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What Is a Content Management System

A Content Management system, also known as a CMS, is a platform for you to edit and manipulate the pages of your website normally without needing to edit any code (although with BluCMS editing the HTML of the pages is an option for more advanced users).

If you are unfamiliar with content management systems, doing some research before jumping in will really help you find the right one for your needs although the more popular CMS are very general these days.

What Is a Content Management System (CMS)?

What type of content management system do I need?

With so many content management systems out there, how do you know which content management system you will need?

  • are you a designer?
  • a website owner who knows some web design?
  • or are you simply looking to get a website set up and running?

As a web designer, you should be able to download a content management system and edit it to suit your needs so knowing how to code PHP, SQL, HTML and CSS (and Javascript) is essential for you.

As a website owner who knows a bit about web design, having a content management system that you are able to access some of the code (eg the page HTML) gives you a great opportunity to build and style your own pages without breaking down the core systems. This type of content management system is quite common. CMS like BluCMS, Wordpress, Joomla and some other widely used CMS will offer these features.

If your simply looking to get a website set up and live with no coding involved, BluCMS can also offer this. Other systems that will give you a similar platform are Wix and Squarespace plus allot of the larger hosting companies can provide their own systems which will give you premade templates to choose from. One major factor I have noticed with a lot of premade systems like Wix though is they are not user friendly and allot of support is needed to get the thing looking just the way you want it.

What features should a content management system have?

The features of a content management system will vary greatly depending on your needs but no matter what you need, there will be a CMS out there for you. While building BluCMS for clients, I have adapted the system to suit a huge range of different circumstances from car dealer CMS to internal CRMs.

The core features of a CMS will mostly allow you to do the following:

  • Edit the general page content
  • Optimise the page titles and tags
  • Add images to your page content
  • Add new pages
  • Add general contact details

More advanced CMS will allow you to do much more such as:

  • Add galleries and slideshows
  • Add product sets (eg clothes, cars)
  • Add sub pages of main pages
  • Add custom forms
  • Add video
  • Add music

BluCMS offer a great range of advanced features on demand and of course can be adapted to suit almost all situations.

What are the most popular content management systems?

With so many content management systems out there, finding a popular CMS is easy! So what are the most popular content management systems?

Wordpress - It is now said that almost 35+% of ALL websites are powered by Wordpress. This is AMAZING! Wordpress is free to use open source software that anyone can download and install on a server. Infact, Wordpress is built in to allot of hosting companies systems as an install option right off the bat, comes with thousands upon thousands of plugins ready to install for all manner of things - if you've been using the internet for more than a day doing general browsing like reading blogs or shopping, chances are you have already used a wordpress website without knowing it (you probably thought as well, this website is taking ages to load! lol). This might sound great but Wordpress has its flaws; some of them are major. I have had a lot of clients come to me from designers who have used Wordpress as the content management system of choice and it has been their downfall. Mostly people who have came to me from a company who were using Wordpress have complained about seriously slow loading times (I've seen pages of up to 25 seconds loading times), broken updates, hacked pages, insecure forms, easy SQL injections etc.. and the designer not being able to fix the broken elements, then the designer disappears off the face of the planet and leaves you in the lurch with a broken website! This is a very common complaint as most of the elements that break are not made by the designer who has added them to the site so they don't know how the plugins worked in the first place. The monthly update happens, the site goes down and you lose business, money and faith in the the whole CMS idea! Not all wordpress stories are bad though.

Joomla - Also a free to use CMS that has been on the go since before the dinosaurs walked the earth (JK!). Not as popular as Wordpress but still a very popular CMS. While I have little experience with Joomla, I do know a couple of local web design companies are using it with good results. It is very adaptable if the person building the site is a good coder. But like Wordpress, if anything goes wrong, fixing it can be a minefield of ongoing security and plugin problems.

BluCMS (made by me) - I am biased of course. I made BluCMS to help local small businesses get online and have a content management system that they can use without fear. Granted I have not won any awards, but then again, I have never put my self forward for any. The reward for me is knowing that my content management system has been built to make peoples websites easy to manage, attractive and very profitable.

Should I build my own Content Management System?

If your a web designer with good coding skills and asking your self if you should build your own content management system? my answer to you is YES DO IT NOW! Imagine having your own CMS that can be adapted on demand for the most common situations. If you build your own content management system, right from the start the system will grow each day to something you never expected! One day it will be a simple 1 page editor, the next day you will be able to add more pages and so it will be instantly and quickly a full basic website CMS. Next, when your making peoples websites and in conversation they ask "What Is a Content Management System?" you can show them your shiny new CMS with pride and confidence!

You'll soon get people using it and you'll be asked to add things that people actually want like product sections. Adding this will not only allow you to add products, but allow you to add ANY type of content - a product can be shoes or cars or rabbits or cups (you get the point). Remember though, if you do decide to build your own CMS, you are not building it for you, you are building it for the end user, so keep it adaptable to each person's abilities. The company that asks you for some super duper complicated databasing system to manage there companies books, stock and customers might not have anyone in house who can actually work a PC like you do, so keep it just under the ability level of your client and they WILL use the system without nagging you for support. When they get better and more used to your CMS, add new toys to their systems.

In conclusion

So to sum up, What Is a Content Management System? A CMS is not simply a text editor that gives you the ability to edit text onĀ  your web pages. A content management system can be anything from a simple text editor, to a full on business management system with the built in ability to edit pages and every aspect of a website in between - your CMS is what your next customer wants it to be and no more.

Please feel free to get in touch if you have any questions about this blog post on What Is a Content Management System or you can of course link back to it which would be really appreciated.

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