What is a CMS & Why Should I Use One?

In today’s modern world your business can’t succeed without a good website. More business is done online today than ever before and continues to increase every year. But managing and editing a website can be confusing, time-consuming, and above all else, costly as well. CMS’s have changed the way websites and content are edited and managed. Using a CMS has made it easier for users to take control of their own websites without having to pay for the services of a full-time web developer.  Anyone from small business owners to large corporations can benefit from using a CMS. In this article, we cover in more detail what CMS’s are and why you should use one.

What Is A CMS?

A CMS, or content management system, is software that helps individuals create, manage, and edit the content on their website without advanced programming knowledge. This software eliminates the need for any coding or programming expertise which saves businesses time and money. They also organize your content using templates into user-friendly formats, breaking down the different parts of each page. Your site content is stored within the CMS where you may grant multiple administrators access and editing power to collaboratively update your website.

How Do They Work?

CMS’s are designed for simplicity and ease of use. Whoever created your website can build the site into the system where you then will have full control to update, edit, add, or even delete the content as you see fit. Performing work in a CMS is as easy as typing and making changes in a word document and will be formatted in a way that avoids any confusion as to what changes you’re making. 

Why Should You Use One?

 

No Need For Coding Knowledge

Coding language can be confusing and challenging for most website administrators to understand.  Learning the traditional HTML and CSS coding language takes time and can lead to more problems if you plan to make changes to your website in the future. Below is an example of a small section of the HTML source code taken from our own WebFX homepage

 

As you can see, it’s easy to get lost in the mess of tags and computer language.  With a CMS, what you see is what you get. So what you type into the software is exactly what will appear on your website. When you use a CMS there’s no need to understand HTML or CSS language such as that pictured above. Below is a screenshot of the popular CMS, WordPress, showing how easy and organized using a CMS is.

 

Manage Your Website On Your Own Schedule

If a third party company designed and/or created your website then chances are you have to go through them to make any edits.  This takes precious time away from your work schedule and can cause delays when trying to implement new updates to your site. With a CMS you can have full control of the ability to make changes to your site and eliminates the need for a third-party host.

On top of saving you time, this will also save you money by eliminating the need to hire a developer or pay for the services of a web development company. With a CMS you can effectively control not only when you make changes to your website but also who. With most systems you can create accounts and assign roles to different users, allowing you to grant editing access to any users as you see fit. This is a great way to stimulate group collaboration or updates on content, pages, blog posts, etc. This can also help disperse work so that no one person gets burdened managing your entire website.

Improve Management Efficiency

Time is money and nothing makes managing your website faster than a CMS. As previously mentioned, managing your site through a third party developer can lead to unforeseen delays. Time delays such as these pose serious problems for businesses who update frequently or businesses where every second matters. 

With traditional HTML websites, you have to manually go through and change each page one-by-one as well as format the site’s CSS accordingly to fit any changes you’ve made. With a CMS, this process is much faster and easier with the use of pre-built formatting templates. These templates allow you to quickly insert images, content, videos or update existing pages in a matter of minutes.

Regular Updates

Any decent CMS will provide its users with different tools and settings to help further their website or website design. These CMS’s will also regularly update to stay on top of developing internet trends as well as come with a support team to help guide you through any functions that you have questions about. CMS’s also prove effective when redesigning your website. This is because in most CMS’s the design and content are separate from one another. This allows you to change site designs without interruption to the existing content.

Including Marketing Opportunities

Optimizing websites through SEO is a major topic in the business world today. With HTML sites it can be confusing how to optimize your website for SEO purposes. Most CMS’s, however, provide users with SEO tools and guidance on how to best optimize their site to drive traffic and conversions. 

Additionally, many will provide other digital marketing tools alongside their SEO benefits such as social media marketing, blogging, and email marketing. All of these will help you build a more effective website for your users.

Easily Preview Your Work

Possibly the greatest advantage that most CMS’s have over HTML/CSS sites is the ability to preview. Previewing your website gives you the ability to see what any changes, edits, or updates you may have made will look like before actually publishing them. This allows you to spot any potential errors or flaws in your content before having it go live on your site. The “what you see is what you get” mantra for CMS’s lets you see exactly what your site users will see as you’re making changes.

In HTML and CSS, previewing what edit to a site may look like is difficult. Often time’s flaws and mistakes in HTML aren’t spotted until they’re live on the site. Even when you find a problem then you have to open your website’s coding once again and find the line of code causing the issues. On more developed sites and pages this is the digital version of finding a needle in a haystack. 

 

CMS’s are designed to make your life easier by removing the stress and uncertainty of website management and maintenance. The benefits of using a CMS are numerous and their return on investment typically more than pays for itself. There are many different options of CMS’s available today, many are even free or offer free trials. There’s a CMS for all different kinds of business structures, industries, and business needs. 

Not sure what CMS is the right fit for you or your website? Want tips and advice on how to evaluate the right CMS? Read our article here on our experience with different CMS’s or contact us for assistance in determining what CMS is the right fit for you.

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