what is content management system and how to choose one

Why you need a Content Management System (CMS) for your company?

The world has never been so connected.

The scenario today includes all kinds of devices, stable and extensive internet connections, and innovative brands trying to leverage all of the aforementioned with their websites and virtual channels. 

We’re talking about a series of innovations that allow businesses to boost results, drive more sales consistently, and deliver more options to consumers. All that while brands offer a better customer experience. 

However, even in this scenario, many companies still don’t have a website and are not achieving the expected results. 

Maybe the main reason why they are not successful on the internet is the lack of technical expertise to create and manage pages and content online.

That’s where the Content Management System (CMS) comes in as a definitive solution. Don’t worry if you still have no idea of what it means.

We created this complete article about it in order to teach you everything you need to know on the subject. In this post, we will address:

Are you ready for this gigantic dose of knowledge? Let’s go!

What is a CMS?

CMS means “content management system”. In simpler words, it’s a system that makes it possible to put a website online in a uncomplicated way. 

But, of course, that’s not the differentiating factor about a CMS. After all, you can do that same task with almost no technical knowledge. 

What makes the CMS special is the fact that it allows users, as the name says, to create and manage dynamic content effortlessly. That means you can maintain a blog, e-commerce, or pretty much any kind of website that demands regular updates.

Imagine if you would have to update a website every week manually. That wouldn’t work out.

So, the CMS is the ideal solution for everybody that needs a non-static and permanent website.

Test Stage now and see the results by yourself!

How does a content management system work?

Picture this: you work for a newspaper or a magazine.

Your reader always looks forward to staying up to date on what’s going on. So you and your team have to produce new content pretty much every day.

However, this creation process is challenging. For every new piece of content, you have to rebuild the entire structure and change the infrastructure of your website.

And it’s even worse: your only option is to do the updates manually.

In such a scenario, can you imagine how expensive and slow your work would be? It would become impossible, in terms of both money and time, for your vehicle of communication to survive.

Besides, let’s assume that you are able to work this way and maintain the site. You would need highly qualified experts, which could be a limitation for new business opportunities.

Fortunately, our reality today is way different than that. To solve those structural and operational problems, the CMS came to be.

The concept of a CMS represents, most of the time, free software that is created and maintained by developers around the world. With this support, any user can easily create a site, a blog, or other kinds of websites.

Notice that we said “most of the times” in the last paragraph because not all options are free. We’re going to mention those free alternatives later on in this article.

One of the most relevant advantages of a CMS is that it’s an easy-to-use tool that allows people to focus more on the strategy and less on the operative parts.

The user doesn’t need to worry about the technicalities. They only have to upload new content regularly. 

So, people can manage all the content efficiently. The structure is there to assure exceptional performance, a great user experience, and the possibility to grow your website in the future. 

What are the main functions of a CMS?

It may look simple, but there’s actually a lot going on in the creation and publication of new content on a website. Each of those components needs a CMS’s support to appear online.

That becomes even clearer when we look at some of the main functions of the system:

  • creation and publication of pages;
  • text and code editing;
  • commentary moderation;
  • stock control and sales system (for e-commerce);
  • installation of plugins and add-ons to extend the functionalities of the website;
  • library of media, to upload images and videos;
  • and much more.

How to choose a CMS?

The task of choosing a CMS can be a little challenging. After all, there are a lot of alternatives out there. Besides, those options are very much alike. 

When we look at 10 of those options, we will see that all of them have the same promises. So, how do we choose the best? The truth is you only need to understand a few aspects to make the decision.

The choice is essential. We’re not saying otherwise. But, instead of spending too much time questioning yourself, follow these practical tips:

  • what’s the system’s history? Find out if the user community is big enough and active, if the system has a good reputation, and if the support team is well-praised;
  • what’s the system’s purpose? If the central focus of the CMS is very different than what you’re looking for, try something else. (example: you want to create a blog, but the CMS seems to concentrate on e-commerce);
  • how’s the user experience? It doesn’t matter if it’s the best CMS on the market if it doesn’t have a good experience. Try to understand which option fits your company’s needs.

We, at Rock Content, have a favorite CMS: WordPress. It’s the most commonly used in the world, and it has solutions for pretty much any kind of project.

But that shouldn’t stop you from searching for more options and choosing what’s best for you.

How to migrate your CMS?

What should you do when you realize that your CMS doesn’t make sense for your business anymore? The answer is: migrate to a new CMS.

If you’re wondering how to do that, we’re not going to provide you a step-by-step solution, because even we can’t do it here.

The number of options for a CMS is large, which makes it impossible to know which one you should use today, and to which you should possibly migrate to.

But there are two golden rules for CMS migration:

  1. Do a backup of your information and database: in case everything goes wrong, you will still be able to restore your site on your old CMS with the database 100% safe;
  2. Contact the new CMS support team: in general, every quality CMS has great documentation and user communities. This can lead you to migrate without trouble. 

What are the benefits of a CMS? Check 7 of them!

The CMS presents several benefits for business people that wish to create pages on the internet. Here are 7 of them!

1. It’s easy to create and maintain pages

The most significant benefit of using a CMS may be the fact that it makes it easier to create and maintain pages daily. 

You can access the system directly through the browser, and that means you don’t need to download any specific software. So, there’s nothing to take up more space in your computer or smartphone.

That allows you to create your page quickly, so you can leverage the business opportunities by delivering excellent content for your users.

2. It’s easy to use

Everyone who has a website knows that you need to pay attention to the news and trends on the market.

So, your pages have to be flexible enough to ensure the use of those new possibilities and innovative features to the fullest.

With a great content management system, any member of your team can help manage and maintain your digital strategy.

That includes creating pages on your site, adding images, adding videos, adding testimonials from your customers, and much more.

All that can be done quickly and easily, without the need for technical expertise in programming, design, or diagramming. 

And there’s more: one essential aspect of the CMS is, as the name implies, the capacity of managing the content instead of only creating it.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if it’s possible to use the system simply, without monitoring the progress of results.

Once more, a good-quality CMS makes that part easy. After all, everything can be tested and optimized to provide the best and fastest results. 

3. It offers a large number of additional features

The leading CMS on the market presents an extensive range of additional features. Those can be included on the website with only a few clicks in order to foster the best experience for clients and make the management even more efficient. 

However, this is something you should take into consideration: it’s necessary to analyze the characteristics of the chosen software, so you can be sure that they match your needs.

If you notice that something is missing, look for plugins and additional tools. In case you still haven’t found what you need, maybe it’s time to search for another CMS.

4. It offers support for organic search optimization

Every business manager that seeks to establish a website as a reference in the market knows that: it’s crucial to understand and apply the techniques and strategies for organic search optimization, the so-called SEO (Search Engine Optimization).

SEO’s role is to increase the chances of your page being found online via search engines, such as Google. 

And the more that people find your site organically (without ads), the better your process of customer acquisition is. At least as long as you have a solid content strategy and a well-structured marketing plan

You can use different techniques, such as:

  • link building to improve domain authority and the positioning on rankings;
  • image optimization to make your content visible in visual search;
  • strategic use of keywords, especially the long-tail ones;
  • redefinition of the layout to make it more pleasant for readers and therefore increase the retention time.

It’s necessary to take care of every page on your site if you want to optimize SEO properly.

If the website is complex, built with specific software, it can be hard to keep optimizing it correctly — and that’s even more challenging when the site grows. 

With a CMS, though, users can do it without further problems. A few minutes per day is enough to make your pages visible in the first positions of SERPs. And there’s no need for investing 1 cent on paid advertising.

5. It offers versatility for projects

It doesn’t matter what you want your site to be: you can achieve it with a good CMS. 

Do you want to create a blog to publish relevant content every week? Ok. Do you need to create pages for your e-commerce with a lot of features? No problems.

Those are only some of the possibilities. You can develop an area for members, a landing page, and even create your own social media. 

That is another good point about the CMS: it can help you with different projects, of various sizes, by providing the same functions and structure.

All you need is: to mold the features according to the demands of your specific project.

6. It offers a good loading speed

Another incredible benefit is that the CMS contributes to improving your pages’ loading speed rates.

That is crucial to offer an extraordinary experience for your user. Not to mention that it’s also relevant for SEO. 

The slower your pages are — and we’re talking about seconds here —, the greater the odds of your potential client closing the tab and going for another option on the internet.

That’s why it’s necessary to monitor your pages’ loading times in order to optimize them.

That becomes even clearer on mobile devices — and they are getting more attention from Google in the new ranking strategy. 

The algorithm, known as the mobile-first index, prioritizes pages that load faster on mobile devices. Fortunately, every high-end CMS out there offers support for mobile-first websites.

7. It offers low cost

Last but not least, we can’t forget to mention the maintenance costs.

Imagine that you built your website with a specific developer, in a complicated language that only a few professionals know. 

Can you realize how keeping the structure functioning and updated in this case can be way more expensive? After all, the lack of expertise will raise the prices for the service.

However, if you use a CMS, everything is cheaper: from the setup to the update and maintenance. 

Most CMS are free because they were created by developers scattered around the world.

Of course, you can still hire a developer or designer to adapt the site to your interest and needs. But that’s different than creating a completely personalized website.

Even the changes for a CMS usually tend to be cheaper than creating something from scratch.

So, what makes a difference in the cost is the update and maintenance. That makes the CMS a more cost-effective option.

How to evaluate the best hosting service for a CMS?

The CMS is not the only critical component for site maintenance. 

The hosting service has a special role in this too, even because if the host doesn’t offer support for the CMS you use, nothing will work.

Once more, we’re getting into the matter of the number of available options. We can’t analyze them all one-by-one in this article, but we can give you a step-by-step on what to take into account while choosing:

  • decide first which hosting service you want. There are 4: shared hosting, cloud, VPS, and dedicated server;
  • narrow the list down to the well-known options that also offer support for the CMS you’re looking for; 
  • compare features, client support, and prices of those alternatives left on your list.

What are the differences between CMS, WCM, ECM, DAM e DXP?

CMS is a system that encompasses several kinds of software. Each one of them exists to match different needs. 

That’s why we will show you some of the categories and their differences.

WCM – Web Content Management

WCM is an ideal tool to create, manage, store, and display content on web pages. 

It provides the capacity to plot and organize sites, so the content is always up-to-date and easy to access at any given moment.

Besides, it allows control and content preparation for publication, with review and approval before putting anything online.

WCM also permits automation for content publication, which generates better performance.

ECM — Enterprise Content Management

ECM is the technology behind the capture, management, preservation, and distribution of the content and documents related to the business processes. 

The ECM tools and strategies allow users to organize information throughout the life of the company. 

Amid those tools, there are the WCM, which we’ve just seen, and the DAM, our next topic. 

DAM — Digital Asset Management

Digital Asset Management is a similar concept to ECM. 

The main difference, though, is that the DAM has a specialized focus on rich media management, such as videos, audio, images, and others.

However, the ECM works on file management, in general. So, if you need a solution to store multimedia files efficiently, the DAM is relevant.

DXP — Digital Experience Platform

With the growing number of access channels for customers, integrated strategies to improve the purchase experience is not an option anymore.

The DXP (Digital Experience Platform) turns it into reality and unifies the experiences and sensations at every point of interaction, which strengthens the brand identity.

We’re talking about a platform that was made to create and offer integrated and optimized experiences for users.

Those optimized experiences must happen in several channels and always have to consider not only the customer’s preferences but also his lifecycle. 

What are the best CMS on the market?

Now that you know what a content management system is, we’re going to show you the best options on the market. Let’s kick off with our recommendation, WordPress:

WordPress

WordPress (WP) is the most used CMS platform in the world. But that’s not why we like it so much. First of all, it’s a free alternative, used by blogs, e-commerces, and a variety of other projects.

There are various additional features, such as plugins and templates already built so users can customize their solutions according to their needs and business strategies.

One of the most significant advantages is its active community. There are thousands of developers with the necessary expertise to keep the system up to date, providing changes and improvements.

In addition to that, security is also a key factor. Since WP is an open-source alternative, crackers can seek security holes in the system to attack private information. So, our recommendation is to use extra resources to ensure the CMS reliability. 

Joomla

Another outstanding CMS is Joomla. It’s been used by many prominent companies around the world. One of them is the renowned Harvard University in the United States.

Like WordPress, it’s a free system, based on PHP, with a lot of additional functions.

Even though the community and the support are not as good as those of the most famous options, Joomla is a robust and reliable CMS.

Drupal

What can we say about the CMS that’s used by the government of the United States? That’s right! The North-American government chose Drupal as its content platform. 

The software encompasses modules that interact with one another, which allows personalization. 

When talking about Drupal, it’s essential to mention the large community of experts on the system — also one of the principal WordPress advantages.

TextPattern

Those who aim at creating simple pages and seek high-speed page loading must consider TextPattern as an option.

It’s a little behind the first alternatives we’ve mentioned because it doesn’t offer a massive variety of pre-configured templates. But there’s still a lot of extra features. 

Radiant

Finally, we can’t finish the list without mentioning Radiant. It’s a content and permission management system based on Ruby, recommended for smaller-size projects. 

It has its own language, very similar to HTML, and it offers excellent plugin options.

Why should companies adopt a content management system?

There’s tough competition between brands in the virtual world.

Business managers must always search for new ways to improve user experience on their sites, as well as provide innovations, while maintaining solid control over the strategies. 

You can achieve all those goals with a content management system. But, as we’ve seen, there are many options out there. 

So, don’t rush yourself to thinking that choosing the system is something you can do carelessly.

The greatest challenge for companies is to align their needs with the available resources. There isn’t one particular platform that will solve everybody’s problems. It’s important to notice what the company wants when it comes to supporting their clients and offering them the right solutions.

So, you have to analyze which CMS presents those characteristics and which one is closer to what you’re looking for.

Now that you what a CMS is, as well as its features and applications, check out this article on content intelligence and learn to guide your marketing with data.

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