A Beginner’s Guide To Content Management Systems

October 8th, 2013 - Posted by Steve Marks to Web Development.

If you’re looking into getting a new website at the moment, you might have seen the term ‘Content Management System’, also called ‘CMS’ for short, show up a lot. But what exactly is a CMS? And why do you need one for your site? This post hopes to answer all of these questions.

What is a Content Management System

A CMS is, well, exactly what it says on the tin. A system that allows you to manage your content. Linked directly to your website it gives you the ability to change the text, add pictures, add and remove pages, post blog articles, and sometimes even change the site’s colours and logo.

In most cases this can be done via a secure control panel, thus ensuring that you and your colleagues are the only ones that have the ability to edit the website.

Let’s take a look at a few examples of what a CMS can do by comparing the control panel to the actual website. The screenshots below refer to a Content Management System called WordPress, however all software should give the same functionality.

Edit Page Content


Arrange Navigation Menus


Manage Galleries and Portfolios

As you can see from the screenshots above, there is a direct correlation between the CMS and the website. As soon as updates are made to text or graphics, these are instantly reflected on the public facing site.

Advantages of using a CMS

  • Reduced cost in the long term as you don’t have to get a third party to make updates.
  • Allows multiple users to have their own login details and collaborate on content.
  • Due to not having to wait for a third-party to make the updates on your behalf, updates are made as and when you require.
  • Makes managing a blog easier. Blogging is great for SEO so the more you can post, the better.
  • The majority of Content Management Systems handle on-site SEO on your behalf by setting titles and meta tags, so you don’t have to.
  • There are thousands of free add-ons and plugins for existing CMS’s, meaning adding extra functionality is normally a quick and easy task. For example, adding an online store is made easier by using existing plugins available.

Disadvantages of using a CMS

  • A slightly higher initial cost to get the CMS implemented into your website.
  • Frequent security and maintenance updates are required. The creators of Content Management Systems are often releasing upgrades and bug fixes so it’s best to keep your version up-to-date.
  • They are often slightly more resource intensive meaning hosting may be slightly more expensive.

Popular Content Management Systems

There a number of off-the-shelf Content Management Systems available online. Each have their own benefits so it’s best to choose one which meets your needs. Below are a list of the most popular for you to look at:




Expression Engine


Need Help?

If you’re looking to add a Content Management System to a new or existing website we can help you to get this setup. We are also on hand to answer any questions, or advise on which CMS might be best for you. Simply get in touch and we’ll be happy to help.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, October 8th, 2013 at 8:52 am by +Steve Marks and is filed under Web Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

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