A web content management system (WCMS) is basically what everyone who wants to have a multimedia website/online store/e-commerce site/blog and manage the content themselves, but doesn’t have the technical know how needs. It’s a software system that provides all the complex parts of web design/management in easy to use and understand forms. With website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools all designed for users who have little knowledge of web programming languages in mind. They are used to create and manage website content with relative ease and a robust CMS provides the foundation for collaboration, so it can have multiple editors, allowing different users edit documents and pages depending on privileges granted.
Administration is typically done through easy to use browser-based interfaces, so websites/blogs can be managed as long as there is an internet connection. Non-technical users with little or no knowledge of HTML/CSS or any scripting language can make changes to a website with little or no training. A system administrator and/or a web developer has to set up and add features to the CMS, but its major purpose is to allow website maintenance by non-technical staff.
There are several different options out there, from the paid to unpaid avenues and like most things, the paid ones give you a lot more help and benefits, however the free options are great and if utilized properly will surely get the job done.
Some of the better known free CMSs are Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. Others are priced based on size subscriptions, and although subscriptions can end up expensive, it balances out as you don’t have to hire full-time developers to create the system, and further more you can even buy one based on your specific need.
When you get in the swing of things here are the major things that make them great:
– Easy Customization It comes with a customizable theme, (in some cases the themes are updated) that you can easily change and move things about to fit your own needs. Including banner adverts, pictures, text e.t.c
– Easy of use: CMS’s are made for people with little technical know how, so the admin user interface is designed to allows content managers, editors, bloggers to update without much training or stress.
– WorkFlow management: It’s great as you can control how, when and by whom content is published.
Things to be careful of:
– Cost of maintenance: Maintaining CMSs may require license updates, upgrades, and hardware maintenance.
– Storage Volume: With HTML-based systems the files may be large, and the more files (images, audio and video) uploaded the higher the risk of errors and update issues.
A professional-looking web site is great for business, but it’s easy to become frustrated when it’s time for site updates and you don’t want to have to go through the website administrator all the time. This is where the strength of a Content Management System (CMS) can be seen. With some CMS’s like WordPress and Joomla you can even update your website from your phone.
Note that WordPress.com is different from WordPress installed on the server of a host. This is why some sites have website addresses like http://www.yoursite.wordpress.com while other wordpress sites keep the original domain name without wordpress.com attached to it e.g www.yoursite.com. The quickest way to start a blog is sign up for free on http://www.wordpress.com and start blogging immediately!
Here are 5 top CMS’s you should look out for to make your life as a web designer, blogger, site owner or content manager easier:
- WordPress: This is a free, open source content management system intended for blogs and bloggers. It is presently the most popular content management systems for blogs in Nigeria, and it can be adapted to serve a variety of purposes including easily uploading audio and video on your site. It also has amazing widgets/add-ons and tons of themes which you can change easily. Some sites that use wordpress include notjustok.com and bellanaija.com with many other blog sites.
- Drupal: Is another open-source, free content management system programmed in PHP/MySQL. It is cross-platform, supports multiple databases, and has become very popular as a web development framework among professional programmers and designers. This is one CMS which many users say is the least frustrating.
- Joomla!: This is an award winning Content Management System and it enables users develop powerful websites and online web applications. If you want to easily maintain an e-commerce website like flyaero.com or bigger powerful sites that have an online store like amazon.com this is the system to go with.
- Silverstripe: Fast becoming a favourite amongst developers, it has a growing community of users always ready to help out. The Silverstripe CMS is easy to manipulate for your needs. It has quickly begun to rival WordPress and Drupal – are you a developer?? Give it shot you wont be disappointed.
- Magento-CMS: This CMS is similar to Joomla because its strength lies in e-commerce websites. If you want to build a site for online shopping, you might want to use Magento as your CMS platform.
The world of CMS’s can get quite complicated so we advise starting off with a test on the well known and easily used WordPress platform. Especially if you just want to blog and when you are in the groove, hop on over to the more flexible Joomla.