What is CMS?
CMS or Content Management System is software that is extensively used for the creation and management of digital content on a website. The most significant advantage of a CMS is that it allows website owners to manage their website and its content without needing any extensive technical knowledge in coding and website development. A CMS handles all the web infrastructure and back-end parts of the website. At the same time, you are only required to provide the content that needs to be published on the website, making website building faster and easier.
A CMS takes care of updating your website as per your needs without needing you to meddle with the webserver or deal with the website code. It caters to website owners who are not adept at coding languages like PHP, CSS, etc., and helps them create a website suited to their needs and requirements.[i]
A CMS software is built around two core parts that work together to maintain your website. The developers work with the Content Management Application, wherein they manage the content with the help of the tools and modules provided by the platform. The Content Delivery Application then takes this content, stores it into the database. It displays it on the website, taking care of modifying the source code of the website automatically, saving you time and effort, and increasing the efficiency of your website and digital content management.
Why is CMS Important?
The most significant advantages that CMS software gives your business are efficiency and saving money and time. A CMS platform ensures that you can launch and modify your web pages and content with a few clicks of the mouse. There is no necessity for your website developers to deal with the core code.
- Greater Efficiency: Since your content developers are not needed to alter or deal with the actual code of the website and make the required changes in the CMS platform, it ensures that you are able to build and modify webpages in less than half the time it would take to do it from within the code. The CMS takes care of all the coding necessary to make the website look how you want it. It replaces the need for a highly-skilled coder who will cost more than the CMS and take much more time. CMS automates the process of content management, saving you time and money and greatly increasing your efficiency.
- Uniformity: A CMS software ensures that the entire website follows a set theme or template, and as such, there is no disparity when it comes to the functionality and looks of the website as a whole. A single developer working with the source code will take much more time to reach the same effect. The software is able to keep the website clean and clutter-free and respond as you intend it to without investing hundreds of person-hours to achieve the same result.
- Streamlining: The traditional method of web development requires constant communication between content creators and web developers to ensure that the content is published in a way the satisfies the requirements of the business and the content developers. On a CMS platform, the content creators can directly provide the content as input, design the web page in a way that it will look engaging without having to go through web developers and trying to negotiate a middle ground.
- SEO friendly: CMS software is SEO friendly which helps immensely with your website ranking on major search engines. Content creators can directly edit, manage and create SEO with the help of integrated SEO tools in the software for the desired effect.
- Saving time and money: CMS platforms take care of managing your web content. They provide custom themes and templates you can use for web page design, specialized tools to help you create your website and manage it. All of it takes a few clicks. You do not need a dedicated web developer with extensive coding knowledge to maintain your website saving overhead costs. The software automates the content management process and works with high efficiency taking much less time than a dedicated web developer.
COVID-19 has accelerated the trend for businesses to switch to CMS platforms to save overhead costs, free up their workforce, automate website management and increase efficiency for web content management. Enterprises are focusing on creating user-friendly websites which can be modified immediately should any issue occur, and CMS software gives you that freedom. Ease of usage, increased efficiency, automation of back-end processes that reduce overhead costs, creation and management of consumer-friendly websites are some of the significant reasons that are accelerating the switch to CMS in a post-pandemic world where consumers are actively searching for digital service delivery platforms that are easy to use and engaging.
Current CMS leaders
WordPress: The most popular CMS tool on the internet, WordPress started in life as a blogging platform but has expanded into CMS. The software is easy to use and is well suited for beginners who are starting their websites as it does not need any coding knowledge. You can find thousands of plugins to help you customize your website. Some of the most notable websites running on WordPress are the White House official website as well as the Playstation blog. [ii]
WordPress allows extensive levels of customization thanks to its extensive library of plugins. Still, its popularity is also its Achilles heel as it is the favored target for hackers. Adding to it the fact that you will be responsible for managing data security and backup of the files as well as needing to set your domain name and web hosting, WordPress is mainly dependent on its plugins, and thus it can be extremely easy to get lost in a mountain of plugins not knowing what to use.
Drupal: Drupal is a specialized CMS tool that is geared towards developers and offers high levels of customization. It gives you the flexibility to move away from standard templates and create your custom website. Drupal is best known for its modules and data security features and is the best when it comes to website security. Its taxonomy system provides excellent control over the content allowing you to filter and quickly find what you want on the website. Drupal is renowned for its scalability and security, and this is the very reason that NASA, Harvard University, Tesla, IIT Palakkad, and other notable industry leaders work with Drupal. Even the UN uses Drupal for its website needs.
While Drupal offers great security and customization, it is not particularly user-friendly. It needs a dedicated web developer to work on it. It can be hard to manage Drupal unless the website manager has web development experience.
Joomla: Joomla is another dedicated CMS platform that pops up in the debate for the best CMS platforms. Although the platform is not beginner-friendly like WordPress, it offers greater flexibility in website design, much like Drupal. The platform supports extensive usage of media and can be used for creating e-commerce websites. Joomla is used by RogerFederer.com as well as iTWire.
Jumla is the supposed middle ground between WordPress and Drupal as it offers developer customization like Drupal but is also beginner-friendly like WordPress. One of the significant drawbacks is the lack of extensions when compared to WordPress and Drupal. It also falls behind Drupal in terms of website security. It requires you to have some web development experience to bring out its potential fully.
Magento: Magento was conceived as a CMS for e-commerce platforms, and it is the best at what it does, manage e-commerce websites. Created by Adobe, the platform is highly customizable, with several extensions to choose from.[iii] Its customization ability means you can create a highly customized website for your e-commerce platform. Industry leaders like Nike, Ford, Coca-Cola, etc. use Magento for its scalability and Fintech integration capabilities. E-commerce players are relying heavily on Magento for their CMS needs because of its ability to handle a large amount of data with ease. Even INSEAD used Magento for publishing its research studies and implement a membership system.
One thing that goes against Magento is that it be too much for a new e-commerce platform because of its complexity. You have to get the licensed version from Adobe to get support or hire a Magento developer to help you with your e-commerce website, which will not be free.
All these CMS platforms have their target groups and offer unique options and functionalities. WordPress can’t be used for creating an e-commerce website, while you will need to hire a web developer to work with the other 3 CMS platforms. From a beginner to a big business enterprise, your choice should be dependent on the current and future needs of your business to account for scalability. Customization options can be critical in creating a unique website for your business while, at the same time, website and data security are issues that cannot be ignored. All in all, companies should carefully gauge their development plans and create a roadmap of the future of the business to decide upon the CMS platform of choice for their enterprise.