For some of us, websites just are. For many of us in the for-profit and not-for-profit world, especially if we’re in marketing, communications, advancement or product sales, at some point we are likely to be involved in building a website. Not physically building it, but deciding what the elements are that will go into it and how those elements (known as content) are organized so that they will show on your screen the way you want them to. That’s when you may be confronting some complex questions. At Ashworth Creative, with hundreds of websites under our collective belts, we have some answers to help you separate forest from trees. This guide will compare some common content management systems (including the ones we like) with more detail on each one listed below. Let’s begin at the beginning.
What is a content management system (CMS)?
A website CMS typically manages the creation and modification of digital content (words, images, audio, video, and maps). A CMS allows multiple users to collaborate on the website. If the CMS is custom coded (rather than purchased as a template), the eventual front end display of all content will be consistent with an organization’s branding as that too is customized. So once the website is created by a web development company like us, you can be happily adding and editing it with a skill level similar to what’s needed to work with MS Word. Maintaining a good website means that you will constantly be revising, updating and editing it. Ideally you should be able to do all that without fear of “breaking” brand guidelines or technical performance. At Ashworth Creative we pride ourselves on limiting the complex jargon and instead explain clearly and easily how to operate your website and we include staff training in the process.
What can a CMS do?
Common features of a CMS include:
- Reduced need to code from scratch
- Ability to modify, add and remove content
- Ability to maintain a bigger website
- User and group functionality
- Unified user experience
- Version control
- Edit permission management
- Compliance with various accessibility frameworks and standards
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Can be integrated with Google Analytics for performance tracking
- Link to blog publishing
- Link to social media platforms
What’s the difference between open-source and proprietary content management systems?
Open source software is frequently created by project communities. They make the program code available to anyone. Users are given the opportunity to change it and shape it to their requirements. On the other hand, proprietary software — also known as “vendor lock-in”– is developed by a company as a commercial product and it usually requires a paid license to access it. Open source communities tend to be more stable and long-lasting than proprietary platforms often are.
What are the most popular CMS platforms?
Based on market share statistics, WordPress wins the popularity contest. WordPress is used by more than 28% of all websites on the Internet (more than 18 million sites), and by 59% of all websites using a known CMS, followed by Joomla and Drupal. All of these are open source.
What are the advantages of one web CMS over another? Let’s talk.
It all comes down to your business or organization and what your needs are. It makes a difference, too, if you’re refreshing an existing site or creating a completely new one.
The best way to decide is by talking to Ashworth Creative. Our experiences with hundreds of websites will make your website process smooth, easy and satisfying. Give us a call!