What is a CMS Content Management System?
A CMS Content Management System is simply a software programme or framework that allows the user add elements such as written content or text and photos or images or videos in to a website platform – think of the content as furniture. So the CMS platform is much like an IKEA house, where it can be assembled from kit elements, ready for the content or furniture to be added. It also allows widgets or plugins to be added, to allow for extra functionality, such as a contact form or an ecommerce engine or a booking engine for tickets. The CMS will allow you have multiple users and even different permissions for these users.
The most popular CMS Content Management System, must be WordPress or Joomla or Drupal. All three are Open Source and can have added plugins and extensions to do things like have a dynamic calendar or 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 considerable time required to learn already. Much like building a house, you can hire a contractor or DIY it yourself.
Any other CMS is likely to have limitations or restrictions, especially Squarespace, Weebly or Wix or any other proprietary CMS, as in something that is not Open Source. Building a website on one of these is like building a house on the back of someone’s 40 foot truck. It makes no long term sense, even if it seems like an easy low cost option at the start. And they are low cost, easy to use options, but they are an ‘easy’ option when making a decision and having no real understanding.
What do you get in a CMS from a developer?
The standard CMS typically gives a business everything it needs, including:
- Content Management System – This ‘CMS’ package is powered by simple to use software which allows you make changes to your websites content, imagery, navigations, videos, maps, Search Engine Optimisation, SMO, etc.
- Website Template – Every website needs to have a look that best suits your 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. Cost of template is dependent on time required for designer. Themes are available from Themeforest and many other companies. Ensure you pick a newer one with a recent version.
- SEO Tools – The CMS comes with a Search Engine Tool, allowing you to optimize each of your web pages keeping you competitive in terms of Google, Yahoo etc. A website is not just for show, you will need customers to find your business listed on search engines. With a CMS you are given all of the means necessary to do so. A website without SEO will not be seen by Search Engines.
- Unlimited Web pages – The CMS is capable of storing unlimited web pages helping your website grow with your business. If your business needs this facility this package is perfect as the website will run on the internet quickly whether it has 1 or 1000 pages.
- Content Entry – While this solution is completely customizable, we input content provided by you as a first draft and you start editing from there. The developer will typically do the first 10 pages for you or whatever is agreed.
- Attachment Downloads – Each Web page has a facility for attachments allowing visitors to the website download files. Attachments can be added, edited and deleted at your discretion on every web page.
- Image Gallery – Every web page has a gallery assigned to it, allowing you to display your projects, goods etc. Like the content entry, you can add as many images to your gallery as you wish.
- Google Maps – Your website can contain Google Maps, which can also be added 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 an easy to use 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.
- Flash Manager – The built in flash gallery allows you to upload and 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 and add them to your web pages while also 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 are unable to view your latest changes until you allow them to do so. You are in control in every way.
- Email Accounts – Email is essential for every business; with this package you will get an email account or forwarder.
- Query Form – The CMS comes equipped with a standard contact form which can be submitted by customers and is delivered directly to an email address of your preference. These details are not stored on mailing lists, the forms sole purpose is to allow customers contact you with a query and leave a contact detail for you to get back to them. It helps you gather customer contact info and opinion/queries. Other Forms are billable and depend on time needed to create.
- Video Tutorial – video narrated tutorials are available online to help you use the content management system.
- Website Statistics – Once your website is up and running you will want to know who was on your website, what they were looking at and how they came to be on your website. This will be provided to you with our CMS Managed Website Solutions as we register you with Google for Analytics.
- Hosting – Basic Hosting runs from €5 to €10 a month and upwards depending on quality and reliability. This allows you host your website files on a web server, so that it can be found on the internet. The files all have to be stored somewhere safe and accessible, in the shortest amount of time as possible.
This ‘CMS’ solution is ideal for any Client who wants a quality web presence that they can edit without the need for an ongoing ‘IT’ person or ‘Webmaster’. It is a tool for Non Techs as 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
You can get any number of plugins, for WordPress or Joomla to add functionality, but be aware that they do make your site bigger and can make it slower, plus they can add a security risk. Plugins must be kept updated and they all have to work well with each other. Sometimes one can conflict with another. Many are untested before they go on sale. Most hacked sites 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, but if you get someone else to develop it for you, make sure that you get the Admin or Administrator rights. This just ensures that you retain control, rather than any developer or designer.