A Content Management System (CMS) is software that allows a dedicated team or group of different users to publish, edit and approve digital content. CMS technologies are used internally within business but it is also used on publicly facing websites. The main purpose of a CMS is to allow digital content to be updated by its users quickly and efficiently without any specific technical web knowledge.
Using a CMS to power your website is possibly one of the best investments that you can make in your business. Having an effective CMS tool to manage your digital content means you don't have to be technically minded to make changes to your website.
Advantages of a CMS
Having a CMS in place makes sense if you want to manage your content without the need for a external agency to make the changes for you. Traditional web development started with static pages within a site and any content changes needed to be implemented by either a web master or an individual that was capable of making HTML and CSS changes. With CMS technologies, this is no longer needed. The power to make changes to your content is done by the CMS itself.
There are lots of benefits for investing in a CMS, and these are some of them:
- Reduced barriers - The users of the system or content managers, are responsible for making changes when needed. Information and content can be updated by non-technical people
- Ideal for non-technical people - CMS technology allows the writing and publishing of content dead easy. None or very little HTML knowledge may be required.
- Changes are instant - Changes made in the CMS can be instantly available on the website.
- Support for multiple users - Multiple people within a business can make content changes without affecting each other.
- Makes site maintenance easier - Having a system manage all the content and related pages frees up the need to involve an external developer or agency to make the changes for you.
- Lower costs - No specialized development is required to add new pages or make content changes. Self managing content in long term will save you time and money.
Problems with a CMS
CMS platforms can be awesome. However, care has to be taken when the CMS is first setup and when future enhancements are made to it by developers. Often CMS platforms become problematic when there isn't any strict governance around the type of content being put in or how the developers make changes to the CMS itself.
- Can cause unnecessary bloat - Some CMS technologies put in unwanted bloat into the CSS and HTML that is hard to remove
- Can be hard to customize - Some can be hard to customize (e.g. WordPress)
- Costs can be high to customize - Some can be time consuming to add additional functionality
- Redundant code or styles can remain idle - When changes are made, it is up to the developers to ensure that any unneeded HTML and CSS is removed
Choosing a CMS
When choosing a CMS, you have to factor in your business needs, budget, scalability requirements, security model and end user requirements. There are many out there to choose from, the ones which we encourage you to look at are:
We prefer Umbraco because from our experience it has one of the quickest development cycles and it is also very easy for content editors to make content updates. It has an excellent development model and it is built on top of Microsoft's ASP.NET Platform. We encourage you to research each of the available providers, so you understand what you are getting.