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Not so long ago, HTML was the bare minimum required to create and maintain a website. Today, however, it’s not necessary. All thanks to CMS – content management systems which manage websites without coding. Learn more about these engines and how to use them!
CMS = Content Management System
CMS stands for Content Management System. It’s a type of software used to publish content on websites, as well as to organize or modify them. CMS was created primarily to facilitate the operation of websites – especially those that are constantly updated and supplemented or contain a lot of content. These types of programs do not require users to know programming languages, and getting familiar with their functions is usually much easier than learning HTML or CSS. They are intended to be intuitive and relatively easy to use.
There are different types of CMS, but most of them are operated through a special administrative panel. This type of software works on the web – just go to the right page and log into the panel to get started. Through the system you can, among other things:
- add and modify articles,
- add and describe products, create categories and perform other activities related to store management,
- add media (photos, graphics, videos),
- create and change menu,
- manage page layout,
- update your offer,
- and even manage newsletters.
The exact range of functions and how to use them depends on the CMS you choose, but usually these types of programs are similar. Most also allow you to install additional modules that increase the functionality of the site (such as a rating or comment system, map, contact form, etc.).
Types of CMS
Content Management Systems can be divided into three main categories:
- Open Source,
- SaaS (Software as a Service),
- proprietary, dedicated.
Open Source systems (e.g. WordPress), which are based on open source code, are free and easily accessible. Users can create their own plugins, modules or graphic templates. Therefore, they usually offer very broad possibilities. Of course, their great advantage is free access (although plugins or templates are often paid). Open source systems are usually very safe, but you should remember about frequent updates.
SaaS-type CMS (e.g. Shoper) are subscription platforms – usually paid on a monthly basis. Users do not have access to the code of the site, and the capabilities of such programs are usually quite limited. However, access only to basic functions and lack of possibility to use dedicated solutions affects the ease of use of this type of systems.
Author’s CMS (dedicated) are created for the needs of specific customers. This solution is rather used only by large companies, because it’s expensive. A dedicated system includes a custom graphic template and functions selected according to the needs of the customer. It’s also usually created with a view to maximum simplicity of use. However, it also has some disadvantages. Firstly, creating a proprietary CMS is expensive. Moreover, it binds the client permanently with the agency that created it. It also happens that the level of its security against hacking attacks is quite poor.
How To Choose a CMS – the Most Popular Solutions
Choosing a CMS is a completely individual issue. Certainly you should take into account the security, functionality, performance or stability of the system. In addition, it’s worth checking how it looks like to use it – whether it’s intuitive and comfortable enough. A very important aspect is also the possibility of site optimization. The more opportunities to use SEO tools, the better for your website’s visibility in the search engine and thus for your business.
If you have precise and demanding requirements and costs don’t matter, you can buy a dedicated CMS. However, most website administrators opt for ready-made solutions. Read below about their most important features and functions, and making the right choice will be easier.
This is the most popular CMS in the world, very often used also by Polish Internet users. It’s an open source platform, which is considered to be one of the simplest (if not the simplest). There are many advantages of WordPress. One of them is the huge community involved in creating countless templates, plugins and add-ons. Thanks to that, the system creates really wide possibilities of use. The intuitive admin panel should also be considered as an advantage for sure. This makes WordPress ideal even for people who do not know any programming language and are not familiar with complicated web tools. WordPress is of course free, although some of the templates or plugins are paid. It’s ideal primarily for creating blogs and simple websites. However, in combination with WooCommerce, it can also be used to operate an online store. It’s possible to use SEO tools – sites built on WordPress usually have no problems with positioning.
Joomla also belongs to the Open Source group. It used to be the first system from this category. It’s more complex, but also a little 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’s a good choice for slightly more advanced users who have high expectations from the CMS. It’s also worth noting that the system has been translated into as many as 64 languages (including Polish).
Drupal is an even more advanced system that works well with complex websites. It has an extensive administration panel and many features that allow you to efficiently manage the site and make various modifications. Its operation is more complicated. Moreover, it requires at least basic knowledge of HTML, PHP and CSS, so it’s not suitable for complete beginners.
Typo3 is an advanced CMS with immense capabilities. It’s very suitable for uncomplicated websites, although it’s not very simple itself. Therefore, it’s recommended primarily for professionals and advanced users. It takes some time to get to know it well, but it’s modular and comprehensive. There are several thousand extensions compatible with the system, which allow you to build exactly the website you dream about.
This versatile system is often compared to WordPress or Joomla! It’s not very complicated to use and is suitable for creating a variety of websites. It’s also suitable for beginners because it’s very intuitive and requires no expert knowledge. Compared to other similar tools, however, it has a small number of plugins. It’s very good with SEO and allows for effective positioning of the website.
Blogger is a simple software designed to create, as you can easily guess, blogs. It’s a very good tool for beginners, but its capabilities are limited.
Which CMS to choose? This depends primarily on your skills and requirements, as well as the type of site you are building. However, the advantage of the above solutions is that you can try them for free. Familiarize yourself with the administration panel and the capabilities of several platforms, and your decision will be easier!
CMS for online stores
On the web, you can also find many CMSs designed exclusively for creating online stores. They have features that are useful for e-commerce users. They are also often very affordable to use. Some of the most popular solutions include:
- WooCommerce (used in conjunction with WordPress),
Both open source and SaaS platforms are available with different levels of complexity. Therefore, everyone has a chance to find a tool that satisfies them.
The 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 the work of creating, updating and modifying a website,
- intuitive operation, thanks to which creating a website does not require any experience or specialist knowledge, especially knowledge of programming languages,
- availability – most platforms of this type are free,
- open code – most CMS are open source platforms, which means that you can use many plugins, templates and add-ons (and also create your own!)
- the ability to comprehensively manage the content of the site,
- the ability to take care of aspects related to the positioning of the site in Google and other search engines (SEO),
- The possibility to create accounts with different permissions in the system,
- flexibility – possibility to create different types of websites, starting from one-page, through blogs, up to multi-company portals or stores
Nowadays most of the websites on the Internet are created based on CMS. It’s a way for more people to manage published content on their own, and at the same time it’s a convenient tool for everyone.