CMS stands for content management system. In the simplest terms, content management systems consist of software that controls a website’s appearance, functions, and of course, its content. In fact, developing an entire website can simply include installing, configuring, and adding content through the CMS — and then, using that same system to maintain the website forever.

In a nutshell, businesses can benefit by having websites developed with a CMS in multiple ways. Some big advantages include simplicity, efficiency, and consistency. Take a moment to understand how content management systems work, why they’re so popular, and which CMS we recommend to our diverse set of business clients.

How Does a CMS Work?

To understand how a CMS works, it helps to use the basic features of WordPress as an example.

Why is WordPress a good example of a CMS? For some examples:

  • According to W3Techs, WordPress powers over 64 percent of sites that use a CMS and 40 percent of all sites. WordPress is the most popular CMS and probably the single most common way to develop websites on the entire worldwide web.
  • This popular content management system also provides basic features that are similar to such well-known competitors as Joomla and Drupal. Even people who choose another CMS should recognize basic features.
  • With an almost unlimited supply of ad-on features, WordPress has evolved into just more than a tool for managing content. It’s really more of an all-in-one website development tool.

Content Management With a CMS

First, content management systems have the function, managing content, in their name. Without software, this time-consuming and error-prone process can derail marketing projects.

With WordPress:

  • Adding sales pages, articles, or any other kinds of website pages starts with the CMS editor. It works similarly to the editors in Word, Google Docs, and other popular online word processors and shouldn’t take long to learn.
  • Creators can also upload graphics, videos, PDFs, spreadsheets, and other kinds of content and documents to the media library and from there, add them to their website pages. They can make them accessible to website visitors to view or download.
  • The sophisticated editor also offers plenty of formatting and alignment options to format text and media, so the page appears exactly as intended.

CMS Themes

A theme consists of a set of files that include PHP page templates, CSS stylesheets, images, and sometimes, JavaScript. Themes control the way the website looks to visitors. Some elements of a page that a theme controls include color, background and header images, and typography.

CMS Plugins

Just as themes can customize the look and feel of a CMS website, plugins add new features. They’re written in PHP to extend the functionality of the core WordPress software. According to WordPress, some of the most popular kinds of plugins include features for contact forms, eCommerce, analytics, SEO, and of course, extra security.

Benefits of Using a CMS

A feature-rich and flexible CMS offers power, efficiency, and simplicity. It takes less time and money to develop a site with a CMS than to code every page by hand. That saves money on development costs.

Plus, after it’s installed, a content management system offers many benefits to users:

  • Using a CMS doesn’t require technical skills: Most employees should enjoy a short learning curve to begin adding content and creating pages. If they can use email and a word processor, they should have no trouble learning how to add content to a CMS.
  • A CMS can handle multiple users: The person responsible for adding plugins might be different from the team that adds content. Also, many websites let visitors create an account to make purchases, comment, or use member-only features. The website administrator can assign multiple levels of permissions for various types of users too.
  • It’s easy to manage schedules: Users can tell at a glance if content has already been published or is still in draft mode. That’s as true of articles as it is for product or sales pages. Some organizations may even want to add calendars, and a CMS can manage these.
  • A CMS is easy to maintain: If the business decides to change its logo or terms, there’s no need to update hundreds of pages. Also, a good CMS can automatically install updates to its core code, themes, and plugins automatically, so it’s always robust and updated.
  • A CMS makes managing content a breeze: It’s not only easy to add content with a CMS. The system also makes it simple to change or even delete pages when they’re outdated.

What’s the Best CMS?

We don’t recommend software to our clients just because it’s popular. Still, Temper and Forge recommends WordPress as the best CMS for most business clients. It’s well tested over the span of years and millions of websites.

Also, the massive army of users and developers have turned WordPress websites into successful, unique internet platforms for everything from schools and art galleries to eCommerce and business sites. Even WhiteHouse.gov runs on WordPress. Tell us about your vision, so we can explain how to craft it with WordPress.

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