The world depends on websites and technology to operate. We use apps to check in for flights, start blogs to express our thoughts, and build websites to open e-commerce businesses.
Many of these sites depend on a content management system (CMS) to operate. It’s essential to have a simple way to manage databases, documents, and files.
The truth is that you don’t really care about that stuff. You just want a simple way to create and use these things without having to learn how to program a complicated language.
What is a content management system and how does it work? Read on to learn all about content management systems in this guide.
What Is a Content Management System?
A content management system is what makes building a website easy. Instead of looking at thousands of lines of code to build and edit a website, you have an easy-to-use graphic user interface.
The interface connects to the necessary databases that hold images, files, and code. What does that mean for you? You can build a website. On your own. Really.
All you see is a “What you see is what you get” editor. The changes that you make in the editor go right to the databases, which then get rendered into changes on your website.
The CMS lets you assign roles and administrators, upload files, and format content.
A content management system is used in a wide variety of applications. An enterprise content management system is an enterprise-wide CMS to meet the demands of a large company.
Think of a large corporation and the number of documents, contracts, files, and images the company uses on a given day. That’s for thousands of employees spread around the world.
An enterprise CMS is a centralized database that gives everyone access to files and documents. That makes the entire team more efficient.
Popular CMS Examples
What does a CMS look like in action? There’s a good chance that you’ve used a content management system and don’t know it. Here are some CMS examples that may seem familiar to you.
The most common CMS is WordPress. This is what people think of when they think of building a website. That’s because WordPress is used to create almost 40% of all websites.
It’s an open-source platform that has a huge developer community. It’s run by Automattic, which makes money from other software subscriptions. Many of them are WordPress plugins.
SonicJs is a nodejs headless CMS. It’s an open-source CMS that combines the best of Drupal and WordPress into a neat package. It’s designed with developers in mind, and it enables them to build enterprise apps, websites, and more.
Drupal is another well-known CMS for websites. It’s not as popular as WordPress because there’s a large learning curve to use it.
You’ll see Drupal behind multi-lingual sites. It’s also used for complicated website projects, like a public library’s website.
Shopify, Wix, and Squarespace are SaaS content management systems. They reside on the cloud and they have the databases stored online.
These CMS platforms have everything you need, including hosting. They also make selling online easy because payment systems are built into the software.
These are all proprietary systems, meaning that you don’t have access to the source code. That makes customizations more challenging. These CMS platforms also charge a monthly fee.
How to Pick the Right CMS for You
Are you ready to get a content management system for your business? Which one should you choose?
It depends on your needs. Analyze what your project is and your ability to build it.
For example, if you want to build a website and you know very little about websites, you’ll be better off with a SaaS CMS. On the other hand, a developer with a major project might choose a headless CMS.
You also want to look at the ease of use, no matter how skilled you are. Even the most talented developers want to have a tool that can do things faster.
There’s nothing like free software.
Even though Drupal and WordPress are open-source and free, it doesn’t mean that they’re free to use. You still have to pay for hosting.
You might have to pay for plugins to have added functionality that WordPress has right out of the box.
With ecommerce platforms, you have to be aware of the payment fees. Platforms will take about 2.5% + $.30 of each transaction.
Add up all of those costs to find out what is the best case for you.
Open-source platforms are supported by developers who use the platform. They make improvements and share them to make the entire community better. These developers also help you resolve any issues you have with the platform.
If you go with a proprietary platform, you’ll find a smaller developer community. You’ll depend on the provider’s support team to help you solve issues. Make sure that you have 24/7 access to the support team and there are several ways to reach someone.
There’s a good chance that you need to make customizations to a given platform to meet your needs.
The reason why you want to have a large developer community support for your platform is that it’s easier to customize. WordPress has nearly 59,000 plugins available. You can easily make customizations with a simple click.
Some proprietary platforms allow you to customize, but there are limitations. You have to figure out what you can do out of the box and what customizations you’ll need.
All About CMS Software
Did you learn a lot about CMS software? You know what a content management system is, became familiar with different examples.
You also know how to pick a CMS software platform. Be sure to take a firm assessment of your needs. Research the ones that fit within your systems and budget.
Would you like more tech tips? Check out the blog for more helpful articles today!