Content Management Systems (CMS) – Is a CMS the correct choice for you?

Posted on 28. Sep, 2009 by Webmaster Blog in Web Hosting Wiki

If you are new to website design, a term that you may have heard lately is “CMS”. In this article I will outline what a CMS is and list the advantages of using one.

The term “CMS” is short for Content Management System, basically a Content Management System is a piece of software used to assist its users in the process of managing website content. A Content Management System gives its users the ability to organize, control and publish a large quantity of documents, as well as other content such as images and multimedia.

A Content Management System may also offer the ability for multiple users to collaborate on the creation of documents. A Web Content Management System is similar to a Content Management System, but it differs in that it has additional features to allow easy publishing documents to websites

Web Content Management Systems are typically used for storing, controlling and publishing documentation such as news articles, operator and technical manuals, and other forms of data. A Content Management System may support any of the following features;

  • Creation and importing of documents and multimedia objects
  • Manage identities of all users and their content management privileges
  • The ability to assign roles to different content categories and types
  • The ability to track multiple versions of documents and manage merging of versions before publishing time
  • The ability to publish content to a repository to allow access to the content
  • The ability to separate the textual elements of content from the formatting elements to allow the CMS to automatically format the documents before being published. For example, set default fonts, colours, and layout

Content Management Systems are increasing in popularity as the foundation of websites today. The reasons for Content Management Systems becoming popular are numerous, but the main reason I believe is it allows new webmasters to have a website up and running in little time and more often than not requires the webmaster to perform no programming at all.

Other reasons include the many different themes freely available for common Content Management Systems, as well as modules that can extend the capabilities of a Content Management System significantly, such as add ecommerce facilities, photo galleries, guest books and much more.

There are a few drawbacks that will need to be considered before implementing a Content Management System, and these are;

  • Content Management Systems are almost always database driven, and as a result are typically slower loading than other sites, especially if many modules are in use
  • Content Management Systems typically aren’t as search engine friendly as other types of sites
  • The core system and different modules are often written by different programmers which means there are no guarantees that the coding of Content Management System or the modules installed is clean and secure

Before choosing a Content Management System you should analyse the requirements of the website, what you as the webmaster requires of the system, and most importantly what your visitors require of the site. As there is a multitude of Content Management Systems freely available you should have little trouble finding one that meets you and your visitors needs.

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