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what is content management system CMS

Wouldn’t it be great, if you can edit your website without any coding knowledge and without the help from your webmaster? Yes, such cost-effective platforms exist and are easy to integrate with a very little experience and training.

Hiring web developers in North America for the odd jobs is expensive. As a small business owner, stretching your marketing budget to maintain your website can be a very challenging task.

Choosing the best Content Management System (CMS), will lower the cost and increase the site’s productivity.

Engaging content attracts web visitors and adds good SEO value to your website. Constantly creating, editing and updating content should be a focus of your content management strategy. You should not be worried about the cost and methods to add fresh content to your site. Therefore, regularly managing the digital content should be cheap, fast and easy.

So the important question is…

What is the Content Management System or CMS?

Content Management System is a software that allows you to create, organize, edit, manage and publish data, information and content on the web. Since it is mostly used for the web publishing, in this blog we will focus more on that particular application. 

The content management system also serves as a platform for the developers to add functionalities and design to the website. The best content management tools will have an easy user interface that allows multiple users to publish content in the most cost-effective way possible.

Many CMS platforms are free and based on PHP and MySQL. Open source CMS such as WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Ghost, Typo3, Magento, Microweber is popular and cheaper than the proprietary CMS. It makes a huge difference whether you choose the open source CMS or proprietary system. Learning the difference will lower the cost and increase the benefits in both private sectors as well as government projects. 

Open Source CMS: When the community of developers from around the world collaborate to create and maintain the system, it is known as the open source system. The global community of developers who are constantly working to improve the CMS platform is responsible for developing, maintaining and frequently updating the open source CMS. Since there are a lot of people working together to improve the CMS, a lot of resources and applications are easily available free of charge.

Open source CMS is updated frequently with new features, improved functionality and security. As a small business owner, you do not have to worry about your website security if you choose the right CMS platforms and plugins to safeguard your site. The best open source CMS will have an easy user interface, many free features, optimized for performance & speed, and big community behind it.

If your website is backed up with a strong content management system, it will provide a competitive advantage over your competitors. New promotions, offers, blogs and news can be readily shared with your users in an extremely short period of time. In addition to learning how to write SEO friendly blogs and articles for your website, you must also have a user-friendly system to post them on your website. Since SEO is an integral part of the website, the best CMS will allow you to optimize your content for the search engine like Google, Bing & Yahoo. You can also add additional SEO plugins to further enhance your SEO score.

Proprietary CMS: When a developer builds and manage their own in-house CMS it is known as proprietary CMS. They are closed source platform that restricts 3rd party access to the source code. A proprietary CMS is a paid software and usually charge the monthly fees. They have a limited community and resources as compared to the open source system.    

The 3 most popular open source CMS that are licensed under GPL are

WordPress: WordPress started as a blogging platform has emerged into the full-scale business and eCommerce platform. Although it is based on PHP scripts, the users do not require any coding experience to install, edit and manage the template. There are thousands of WordPress themes both free and paid version for all sectors and industries. You can build a simple business website in WordPress for free.

WordPress has a market share of 58.4% with more than 75 millions websites. The most powerful aspect of WordPress is the size of its web developers community. As a result, there are more than 50 thousand free plugins and 3000+ free themes available as of 2018. As a small business owner, each and every features and functionality you can think of (on your website) are freely available through WordPress. For example, if you need an events-calendar, you can easily install and activate free plugins and start showing your events to your web visitors.

Drupal: Drupal is a much more complex system than WordPress. Based on your project complexity sometimes WordPress is not enough to do the job properly. The powerful features and functionality of Drupal can handle the larger volume of content and require more technical experience than WordPress. Just like the WordPress plugins, it has modules to add additional functionality to the website.   

Drupal has a market share of 4.8% with 25 million downloads and 1.1 million websites running on it. It has 26K+ free modules and 2000+ free themes. Just like WordPress, it is a free and open source CMS. You will require a higher technical expertise than WordPress to manage sites on Drupal CMS. If you are a newbie and not a web developer, it is a challenging task to build a website on Drupal. You must have a working knowledge of PHP and HTML to get the most out of this platform.

Joomla: It is the 2nd most popular CMS after WordPress with 75+ million downloads. Joomla is preferred for the well organized and complex web projects. The dynamic admin interface is detail-oriented and extremely user-friendly to manage the large volume of web content. The management of Joomla platform requires an intermediate level of web experience and it is relatively harder to manage than the WordPress. Although there are millions of users and a huge community behind the Joomla platform, finding Joomla expert can be difficult and more expensive than the WordPress developers.

If you are building a multilingual site, Joomla offers readily available options to translate your content. It is a great platform to manage your eCommerce products and content. However, it is not highly recommended for the blogging sites.

Support & Documentation: The support and documentation are the prominent features of any high ranking CMS software. Failure to provide user-friendly documentation can discourage the web developers from using the CMS platform. Therefore thorough and coherent documentation with the functional demo can steer the web developers into the right direction. Always check the documentation and how well you understand them before deciding on the best CMS platform for your next web design & development project