What does Content Management System (CMS) mean?
Software that is used to display, create, publish, and maintain content on the World Wide Web from one single administration tool or interface. When used in online retailing, the CMS will be used to manage the product catalogue of a store. WordPress is the most popular CMS in use on the web, but there are others such as Drupal, Joomla, and even Magento, which is great for ecommerce businesses.
A content management system will organize and store files, and provide access to their data that is version controlled. There are many different content management systems, some being relatively simple and others being complex and powerful. Usually included in a content management system are the features of format management, web-based publishing, indexing, revision control, search, and retrieval.
As with anything else, content management systems come with pros and cons, which are as follows:
- Design has been separated from content. The separation of content and design is perhaps the greatest benefit to using a content management system. Because design and functionality are separated, anyone can add, edit modify and format documents in a CMS without having any technical knowledge whatsoever.
- Ability to set access permissions. In any good CMS, the administrator has the ability to set access privileges for each user. This means you can allow some users to add and edit content, others to be able to actually publish the content, and still others might have universal access. This ability to segment users adds security by restricting access for certain users.
- Updating a site that uses a CMS is quick and effortless. As CMS design has evolved it has become increasingly easy to modify even the design elements of the site by simply moving or updating footer, header and widget areas.
- SEO friendly. All major CMSs are SEO friendly, which allows them to include metadata, custom page titles, and even adjustable URLs. Most also have a great number of third-party plugins that are available to improve the optimization of your site.
- All of the popular CMS options are free, at least for the basic framework. You may pay extra for specialized themes or for some plugins, but in general you can use any of the most popular CMS systems completely free.
- Because so many websites use the popular CMS systems, they have become a target for hackers who are always looking for ways to break into the platform for their own nefarious purposes. This risk can be mitigated by keeping your CMS and all plugins and themes updated, and by using login protections such as two-factor authentication.
- While the themes have become increasingly powerful in terms of what can be done without any coding knowledge, you still might run into issues getting your site to display exactly the way you’d like. A bit of knowledge about html, css and php can get you past this issue, as can hiring an experienced web design professional.
- The way that most CMS platforms have been designed can lead to some speed issues and lagging sites, but this can often be solved by using a good caching plugin.
- While there are thousands of third-party plugins available for popular CMS platforms, there may not be one that provides the functionality you need. You may be able to hire a programmer to create a custom plugin for your site that adds this functionality, but its best to check into this before starting out with any particular CMS platform.