Description of a CMS

A Content Management System (CMS) makes it easy for non-technical contributors to maintain and expand their website. A CMS uses software and a database to manage and organize website content.  Once a visitor makes a request to the website, the CMS selects the correct content and displays it in a custom interface template.

Benefits of a Content Management System

Separation of design, structure, and content

The division of these three layers allows many advantages throughout the life cycle of the website.   Each area of the site can be recreated and adjusted independent of the other areas.  The design layer can be completely reworked for a new user interface without the need for any adjustments to structure or content. The structure can be adjusted for additional functionality with no changes required to design and content.  Content can be changed with no need to adjust the front-end design or functional structure.  The separation of these three areas creates the flexible strength of a content management system.

Content production without programming or design experience

A Content Management System allows the editor to interact with the site in several ways.  The CMS provides a graphical user interface that allows the editor to create content, add images and multimedia files, create content schedules, and much more.

Other Common advantages of a CMS:

  • Decentralized maintenance.
    Based on a common web browser. Editing anywhere, anytime removes bottlenecks.
  • Designed with non-technical content authors in mind.
    People with average knowledge of word processing can create the content directly. No HTML knowledge needed.
  • Configurable access restrictions.
    Users are assigned roles and permissions that prevent them from editing content which they are not authorized to change.
  • Consistency of design is preserved.
    Because content is stored separate from design, the content from all authors is presented with the same, consistent design.
  • Navigation is automatically generated and adjusted.
    Menus are typically generated automatically based on the database content and links will not point to non-existing pages.
  • Content is stored in a database.
    Central storage means that content can be reused in many places on the website and formatted for any device (web browser, mobile phone/WAP, PDA, print).
  • Dynamic content.
    Extensions like forums, polls, shopping applications, searching, news management are typically modules.
  • Cooperation.
    Encourages faster updates, generates accountability for authored content (logs) and cooperation between authors.
  • Content scheduling.
    Content publication can often be time-controlled, hidden for later use or require user login with password.