One of the things that may be confusing when you are scoping out a web development firm is what a content management system does and why you would want one. A content management system puts the control in your hands and allows you to easily and quickly make updates to your site.
Content management systems require no ‘web smarts’, but allow you full control over complicated aspects of your site. They allow you to update your pages, create new pages, blog, etc… with just the click of a button. There are many reasons to use a CMS (content management system), but here are some of my favorites.
1. Security & Spam Protection
Many sites have a hard time protecting against malicious users. Every site will come under attack at one point or another and a good CMS will help your security stay updated and above the attacks.
If you are using a popular open source CMS, you have the power of thousands of developers who are taking an active interest in keeping unwanted users out. You also have the peace of mind knowing that the core of your website has been tested to be secure on millions of other websites.
2. Search Engine Friendly Content
There are many tools that can help you administer your content in a way that gets real results from search engines. There is a lot that goes into having content that is friendly to search engines like Google, but a CMS will do the technical work for you (creating XML sitemaps, monitoring keyword usage, etc…) allowing you to focus on more important aspects of your business. Forget about the mysteries of SEO, your CMS will help your site to be found without you doing a thing.
3. On the fly -decentralized- maintenance
Old ‘static’ websites forced you have to have to edit your content with external tools like Dreamweaver and an FTP client, tying you down to a handful of computers with the appropriate software. With a CMS, you only need a web browser and an internet connection. This allows you to update your site from anywhere, anytime, even from your smartphone!
4. Bringing the power back to non-tech savvy users
The tools that come with a content management system provides everything you are used to seeing in Microsoft Word or Pages. Bolding, italicizing, underlining, and aligning text is all easily done with the click of a button. There is no need to know a markup language to format your content. Inserting images is even a drag and drop process, all you need to do is decide where to put them.
5. Dynamic Content
All of your content is stored in a database, where it is safe and easily accessible. Instead of being placed in ‘static’ files, where you would have to copy and paste the text you want into every webpage you want it, your content can be placed anywhere you want and as many times as you want on your site while only typing it out once.
Database storage is useful for showing recent posts, updates, or even for having testimonials in multiple pages. This makes updating the content on your site quick, easy, and in only one place. One update to the navigation or tagline changes it for all your pages on the site.
6. Scheduled Content
If you have an upcoming event or are launching a product on a specific date, you can write all of your content for the event and set the release date on your site. No need to stay up until midnight to post that important announcement.
7. Social Media Integration
Many popular content management systems will integrate with social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. This is helpful if you are relaying content to social media sites, or if you just want to provide an easy way for your users to comment.
8. Multiple User Collaboration
If you have multiple people in your organization that would like to update content on the site, you can give them each an account and even preview the content before it is published. Different user levels allow you to assign tasks to multiple people and not worry about any of them overriding each others work.
9. Future Proof Content
This relates to reason #5, but deserves it’s own. Since all of your content is stored in a database you can change the design or template of your site, and still keep all of your pages, posts, and comments.
10. You have the keys
Any thing you see on your site can be easily maintained by you. If you don’t like the way something is worded 8 months from now, you can log in and change it without having to call a developer. No more waiting on anyone to update your content, take the control back into your hands.
What do you lose out on if you don’t have a CMS? Control and time. Without a CMS you are dependent on a developer with the right tools or knowledge to maintain your website. If you already know HTML and have the tools necessary to update your site, you are still losing time. A CMS change can be made within seconds, without a need to edit files or use FTP applications.
It’s important that you spend your time writing useful content and managing your business. Using a CMS is quick, easy, powerful, and a no-brainer.