A Content Management System (CMS) is a suite of tools used to make updating and managing a website easier. It provides a platform for organizing, editing, and publishing content, as well as a range of other features such as user accounts, media libraries, and data analytics tracking.
At its core, a CMS enables users to add, edit, and delete content on their website with ease, improving data accuracy and control. This makes it a valuable addition to any website; after all, in a digital landscape as fast-paced as the one we live in, having the ability to easily update content is essential.
A CMS is different from other services like web hosting and SEO, as it’s used to actively manage a website’s content. It’s the software that brings each element from the server onto the web page, allowing it to be updated.
When deciding on a CMS, the most important factor to consider is the size and scope of your website. For example, if you have a small web presence, you’ll only need a basic CMS with basic features. On the other hand, if you require a larger and more complex website, you’ll need a premium solution that’s more elaborate and tailored to your needs.
The most popular CMSs are WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal. WordPress is a great choice for those with basic needs, providing features like media library, user accounts, and search engine optimization built right into the platform. However, if you’re looking for more complex features, Joomla! and Drupal might be better suited to your needs.
When it comes to the technical side of things, it’s important to be familiar with HTML and CSS, as this will help you customize your website to your needs. Additionally, having a good understanding of the different features offered by a CMS can also be beneficial.
The most successful websites tend to feature both CMS-managed content and non-CMS content. A good example of this is a blog - where users can post content directly, but also have the ability to make changes to the rest of their website through the CMS.
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Before getting started, it’s important to remember the four best practices for CMS implementation:
1. Plan Ahead. Take the time to create a plan and a strategy for your website. This includes researching the different CMSs available, setting up a timeline for implementation, and deciding on standards for different elements of the website.
2. Familiarize Yourself. Before you start making changes, make sure you’re familiar with the CMS you’re using, as well as the features it offers. This will ensure you get the most out of your CMS.
3. Test First. Don’t jump straight into making changes without testing them first on a test server. This will help to ensure the changes you’re making won’t put your live website at risk and will also save you time and money in the long run.
4. Documentation. Make sure you keep track of any changes you make and ensure all of them are documented somewhere. This will allow you to roll back to a previous version if something goes wrong.
Once you’ve got to grips with the best practices for CMS implementation, the next step is to create a workflow – a sequence of tasks that will guide the implementation and content management phases.
Your workflow should include the tasks and steps necessary for content creation, user management, and the publishing of content. This will include tasks such as content editing, template customization, media asset manipulation, proofreading, and analytics tracking.