There seems to be a little confusion as to exactly what a content management system, or CMS, really is. Some people think of it as a way to deliver content to someone, while others tend to think of it as a way to create new content. The truth is, it can be both, and a lot more if used properly. Each type of CMS has a different way of being used and characteristics that make it unique. Here is a breakdown of what each of these systems can offer and how it can help you or your business.
What a Basic Content Management System Can Offer
When you first start looking at a CMS, you can expect a few different things. Most of these systems will offer your website the ability to publish content, a way to manage the format of your website and your content, a way to revise how your content appears to your viewers, some type of index that includes a search, and a way to retrieve your content for revisions or reviewing at a later point in time. The specifics that the many systems offer aside from that depend entirely on the specific ones you choose to use with your website. Each type of CMS has different rules as to how your website can be used, including the use of templates, specific formats that can be used to display your content, and the add-on options that you have.
Most people think of WordPress and Joomla first when it comes to common CMS. While these are good examples, there are many more systems out there that can be used for this type of work. Here are some systems and some of the options they offer:
WordPress: often considered the easiest place for beginners and bloggers due to the speed and simplicity of the system, thousands of templates that can be used to show off the content, and it is easy to personalize through the use of plugins.
Drupal: almost as simple for people with little CMS experience, highly customizable for uses other than blogging, can have more features than a standard WordPress site can offer, and allows for categories on multiple levels to be used with the content posted on the site.
Joomla: great for people with limited CMS experience if they have the time and patience to personalize the website, ideal for those with more CMS experience due to an incredible amount of customization potential, and extensions that allow increased features to be added at will.
ModX: easily customized CMS for multiple areas, locations, or languages, easily handles large volumes of daily visitors, quickly customizes any content going up on your site with little or no prior experience, and can even import how another site looks and feels with ease.
Typo3: open sourced CMS that requires no licensing fee, limited only by imagination and the talent of the web designer in format and how the content can appear, unique back end options, internal messaging, and multi-site enabled for many different sites from the same single source.
Refinery CMS: based on the Ruby on Rails system, this small yet powerful platform allows the end user to be the focus on how the content looks, feels, and is used, is easily changed or formatted to have the features the website requires, and is ideal for anyone with Rails experience.
Umbraco: this free, open-sourced CMS is able to be easily customized, is fully CSS and HTML compatible, allows the user to determine how the final content should appear, and is able to be customized for use around the world under nearly any language.
Each CMS has its own advantages, so users need to take the time to learn what is going to be best for them and their website. If you use the right CMS from the beginning, you can have a stunning website that functions with all of the appeal you desire and your visitors require. Show off your style and offer utility all at the same time, just by choosing the right CMS.