Content Management Systems (CMS)
Websites get many immediate benefits from being built in a content management system. That's because content management systems are a graphical user interface that lets you pull and display data from a database. Rather than having to write the code for each web page, the system lets you focus on the content and handles the vast majority of technical processes, in the background.
How do Content Management Systems work?
In very general terms, a content management system builds dynamic web pages. Your data is all kept in a database, made up of a bunch of tables. There's a table for menus, for blog posts, for users, etc. Each row on that table is a new entry, so one row per blog post, one per menu, one per user, and so on. A special table worth mentioning is for themes.
A theme is a bunch of CSS (or Cascading Style Sheet) code that acts as an instruction manual for your website's design. It dictates what fonts are used, how big they are, where images are placed, the colors, columns, and layout of your website.
Each row would have a column for each component of that entry. Your blog post rows would each have a column for the title, the author, the publish date, and so on.
The system lets you edit each of the cells from those tables in a graphical user interface (or GUI). Cells for content are replaced with mini word processors, text fields, drop-down menus, and a whole slew of other editors.
These web pages are dynamic, which means that they are assembled from those tables every time you load the page. The system pulls the tables from the database, reads the data in each row and then applies rules and layouts found in another table to organize and display your content. It does this any time the data changes in the database.
Content Management Systems grant many benefits
Make web page management user-friendly
Content management systems use What You See Is What You Get editors (WYSIWYG). Rather than writing the content in HTML code, you just type it out into a word processor-like field. The text is styled with buttons in the editor and media can be embedded with simple menus.
It eliminates the need to know coding languages like HTML. WYSIWYG editors also have an option to switch to a source code editor, so if you DO know coding languages, you can use it as well.
Design and content are separate
Since the layouts and design of the website are kept separate, you can easily make changes to the one without affecting the other. This makes it much simpler to edit your content without affecting the design of the website.
Extensible without coding
Non-technical users can add completely new features to a CMS by using extensions like plugins or modules. These are pre-written mini-applications that can improve or alter how your website functions. They are often downloaded and installed with a few button clicks in the website's administrator pages.
Content Management Systems ensure consistent branding
Save time with templates
Content Management systems use templates to simplify the page creation process. Without a template, you'd have to write out the code for the header image, the navigation menu, the logo, and everything else on the screen, every time you create a page. You'd also have to review it to make sure it was consistent with the rest of the website.
Make sitewide changes quickly and easily.
By editing the data in your database, your changes will propagate out to every instance of the website that calls that data. As a practical example, you can change the font size of all the links, and the color of all of the buttons of a specific type (say, info buttons) with a few commands in the database. That change will then be applied to every instance of those links and buttons, rather than having to make that change individually. This is a huge time saver.
Collaborate with teams
Since content, files, and other media are kept on the web server, they're available to everyone on your web team. They can be easily used, again and again, by other content administrators. This has an added bonus if you already have web developers on your team. By removing the day-to-day management of the website from their workload, they can focus on more technical tasks and improvements for your website, improving the effectiveness of your investment.
Professionalize your process with workflows
Permissions and roles
You can approve users and manage their permissions, either via a role-based system or permissions system.
Role-based systems set certain privileges to everyone in a certain role: Authors can create content, but only Editors can publish or delete it, to use WordPress as an example. These systems allow you to save time by quickly granting a user a bundle of abilities via a simple drop-down menu.
In a permissions-based system (like Drupal), each user can be assigned specific privileges by checking boxes. So specific users can be allowed to:
- create blog posts,
- edit blog posts,
- submit them for review,
- read messages in the contact menu (but not delete them),
- create new pages (but not publish them),
- view internal pages (but not edit them),
and so on. This kind of system is great if you need to get really granular about who can do what, where, and when.
Quality control through moderation
You are also able to set moderation rules, requiring someone to submit their content for review by someone else with higher permissions. This lets you control what is displayed on your website.
Both WordPress and Drupal keep records and logs of who has made changes to your website. Depending on your installation, you also have the ability to revert to earlier versions of your web pages, in case something goes wrong.
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Content Management Systems (CMS)
From Drupal to WordPress to a completely custom Content Management System, we have extensive experience in integrating the perfect CMS to fit your website needs.