What can CMS’s do exactly?
Content Management Systems do exactly as their name implies, but what they do is to make it easy. CMS’s allow you add, modify, or delete content with WYSIWIG editors (pretty much imagine the basic functions of Microsoft Word to edit website content without the hassle of dealing with Microsoft Word). This makes it way easier to edit the content, and much faster too.
It also has more advanced features as well. It allows the user to organize their content, manage their images, and customize the look of the website without having to necessarily log into FTP (which means having to use a 3rd party program to access your files for the website). Let’s say if you need to modify a small piece of content on a website. Instead of starting up and logging into your FTP, you can log into the CMS straight from your browser, modify the content, and be done within seconds!
Also, you can have multiple people access the CMS with permissions. What if you want someone to work on a website, but don’t trust them handling sensitive files? Well with a CMS, you can let them log in to modify content, but will not be allowed to access certain files; all because of permissions. Of course, the strength of these permissions depends on the CMS…
What makes a good CMS?
Speaking of various CMS’s, there are tons of them out there. How would a person know which one to choose? Well, here are some ideas to think about:
- Is the CMS flexible? Can it change according to your needs as they see fit?
- Is it able to play nicely with Search Engines?
- Does it have good support? Incase anything goes wrong, how fast can it be fixed? Also, the ideas of extensions for the CMS. For example, plug ins and various other features added into it made by other people.
After taking some of these ideas into account, I’d have to say the best advice is to do your research. Start off by looking into the bigger CMS’s, and then going from there; seeing what other people have said, and then forming your own opinion based on that, plus your own experience of course.
Alright, so I’ve dabbed earlier into Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and how a CMS helps with that. The thing is though, how exactly does it do that? Well, the first thing to think about, as outlined here, is dynamic URLs. CMS’s help create the URL for a page for you in a manner of helping Search Engines find your pages better for you, rather than thinking about one yourself (this is from the experience of using WordPress, the very CMS I’m using!).
Another thing is easier creation of meta tags. Instead of having to code them in yourself, a CMS allows you to type in the words and does the rest for you. Really handy stuff.
One last thing a CMS helps is with the coding. Especially for the inexperienced, making search engine friendly code can be a nightmare. CMS’s can do most of the harder stuff for you; or if you are more experienced, makes it a lot easier to manage.
Why learn it?
Well, not only does it make life easier, but they are growing ever popular. So popular in fact, that most companies nowadays looking to hire a web designer search for ones with experience with CMS’s. As someone once told me, you can’t be a successful web designer if you have no experience with content management systems.
Content Management Systems are the standard for making websites. Thankfully, a lot of the major ones are free to use, and just requires some experience and research to use properly. They make the websites much more client friendly to manage as it requires little to no experience in website editing to create, modify, and delete content on the website. Not only that, but also how search engine friendly they are made helps the website, as it becomes easier to find. With how fast they are growing in popularity, it really is essential to learning how to use these things. Heck, you can even make a career out of it.