Here is a basic summary of what a Content Management System (CMS) is:
Even though an expert has to set it up for you, a CMS is primarily a website maintenance tool for non-technical staff.[/three_columns] [three_columns ]
A CMS is a fantastic way to manage website content–such as site structure, images, documents, articles, and workflow processes–across multiple users.[/three_columns] [three_columns_last ]
Content management systems take care of a lot of website optimization details that often get overlooked in a hand-coded website (also known as a “static site”).[/three_columns_last]
CMS vs. Static
Really quickly, let’s compare a static site to a CMS site:
Let’s take something “simple” like adding a page.
To add a page using a content management system, it’s as easy as clicking on a button that says “add page.” There are a lot of interesting things happening in the background that build this page into the site’s index and install it into the navigation area, but the beauty is, you don’t need to be an expert to make small changes.
To add a page on a static site, one would have to dive into the code of every single page to add the page to the main navigation, not to mention having to customize the content of the page itself, using code as well.
I don’t think I need to explain further. Just take one look at the code above. Does that make any sense to YOU? Not to mention the fact that a lot of old, static sites were built in the 90’s using primitive ideas on eye path (the user’s path through each page) and design.
This image metaphorically compares design for a new CMS site (stylish, sleek and relevant) to an old static site… (What the heck were they thinking?) For more REAL examples of old static sites, just check out some of our submissions in the ugly website competition. I’m just kidding about the skirt—nothing against the Bears; my husband is from Chicago!
Need a little more information? Or maybe you’re an auditory learner. Here’s a one-minute clip that explains CMS in very simple terms:
Do You Need a CMS?
So, now that we’ve covered WHAT a CMS is—do YOU need one?
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- Does your company update its website content frequently?
- Does your website contain over 10 pages?
- Do you constantly outsource simple website updates to third parties?
Yes? Then it’s in your best interest to start moving in a CMS direction. Making the switch can be a somewhat cumbersome project—especially if you have had a presence on the web for a long time and your site has grown organically over that period. You will have to wrangle together all the old content that exists, distill it, refresh it, and reorganize. The best part is that having a CMS will allow you to make the reorganization process much more painless in the future.
The best business benefits of a properly-used CMS basically come down to two things:
1) Increased revenue, and 2) Better strategy implementation
How can a CMS increase your revenue? Faster turnaround time on new pages and changes, greater capacity for growth, and reduced site maintenance costs are just a few of the benefits.
How can a CMS help you be a better company? You’ll have more flexibility and bigger opportunities to reach a wider audience, improved site navigation and fewer frustrated visitors (decreased bounce rate), and greater consistency in your company’s message, branding, and design.
Struggling over esoteric code and clunky websites is no fun, and thankfully a thing of the past. Building websites should be fun and easy, and it is a very useful exercise in self-reflection for your company. Having a CMS will make it easy to respond to your customers and implement your great ideas. Best of all, it will allow all business owners to experience the ease of process themselves, without needing a background in web development.