What is a Content Management System (CMS)?

A Content Management System (“CMS”) is software helping people create, manage, and edit digital content without specialised technical knowledge.

A CMS helps people without any coding knowledge publish content online, using an interface similar to navigating to Microsoft Word. Without a CMS, anyone who wanted to publish online would have to create a static HTML file and upload it to their server. 

Most companies use a CMS to run their website or blog, as different user roles and permissions are available. This means that a range of people within the organisation can publish and edit website content even if they do not have any programming knowledge. 

How does it work? 

Different users can log on and edit the back end of a CMS simultaneously. This means that while your marketing manager is creating a blog post, your data analyst could be studying your web traffic, and your customer service representative could be answering questions through a chatbot function – all at the same time.

A CMS can be beneficial when a company is keen to have an online presence but does not have the time or money to have a full-time in-house web developer or wants to have the flexibility to evolve their online presence as they grow.

Depending on the company’s needs, a CMS may have varying levels of user permissions, analytics and personalisation. It might have eCommerce functionality allowing users to purchase goods and services directly. Also, the CMS might deliver content across a range of multiple channels, such as mobile apps, social media and email. 

Why use a CMS? 

A key benefit of a CMS is that it is collaborative, with multiple users able to log onto the same CMS and produce, schedule or edit content that will then be published. Since the interface is typically based in a browser such as Chrome or Safari, the same CMS can be logged into from absolutely anywhere in the world by multiple users. 

Another crucial advantage of a CMS is that it is relatively easy to use. Even without any technical knowledge, you can produce and update web content simply and easily through drag-and-drop functions that enable uploading text, images, and multimedia. 

Lastly, CMS platforms typically come with features that optimise your site for search engines like Google, allowing for customising page titles and meta descriptions, SEO-friendly URL structures, and speedy page load times. 

What are some examples? 

WordPress: WordPress is the world’s most popular content management system and powers 43% of all the websites on the web (over one-third of the Internet). While it might not be the best solution for everyone, it is generally the most user-friendly, future-proof, and flexible option, with the best support. They have the most extensive plugin library, enabling sophisticated functionality and third-party integrations. 

Squarespace: This option allows you to sign up in less than a minute. Instead of registering, hosting, or purchasing a domain name, you just have to register for a Squarespace account, and the rest is automatically done for you. The next step beyond that is selecting a template for how the site will look, and the beauty of Squarespace templates is what sets it apart: they have been shortlisted and won Webby awards for the best visual design. 

Wix: While Wix is a CMS in that it allows content management online, it is also a website builder with intuitive and powerful drag-and-drop tools to help companies create the exact design they are after, even without any technical knowledge. More than 21 million mobile sites use Wix, demonstrating its multi-platform functionality, many of them being online stores that need attractive storefront designs to grow their eCommerce businesses.