. Prior to the CMS, every time something was updated, one either had to manually edit the HTML, or setup specific header/footer PHP pages that could change site-wide, rather than page-by-page.
- All free systems are open-source, and have a lot of web-techs and developers contributing worldwide on a daily basis. This makes for a lot of great plugins and options.
- Some CMS have drag-and-drop web page builders, so you can visually see what your page’s layout will look like as you go. This is great for new website users.
- SEO – most CMS now have a streamlined process that allows them to be easily categorised and crawled by Google Bots. This means your website is indexed efficiently and quickly, allowing you to find more organic rankings (as long as your content is good!)
- Easily fixed: A paid CMS will have a dev-team that upgrades and maintains the system. Free open-source ones will also have people who want to create the best functionality possible, so both will never get outdated (unless you’re using some really old CMS no one has ever heard of…)
- Mobile Optimisation: This is something that for most is strictly impossible without a CMS. Some CMS use “responsive” systems, depending on what you get and how you personalise it. This allows a website to use bootstrap or another grid system to detect screen-size and shrink or re-organise to suit, so your website doesn’t disappear off screen on a mobile or iPad.
- Customer service: using online forms is easier for customers and allows them to make contact with you outside of business hours, without having to use their phone.
- Search Options: most CMS have a built-in search function, which allows users to search for things on your website. This can save them time and frustration, and makes for a more user-friendly experience.
- Easy to use: this is great for businesses where more than one person might be submitting content regularly. A CMS can take away the possibility of wrecking genuine code, as the users are only giving text-editable regions, such as for a blog post. This can all be customised, and different users can have different levels of accessibility.
- Functionality: A content management system can be as complex or simple as you want it to be, at the end of the day. If you grow your presence online, generally, a CMS can handle and expand with you.