What is a Content Management System (CMS) and is it Worth the Investment?

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A Content Management System (CMS) is a web application which enables you, the business owner, to manage the content of your website. CMS applications come in many forms, from lighter blogging platforms to multi-component, enterprise applications. To determine if a CMS is worth the investment you must determine the scope of your web presence and ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are there only a few business users and will your presence consist of a small number of pages?
  • Do you require additional components or modules, such as calendars, photo galleries, or forums?
  • Does your site require strict workflow?

If after answering those questions, you are still considering using one, here are six reasons why you should:

  1. Easy To Use: A good CMS should be easy enough to allow non-technical users to add or edit content without any knowledge of HTML, JavaScript, or other technical languages. It should also provide a simple, easy to use interface for the owners to deliver this content.
  2. More Visibility: Since the business owner is in control, they can deliver fresh content quickly; no need to rely on a development team to make content changes. Now, design and development teams have their place in creating the base template and look and feel of the website, but the core of the CMS relies on business owners publishing content. Once content is published, the CMS should provide navigation controls allowing web users to discover this content. The more often content is updated, the higher a website’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) score will be– leading to increased visibility.
  3. Cost-Effective: A good CMS is cost-effective. You do not need to pay for outside consultants or an internal development team for every update. Plus, the friendlier the interface, the lower the training costs. Finally, many CMS platforms offer free licenses.
  4. Secure:  Using a CMS means security, with an administrative area that authorizes or restricts access to the pages and components which comprise the website. The CMS should also handle web attacks and hacking such as directory browsing, input validation or SQL injection.
  5. Collaborative: A CMS should also be collaborative, enabling a workflow that allows staff to create, edit, and approve content before it is published. Whether it’s a page based on the wiki model, a document, or a page, the CMS should support version and change tracking.
  6. Provides Administrative Interface: Finally, a good CMS provides an administrative interface for tasks that maintain the core application. The admin area should include user management, search administration, event viewers, a file manager, and a module manager – to name a few mandatory features.

Once you’ve made the decision to invest in a content management system, it is now time to evaluate the most popular CMS platforms. There are enough out there to satisfy your requirements. However, keep in mind, the simpler the interface the better. You want to encourage your business owners to regularly update content, and truthfully, the more complex the interface, the less likely business owners will be to publish. Next, determine if your organization would require frequent customer support with the CMS vendor. Whereas most CMS platforms provide free licenses and the customer relies on community forums, there are several that also provide paid licenses which include real time customer support. To help you get started in your research, here is a list of CMS platforms that Segue Technologies has implemented:

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