The phrase "Content Management System" is becoming a relatively well known one these days, but I do still receive questions frequently from clients asking if a CMS is the right way to manage their site or not. With that in mind, I thought I'd set out to explain the basics of why we develop using Content Management Systems, and why we'd recommend them to everyone.
So let's get started by just going through the basics of what exactly comprises a Content Management System (CMS).
What is a Content Management System?Here's Wikipedia's explanation: A content management system (CMS) is a computer program that allows publishing, editing and modifying content as well as maintenance from a central interface. Such systems of content management provide procedures to manage workflow in a collaborative environment.
Basically what they're saying is: a CMS allows you to manage the contents of your website through an easy-to-use interface, without requiring any knowledge of advanced computer systems or coding languages. The systems can be set up to allow one or more users to easily add/remove pages, update the content on existing pages, and update photos or videos as well. We like to tell people if they can open and edit a Microsoft Word document without issue, they should be able to learn to manage their website with ease. Even if you consider yourself to be completely computer illiterate, a bit of training and practice will have you ready to handle your website like a pro.
Do I Need a Content Management System for my Website?Simply put: no. You don't need to have one in order to have a website. However, without a CMS in place, you may find that making changes to your website means you have to contact your web provider and pay them an hourly rate to make the changes for you. For some clients, this is their preferred method of managing their website, regardless of whether or not they have a CMS in place. But for those who have the time and interest in learning how to manage their own sites, a CMS is ideal.
Regardless of whether you intend to have your site managed by your website provider, or if you intend to handle it yourself, having a CMS based website will allow you or the developer to make changes more rapidly, thus saving time and money that could have been allocated elsewhere. Rather than having to access your website through FTP (File Transfer Protocol) and make changes directly to the code, they can just login through the administrative panel, navigate to the page(s) that need updating and make changes to the live website quickly. Development time can literally be cut in half in many cases, thanks to the easy to use interfaces driving so many of these great Content Management Systems.
To summarize: you may not feel that a CMS is absolutely necessary for your website, but having one in place can save you time and money because of how incredibly easy they make website management. If you already have an existing website that you're really attached to, don't fret. We can always convert it to a CMS without needing to make any changes to the design of the site.
Thanks for reading!