So very often small business people ask themselves this question:
‘Should I outsource the design of my website or do it myself?’ and somehow (for the most part anyway), most end up with the former due to time constraints and limited ‘know- how’. Fortunately today managing your website yourself once it is up and running is much easier and cost effective than it used to be!
You’re probably saying to yourself; ‘Sounds great, but what kind of software allows you to manage your website content without the assistance of a web professional, saves time and the extra cost too?’ Simple. A Content Management Systems or CMS for short. In this post we will share with you the different types of CMSs in the market, the perks and faults in using the different types and much more.
But firstly let’s take a look at what Content Management Systems are all about…
What is a Content Management System?
A CMS (Content Management System) is a software tool that enables you to create, edit, and publish content on the web. There are two parts to a Content Management System, the CMA and CDA.
CMA (Content Management Author) allows anyone who is clueless about coding and HTML, to manage the content on a website without needing the technical assistance of a Webmaster.
On the other hand the CDA element uses and compiles the same info to update the site. Most CMSs’ include web-based publishing, format management, a revision control feature, index, search and retrieval.
So, why are they important?
There are various reasons why it’s important to have a content management system for your website but these are the main ones:
- Manage your own content – The great thing about any CMS is the fact that you can create content, save a draft of it and work on it anytime you desire.
- Manage your Navigation – For SEO and site interaction for your visitors, you can change the navigation of the site, restrict access to who can use it or see your work, automatically publish your content and make style changes using WYSIWYG editor.
- Improve Online Branding/Marketing – CMSs can assist in multi-channel marketing by allowing you to publish your content (Blog posts, email newsletters, promotions, etc.) on various promotional platforms (such as Facebook, Twitter, etc. ) using the built in functionality of the CMS (i.e. RSS Feeds) or via various plugins (i.e. Social share, Addthis, etc.)
- CMSs are extensive – By purchasing more plugins, your CMS can have more functions. Some plugins are actually free you just have to be careful of the source of the plugin and the fact that installing a plugin at times can unfortunately over-write some of your functions.
- Your customer service can improve – A Frequently Asked Questions section on your CMS can inform visitors on your product and services. Not over-looking your help and support forms which strengthen customer relations too.
- Mobile Optimization – Depending on the advancement of the CMS, some really good ones offer a mobile optimization function. What that enables is a tailored presentation and content for different devices .i.e. Mobile, desktop, android, tablet and related devices.
A Brief History of Content Management Systems
There’s quite a debate on who developed the first Content Management System. But one thing is certain, in the early 90’s CMSs were very structured and you had to use tags and templates for editing as there was no WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) Editor. Clients had to be very techno-savvy, if you couldn’t do any HTML, that meant you weren’t able to edit your own website. Very limiting!
But then in the early 2000’s software companies started to build Content Management Systems, as we see them today. The whole idea behind it was to enable website owners who weren’t familiar with coding to be able to perform functions such as WYSIWYG text editing, search, improved HTML, survey tools, podcasts etc…
CMSs were built for agency customers. And what agencies discovered was that they needed both technical and design skills to run successful systems. Suddenly software coders were in demand but the problem was they also needed the design aspect to it for customization.
That’s when coders and designers joined forces to come up with open-source applications such as WordPress using both coding and design. Today the market is segmented and there’s a variety of choice in software such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal and SilverStripe.
Now that we have a bit of background on the development of Content Management Systems, let’s take a look at the different types of CMSs we have in the market today.
The Different Types of CMS
WordPress – WordPress is a free and open-source blogging platform as well as content management system. It is based on PHP and MySQL which runs on a web hosting service. The app features plug-in architecture and a template system. It’s so popular that it has a staggering 60 million website under its name!
Blogger – This CMS is from none other than the web’s most popular search engine: Google. The great thing about Blogger is the fact that a blogger can have as many as 100 blogs under their account! Unlike WordPress though, Blogger cannot be installed in a web server.
Weebly – Weebly is a web-hosting service which allows the user to “drag & drop” elements while using their website builder. It’s easy to use and in no time, you will have created a customized, well put-together website.
Wix.com – Just like Weebly, Wix.com allows you to drag-and-drop elements when creating your website. This web-development platform allows users to create professional HTML websites as well as mobile sites.
Joomla – Joomla is an open source content management system which allows you to build websites with easy-to-use features. It is written in PHP for managing content on the web and uses a MySQL database to store content.
Drupal – One of the popular ones today, Drupal is a free open-source web-development platform for online content and user communities. The great thing about Drupal is the fact that it can be adapted to allow any design.
SilverStripe – SilverStripe is an open-source content management system and framework used for creating and maintaining websites and applications. It has a web-based administration panel which enables users to make changes on parts of the website and includes a WYSIWG website editor. SilverStripe uses a PHP web application framework.
There are many more FREE CMSs out there but these are the most important, on the other-hand there are still web design firms that build their own CMS’s. Here are some of pros and cons of ‘Building your own CMS’ and the ups and down of an ‘Open-source’ CMS.
Building Your Own Website CMS
- Very straightforward, having to build your own CMS means you can have system you want, that operates as you wish, and pretty much leave out any other feature you don’t need.
- Building your own CMS means you don’t have to learn any additional features or configurations about the system as you’re its builder. Therefore you can build or take away anything you desire. This can also serve as a competitive advantage as you’re the only one who operates your system.
- You can cater for every organizational function (department) and business need when self-creating a CMS. You know your business needs and therefore can supply a customized system accordingly.
- Another great thing is you know how much you have spending, unlike it you had to depend on a CMS vendor who would probably cost you an ‘arm and a leg’ for features you were unlikely to use in the first place.
- It is quite time consuming to build your own CMS.
- In the case of bugs in the code, you won’t have support to detect that could be at fault as you have built everything yourself.
- Building a CMS is not only time consuming but can take up most of your time when everything is dusted. Seeing as you must write everything yourself, it takes quite some time to develop new code. Whereas if you had a WordPress plugin, things would be much easier.
- You have to continuously keep up with ever-changing technological trends and the evolvement of your CMS. You constantly have to keep up with the crowd!
Open Source CMS’s
Firstly let’s define was an Open-source Content Management System is then see the perks and flaws in using one.An Open-Source Content Management System is one that is FREE, with a lot of Developers continually working on it to improve it!
Documentation is easy to find and there are a lot of people out there writing “how-to” posts. Generally the design and development is quite easy.
The Ups of an Open-source CMS:
- The software is free, so that’s no cost to you! The open-source software developers do not charge for their services.
- Plug-ins come in handy for that much needed function, there’s no need for custom development.
- Open-source CMSs are quite flexible. That can be set-up to do just about anything.
The Downs of using an Open-source CMS:
- It’s free. You can easily find a bug in your system and have nobody to hold accountable for your misfortune. Another thing is it takes some financial resources to properly build one up to get everything working together.
- Plug-ins come with faulty security issues. And in terms of technicalities, who do you call when it’s not working?
- Updating this kind of CMS at the back-end of your website can actually do more damage than good.
- Some of these Open-source CMSs are built this developers in mind without the consideration of those who don’t know much about coding. That’s a real downside to it.
- Plugins can also slow down the performance of your website.
Having discussed Content Management Systems, at OnDigital we firmly believe the best choice any business can make when selecting an open source CMS is to choose WordPress.Wordpress is not only easy to use, but you can access it from any computer. There is no HTML Editing or FTP Software required .i.e. Dreamweaver, Adobe. You can create blog posts, video files, image galleries and many more without the need of any new software.
But the best is Search engines love WordPress! The coding is clean and simple making it easy for search engines to crawl and index the website.You can have multiple users (administrators) on WordPress, allowing for a flexi content schedule.And the great part is you no longer have to rely on a web designer to fix every little detail on your website, you can do it all on your own!
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