What Exactly Is a Content Management System (CMS)? & How Can You Use It?

  • Website CMS

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More commonly known as CMS, a content management system can be considered as a platform through which you can easily manage a website even when you don’t have much knowledge about its back end and technical aspects.

A CMS is primarily used to create, post, and edit content files on any website that is running through a CMS.

For those of you who don’t have much knowledge of things like coding, a CMS can come in incredibly handy since it’s a tool that basically enables anyone to run a website, even when they don’t have such expertise.

In modern times, many web design services have started offering CMS based websites to their clients since they are much easier to manage for business owners who might be cash strapped to hire specialized resources to handle the website on their behalf.

A CMS allows you to primarily focus on the front end of the website, while it automates and eases out the handling of the back end tasks related to the website’s infrastructure.

From uploading images to creating content, a CMS based website is incredibly easy to handle and that’s the reason why they are becoming so popular these days.

While in this article, we’ll just talk about CMS for websites, you should know that there are a lot of other types of CMS that can be used for other purposes.

Document management is one of the other popular tasks that people are currently handling through CMS.

How Exactly Does a Content Management System Function?

If you really want to know as to how exactly does a content management system functions, then it might be a great idea to just take a look at WordPress, which is perhaps the most popular and easiest CMS globally.

So let’s say you want to write an article or a blog and upload it on your website.

Before the advent of content management systems, this was a very complex and time-consuming tasks as you were actually required to not just write the content but then also place it in a static HTML file. This file would then be required to be pulled up on a particular server you had hosting rights to.

This made things too complicated and effectively cut off a lot of aspiring business owners to create and manage websites in the digital arena.

Now, with a CMS platform, this task has become incredibly easy.

Continuing with the example of WordPress, let’s assume that you want to create the same content file.

On WordPress, you will only be required to create content and then put it on to the WordPress CMS and just press “Publish” and the content will go live on your website.

The WordPress CMS for content is very similar in its aesthetics to Microsoft Word, which most of us are familiar with, so it’s not difficult to understand for most people at all.

This is so simple that anyone can do it.

Now, if you want to add images to this piece of content that you created, you will just need to browse these media files from your system and upload them on to WordPress CMS in a very similar way to how you do the same task on most social sites.

Without a CMS platform, this task also becomes quite complex since then you would have to contact your web server for the images and then host them from there on to the website.

Apart from this, CMS like WordPress offers you both free and premium themes that you either customize yourself or get a web design service agency to do it for you. These themes allow your content to be portrayed to your incoming traffic in the way you intended to.

Considering CMS as just some sort of a backend management interface is a big mistake. CMS is holistic website management software through which anyone can create and manage top-performing websites.

Two Core Parts of a Content Management System

A typical content management system generally has two core divisions, with each one of them handling a specific task.

  • A content management application (CMA)– This is the area of the CMS where you create, upload, and edits the content. A CMA makes this task easier by making the process less complex.
  • A content delivery application (CDA)– This part of the CMS is responsible for handling all the backend related stuff in an automated, predefined mode so that when you want to place the content, the CMS aids in the storage of the content as well as ensuring that it’s available for the incoming traffic to your site.

Top Content Management Systems Globally

WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular CMS out there with a gargantuan 35.2% market share of all CMS based websites. However, other CMS platforms also exist that are also popular.

Top Content Management Systems Globally

Here you need to understand the difference between WordPress.com and WordPress.org when we refer to the word “WordPress”. The WordPress CMS is working through WordPress.org as this is the place from there is CMS is managed and made available as open-source software for anyone to use.

If you want to take a look at other popular CMS apart from WordPress, then here are some top picks:

These CMS, however, won’t be of much use to you if you have more comprehensive and complex website needs. Then you would need to look at more premium CMS which are primed to offer custom services to handle exactly such sort of large website requirements for bigger enterprises.

Types Of Websites That Can Be Built & Managed Through a CMS

You can use CMS to create any sort of website. There are definitely some niche-focused CMS primed to serve just a singular purpose like Magento, which is used only to manage eCommerce based websites.

Here’s a list of the probably type of websites you can create and manage through a CMS like WordPress.

Which Is the Best CMS Platform Among The Ones Available?

There is no definitive answer to this one since every business owner’s preferences are different. Some would prefer a certain sort of a CMS while someone else might be using an entirely different CMS for managing its own website in the same niche.

But if market shares of CMS are any good indicators on which CMS is the best of them all, then WordPress would come out on top of the list as it’s the overwhelming favorite of users the world over.

A Step By Step Process On Building a Website Through a CMS

While the steps in creating a website on CMS will vary from platform to platform, the conventional process is listed here as follows:

  • Acquire a unique domain name
  • Buy website hosting services
  • Choose a CMS & get it installed on your web server or hosting service
  • Choose a theme and tweak the settings to your preferences in the CMS to customize the site to fit your requirements.
  • Start generating articles, blogs and other types of content for your users

A word of caution here for newbies i.e. creating a CMS based website can sound easy but often times people get stuck or either choose the wrong settings that don’t exactly match their purpose. So if you don’t want to take any chances and also save time on going through the whole process yourself, you can acquire CMS based web design services and get your website developed and delivered to you within no time at all while maintaining professional quality standards.

Shah Anas

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Shah Anas Ahmed is a Hubspot certified content marketer and inbound marketing specialist with a history of helping digitally scale startups and mid-size tech companies. Shah specializes in planning and executing content marketing strategies in collaboration with SEO teams to drive revenue through out-of-the-box digital marketing strategies.

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