Not so long ago, at least some HTML knowledge was needed to create and run a website. Today, however, it is not necessary. All thanks to CMS – a content management system that allows you to manage websites without knowing any programming languages. Find out more about these types of engines, see how they work and how they can be used!
CMS = Content Management System
CMS stands for Content Management System. It is a type of software used to publish content on websites, as well as organize or modify them. CMSs were created primarily to facilitate the use of websites – especially those that are constantly updated and supplemented or contain a lot of content. These types of programs do not require knowledge of programming languages from users, and getting to know their functions is usually much easier than learning HTML or CSS. In principle, their operation should be intuitive and relatively easy.
There are different types of CMSs, but most of them are handled through a special administration panel. This type of software works in the network – just go to the appropriate page and log in to the panel to start working. Through the system, you can:
– add and modify articles,
– add and describe products, create categories and perform other activities related to running the store,
– add media (photos, graphics, videos),
– create and change the menu,
– manage the appearance of the website,
– update the offer,
– and even manage the newsletter.
The exact scope of functions and how to use them depend on the selected CMS, but usually these types of programs are similar to each other. Most also allow for the installation of additional modules that increase the functionality of the website (e.g. rating or comments system, maps, contact form, etc.)
Content Management Systems can be divided into three main categories:
– Open Source,
– SaaS (Software as a Service),
– original, dedicated.
Open Source systems (eg WordPress), that is based on open source, are free and easily available. Users can create their own plugins, modules or graphic templates for them. Therefore, they usually offer very wide possibilities. Of course, their great advantage is also free access (although add-ons or templates are often paid for). Open Source systems are usually very secure, but you should remember to update them frequently.
CMSs of the SaaS type (eg Shoper) are subscription platforms – usually paid on a monthly basis. Users do not have access to the site code, and the capabilities of such programs are usually quite limited. However, access to basic functions and the lack of possibility to use dedicated solutions affect the ease of use of such systems.
Proprietary (dedicated) CMSs are created for the needs of specific clients. Rather, this solution is used only by large companies because it is expensive. The dedicated system includes an individually developed graphic template and functions selected in accordance with the needs of the customer. It is also usually designed to be as easy to use as possible. However, it also has some drawbacks. First, creating an original CMS is expensive. Moreover, it binds the client permanently with the agency that created it. It also happens that the level of its protection against hacker attacks is quite weak.
How to choose a CMS – the most popular solutions
Choosing a CMS is a completely individual matter. Certainly, you should take into account the security, functionality, performance and stability of a given system. In addition, it is worth checking how its operation looks – whether it is intuitive and comfortable enough. A very important aspect is also the possibility of website optimization. The more possibilities of using SEO tools, the better for the website’s visibility in the search engine, and thus for your business.
If you have specific, exorbitant requirements and the costs do not count for you, you can buy a dedicated CMS. Most website administrators, however, choose ready-made solutions. Read on for their most important features and functions below to make the right choice easier.
It is the most popular CMS in the world. It is an Open Source platform that is considered to be one of the simplest (if not the simplest). WordPress has many advantages. One is a huge community that creates countless templates, plugins and add-ons. Thanks to this, the system offers really wide possibilities of use. The intuitive administration panel should also be considered an advantage. This makes WordPress perfect even for people who do not know any programming language and are not familiar with complicated internet tools. WordPress is of course free, although some of the templates and plugins are paid. It is perfect for creating blogs and simple websites. However, in conjunction with WooCommerce, it can also be used to operate an online store. It is possible to use SEO tools – sites based on WordPress usually have no problems with positioning.
Joomla also belongs to the Open Source group. It used to be the first system in this category. It is more extensive, but also a bit less intuitive to use than WordPress. There are many tutorials and other educational materials to get familiar with the tool. Internet users can also seek help on discussion forums, although the number of people using this system is decreasing. It is a good choice for slightly more advanced users who have high expectations of CMS. It is also worth noting that the system has been translated into as many as 64 languages.
Drupal is an even more advanced system that works well for complex websites. It has an extensive administration panel and many functions that allow for efficient website management and the introduction of various modifications. Consequently, its operation is more complicated. In addition, it requires at least basic knowledge of HTML, PHP and CSS, so it is not intended for complete beginners.
Typo3 is a complex CMS with very large possibilities. It is very suitable for simple pages, although not very simple on its own. Therefore, it is recommended primarily for professionals and advanced users. It takes some time to get to know it well, but it is modular and comprehensive. There are several thousand extensions compatible with the system, which allow you to build exactly the website you dream about.
It is a comprehensive system often compared to WordPress or Joomla! It is not very complicated to use and is suitable for creating a variety of websites. It is also suitable for beginners because it is very intuitive and does not require specialist knowledge. However, compared to other similar tools, it has a small number of plugins. It is very good at SEO and allows for effective website positioning.
Blogger is simple software designed to create, as you might have guessed, blogs. It is a very good tool for beginners, but its possibilities are limited.
Which CMS to choose? It depends primarily on your skills and requirements, as well as the type of website you are building. The advantage of the above solutions, however, is that you can try them out for free. Familiarize yourself with the administration panel and the possibilities of several platforms, and the decision will be easier!
CMS for online stores
You can also find many CMSs on the web intended solely for creating online stores. They have features that are useful to e-commerce users. They are also often very user-friendly. The most popular solutions include:
– WooCommerce (used in conjunction with WordPress),
Both Open Source and SaaS platforms are available with varying levels of complexity. Therefore, everyone has a chance to find a tool that will satisfy them.
Advantages of CMS systems
Is a CMS necessary to create or run a website? Of course not. However, the popularity of this type of platform speaks for itself. Their main advantages are:
– facilitating work on creating, updating and modifying the website,
– intuitive operation, which means that you do not need experience or specialist knowledge to create websites, especially knowledge of programming languages,
– availability – most of these types of platforms are free,
– open code – most CMSs are Open Source platforms, which means you can use many plugins, templates and add-ons (as well as create your own!),
– the possibility of comprehensive management of the website content,
– the ability to take care of aspects related to SEO,
– the ability to create accounts with different permissions in the system,
– flexibility – the ability to create various types of websites, from one-page, through blogs, to multi-site portals and stores.
All this means that most of the websites on the Internet are currently created based on CMSs. This is a way for more people to manage published content on their own, and at the same time convenient tools for everyone.