If you were to simply ask the question- What is a content management system (CMS), I would simply reply that a Content Management System (CMS) is a tool used for building websites and managing web content. It facilitates a set of integrated tools to allow tech-savvy as well as non-technical web publishers to create, manage and maintain content on a website. As the name suggests, Content Management is a system wherein a large amount of information about a product, service, topic or a field is created, curated, managed and finally published on the website.
What is a CMS platform and why did we need it in the first place?
With the growth of the internet, managing online information became essential. One could no longer publish information manually. Moreover, assessing, revising and updating this information gained prominence since content consumers such as customers and even search engines could access the most up-to-date WordPress version of the same. So, in a bid to meet the needs of organizations having a growing online presence, deploying a system that managed online content became necessary. Some of the major advantages offered by a CMS are:
- Ease of content creation as well as editing for all kinds of content creators
- Archiving different versions of the content
- Provision of templates for a steady output of content
- Check in and check out for distributed users of content
Now that you know what is a CMS system, let us see what roles it allows users to get into. You can take on the following roles while navigating through a CMS-
a) Owner– A user is assigned the ownership when he or she creates a web page or a folder, etc. Generally, the role applies to the user for only a particular item i.e the information stored on the item. No user can explicitly assign anyone as an owner. It is the system that does the job of assigning the role.
b) Administrator– A user is given the role of an administrator when he or she will be managing the site. As an admin, a user can add, delete or edit the content. They can also add/remove users or assign them the roles of editors, reviewers and also have the liberty to configure the site to a certain extent.
c) Editor– As an editor, a user cannot publish content to the live site. They need to submit their drafts to the Reviewer who can approve them to be published or send them back to be corrected/revised. In most cases, content writers are assigned the role of an editor when a CMS is deployed.
d) Reviewer– A Reviewer is a user with limited access. Their role is to review the content submitted by editors and decide when the content is ready to be published. This exercise brings in an element of quality control in the publishing process.
On the whole, what are the benefits of having a CMS?
So, what are content management systems capable of? As opposed to the traditional method of managing content especially where distributed teams are used, a Content Management System provides us with the following benefits-
A CMS allows businesses to update their online content quickly without the need for too much technical knowledge. Any user or a business owner with a content management system can find any information they need. This also facilitates reuse of content and consolidates the same.
A CMS optimizes and lowers costs significantly. By creating own content, businesses do no have to hire IT specialists to re-configure content from the programming point of view. Removing such intermediaries helps businesses optimize and save on unnecessary costs. Managing the content also takes less cost since it is maintained by business users and standard processes are automated. Simple tasks like archiving old pages or checking for dead links can be done transparently with the CMS. Even tedious tasks like generating navigation menus or enforcing information architecture do not require detailed technical labour or know how. Finally, when it comes to publishing, businesses can schedule content in advance without any hassles. In this way, a CMS reduces costs in its overall workflow.
A CMS provides businesses with newer ways to monetize. Since the time-to-market is considerably reduced, a CMS brings in more opportunities to make money. If the content, gets published online quickly as compared to getting published after hours or minutes, there is an opportunity to draw or attract hordes of customers especially if you are in the news making or media related business. In such cases, advertisers come flocking to such websites in search of high traffic.
Any content published on a website needs to be consistent and be aligned with the objective of the website. One such tool that helps with visual consistency is a template. A template allows CMS users to maintain a consistent look and feel, of the website and create a lasting impression on the visitor. Also, a CMS facilitates band integrity by limiting logos and layout designs with corporate facilities.
How different is a CMS as compared to traditional online information updating?
|Creating a new page||Page gets created by default. Navigation links are auto-updated and a trial link is available.||New page is a copy of an existing one. The site-map and navigational links are updated manually and standards are enhanced in an ad-hoc manner.|
|Consistency of content||Template helps in maintaining content consistency throughout the site. These templates are separated from the page content.||Content and template are tied up together and it can get difficult separating the two. Hence, developers need to interfere to determine consistency.|
|Workflow process||Workflow process reflects the process as it happens in organizations where approvals from the right stakeholders are necessary.||Workflow happens in an ad-hoc manner which is done via emails sent to different people working in the organization. This process is timestaking and error-prone.|
|Time of publishing||Content can be published or even scheduled. It is independent of the webmaster.||Content publishing is dependent on the webmaster where reconfiguration is key.|
|Legal compliances||The system maintains records of content changes and publications which helps with compliance.||In this case, compliance is handled by the team members which can be manually backed up with a log of content publications.|
A CMS enables business owners with modern tools to boost their website. Some of the most prominent CMSes being WordPress, Drupal, Joomla which are being used by some great brands worldwide. What these CMSes have done is that they have removed every major or minor bottleneck that would allow a business owner to take full control of the site. Moreover, it has also allowed faster response to customer demands, enhanced content distribution for the business and its partners and improved accessibility of content to employees. To get you started, you can avail a WordPress hosting deal to help you start building a WordPress website.
We hope that you have understood what is a Content Management System (CMS). In case you have any queries, please leave them under the comments section.