What’s a Content Management System?

24 April 2012

What is a content management systemAs we discuss on our Website Design page, one of our most popular services come in the form of a Content Management System (CMS for short). But what is a CMS? In this post, we look into it and evaluate the pro’s and con’s of having your website built around this relatively new technology.

CMS’s aren’t that new actually. In fact, they have been around for a very long time (about the same time as the Internet itself). However, the concept of adding it to regular websites is relatively new. It certainly has only just come into fashion. With this in mind, it’s important to understand what a CMS is and how it could be implemented in your Website Design.

First, let’s talk basics. The basic structure of a website will have a set number of pages, formatted in a set fashion. It will have a navigation bar that will take to you the various locations in the website. Good practise for designers will leave the capacity for website’s code to be adaptable for future changes and developments of the website. However, it would take a designer or developer to make further changes. This isn’t a bad thing and a lot of websites are happy with this. However, with the boom of Internet searches and the importance of Search Engine Optimisation (learn more about SEO here), it had become increasingly important for websites to be constantly updated and “alive” with fresh content. This poses a difficult dilema for some small businesses, who can’t afford to keep paying website developers to change the content on their site on a regular basis. One of the alternatives, is to have the website developers include a Twitter feed or RSS feed on the website. Twitter is easy enough to update and will help to keep the website changing without the need for coding.

Twitter can only get you so far, however. google is getting ever smarter and will catch on fast if Twitter is the only thing that’s changing. Not only that, but a website that is just sitting there with outdated information isn’t doing the business, their customers or SEO any good at all. So what’s the solution? Well, as you probably have guessed, it’s CMS’s. With the use of Content Management Systems, our Website Developers can build your website around an existing framework meaning you will be able to log-in to your website and change the content using simple controls (much like you would edit text of Microsoft Word or Apple Pages). This opens up huge possibilities to customers, enabling them to create news feeds, blogs and galleries – and keep them updated themselves. All with little or no need for coding knowledge. It’s win, win.

In addition to the ability to edit the content, it also helps boost SEO simply through the way in which it is structured. But the biggest advantage of all, is that half the website is already developed. This cuts down our Website Developers time and therefore enables us to charge a lower rate to build a website. So not only is it useful, but it’s also cheaper.

What are the drawbacks then? Well, to be honest, we used to be skeptical of CMS’s on the basis of it being the ‘Easy way out” of web design. But we were wrong. Just about everything you can have on a standard website, can be done on a CMS. And since we manipulate all the website shell (or “themes”), your website will still be unique and professional (unless you have a theme you would like us to use!). Your visitors will never know your website was built on a CMS if you don’t want them to.

If you are interested in what a CMS can do for you, we’d love to help you out. We offer competitive rates for a professional and complete website solution. Simply visit our Website Design page for more information or contact us using the Contact page.