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CMS Content Management System

by | Last updated: Dec 6, 2022

What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

MEANit-Accountant-WebsitesA CMS or Content Management System is a software program or framework that allows the user to add elements such as written content or text and photos or images or videos into a website platform – think of the content as furniture. The platform is like an IKEA house.

The core functions of a CMS are to easily search, index, and recover content from a site and adjust the formatting of management tools. It also helps to utilize features to update and revise content and publish new content. You can assemble this from kit elements and enable content or furniture to add to a site. A CMS also allows you to add widgets or plugins, to allow for extra functionality. Examples of this would be a contact form or an e-commerce engine, or a booking engine for tickets. The CMS allows you to have multiple users and even different permissions for these users.

The most popular CMS Content Management Systems are WordPress, Joomla, or DrupalAll three are Open Source. WordPress is more for the small to medium-size business market. Joomla or Drupal are more for a slightly bigger or enterprise business market. Joomla resembles a portal or community-type site. WordPress is a simple blog tool.

Alongside this, they incorporate added plugins and extensions to include things like a dynamic calendar, take online bookings, sell tickets, or have great photo galleries. You can set the CMS up or get a developer to do it for you. The difference is that either you learn how to do it yourself or you pay someone who has invested the time required to learn. Much like building a house, you can hire a contractor or DIY it yourself.

Any other CMS is likely to have limitations or restrictions. Examples of this would be Squarespace, Weebly or Wix, or any other proprietary CMS, as in something other than an Open Source. Building a website on one of these is like building a house on the back of someone’s 40-foot truck. It does not make any long-term sense, even if it seems like an easy low-cost option at the start. They are low-cost, easy-to-use options, but they are not the most beneficial option when making a business decision and having little understanding.

What do you get in a CMS from a developer?

GCFS-Gwen-Clarke-Financial-Services-KildareThe standard CMS gives a business everything it needs, including:

    • Content Management System – This ‘CMS’ package gains power from software that allows you to make changes to your website’s content. It can also alter imagery, navigations, add videos, maps, and add plugins for Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Marketing, etc.
    • Website Template – Every website needs to have a look that best suits a company brand. There are FREE and premium templates or themes for you to choose from. If your company has a unique design and brand required for the website, you can create this in the solution. The cost of the template is dependent on the amount of time required for the designer. Off the shelf Design Themes are available from Themeforest and many other companies. Ensure you pick a newer one with a recent version. 
    • Note: These one size fits all themes will come with lots of elements and content, so you will need to strip out any bloat that you do not need.
    • SEO Tools – The CMS comes with a Search Engine Tool option such as Yoast which is FREE. This allows you to optimize each of your web pages, which keeps you competitive in terms of Google, Bing, etc. A website is not only for show. You need customers to find your business listed on search engines, in a search of relevant keywords or terms. A CMS enables you to have all of the means necessary to do so. A website without any optimising or Search Engine Optimisation will generate less traffic from Search Engines.
    • Unlimited Web pages – The CMS is capable of storing almost unlimited web pages, which helps your website grow with your business. If your business needs this type of bandwidth, this package is perfect. The website will run on the internet quickly, whether it has 1 or 1000 pages.
    • Content Entry – This solution is completely customizable. However, we input content, such as photos and videos provided by you, as a first draft, and then you start to edit your website from there. The developer will typically do the first 10 pages for you or whatever you agree upon. With a little bit of training pretty much anyone can add pages or posts, along with text or images.
    • Attachment Downloads – Each Web page has a facility for attachments allowing visitors to the website to download files. You have the discretion to add, edit, and delete attachments on every web page. For example a downloadable guide to web design or a manual for a power tool. Although personally we recommend you forget about adding ‘gated content’ or downloadable pdfs and simple put the content on a page where you can edit and optimise it. Many people use the downloadable pdf as a ‘Lead Generator’ given away when someone agrees to enter their name and email address.
    • Image Gallery – Every web page has a gallery assigned to it. This allows you to display your projects, goods, etc. Like the content entry, you can add as many images to your gallery as you wish. They do need to be resized to under 100kb usually and properly named.
    • Google Maps – Your website can contain Google Maps, which you can add to any web page. The Google Maps feature allows you to help customers locate you, locate your projects, or locate conference locations, etc. It is also easy to use the copy & paste tool.
    • YouTube – Your website can contain YouTube content that you have the power to embed on each of your web pages. Video is a great way of demonstrating your product or service to your customers. Storing video directly within your website will slow the site down, so we recommend using Youtube or Vimeo.
    • Flash Manager – The built-in flash gallery allows you to upload. It also allows you to add as many animated documents to your web pages as you require.
    • Image Manager – Sometimes one image can explain so much more than a lot of content. The image manager allows you to easily store your images. It can also add them to your web pages while allowing for linking to other areas of the website or other sites.
    • Preview Mode – The CMS allows you to make changes to the website not yet ready for the public’s eye. Preview mode allows you to view the website with the new content while the public is unable to view your latest changes.  You can also change these settings at any time. You are in control in every way. 
    • Email Accounts – Email is essential for every business, and with most packages, you will get an email account or forwarder from your developers, which they set up on your hosting. However we recommend you set your email up with M365 Outlook or GSuite. 
    • Query Form – The CMS comes equipped with a standard contact form. Customers can submit this and it will be delivered directly to an email address of your preference. Mailing lists do not store these details. The form’s sole purpose is to allow customers to contact you with a query. It also leaves a contact detail for you to get back to them. It helps you gather customer contact info and opinion/queries. Other Forms can be bought as plugins, to give a better experience, they are billable and depend on the time needed by your developers to create what you want. 
    • Video Tutorial – Video narrated tutorials are usually available online, probably via Youtube to help you use the content management system.
    • Website Statistics – Once your website is up and running, you will want to figure out who was on your website, what they were looking at, and what source led them to your website. This can be provided to you with your CMS Managed Website Solution as your developers can register you with Google for Analytics or set up GA4.
    • Hosting – Basic Hosting runs from €5 to €10 a month and upwards depending on quality and reliability. This allows you to host your website files on a web server, so that they can be found on the internet 24/7/365. The files have to be stored somewhere safe and accessible, and found in the shortest amount of time possible, during a search. Note: Any hosting service that you can get for less than €10 a month, is probably going to be very basic, slow or hard to configure, or has minimal customer support.
    • Commerce – A CMS helps to connect your marketing endeavors to a digital commerce system, using an extension such as WooCommerce. As a result, this tracks your customer journey through buying your product or service.
    • Multilingual Support – Your website can reach a larger consumer base if it can be converted into different languages. For example, it is important to make sure your website can accurately adapt to cultural translations.

This ‘CMS’ solution is ideal for any Client who wants a quality web presence they can edit without the need for an ongoing ‘IT’ person or ‘Webmaster’. It is a tool for non-Techs because no coding is required and only basic computer skills are needed. The CMS can be upscaled to include an eCommerce module or plugin at any time.

Plugins and Extensions

Website Design WordPressYou can get any number of plugins for WordPress or Joomla to add functionality. However, when you make your site bigger, it can load slower, plus it can add a security risk. In order for plugins to work well with each other, they should be updated regularly. Sometimes one can conflict with another. Many are untested before they go on sale. Most sites that are compromised get hacked because they or their plugins are not kept up to date.


WordPress or Joomla – Which is the best CMS?  – Click HERE 

NB: By all means use one of these CMS when building your website. However, if you get someone else to develop it for you, make sure to get the Admin or Administrator rights. This just ensures that you retain control, rather than any developer or designer.

Tip: Likewise, ensure that your domain name www.myname.com and your hosting are both in your name and on your credit card.

About The Author

Do you want more traffic?

Hi, at MEANit we help 34 ‘Professional Services Firms‘ to be effective online annually. Will your business be one of the 34 in 2024?


Written by Michael MacGinty

Michael is a well known speaker, author and coach on SEO and how to use the web to grow a business. He is also WP Elevation certified as a Digital Business Consultant.
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