A Basic Guide to the Top Content Management Systems
In order to address current market scenario and continuously evolving business strategies, organizations are adapting CMSs (Content Management Systems) like Joomla, Drupal, Wix, Squarespace, Typo3, WordPress Development (The most preferred CMS worldwide) etc. to seamlessly manage their content without the assistance of technological experts.
CMSs have changed the website development trend. From driving an e-commerce business to run a personal blog, they are taking recourse of CMS as it offers an opportunity to independently manage and drive customized functionality suited to unique business need to drive efficiency and ensure scalable growth.
History of CMSs
Ever wondered which was the first CMS platform? It was FileNet introduced by IBM, bloomed in the early 1990s and utilized to manage the enterprise’s content & processes.
In the mid-1990s when we were managing to handle our static HTML pages, the only thing that stood dynamic was e-commerce sites.
People were only bothered about their e-commerce sites but when PHP showed up in the late 1990s, people shifted to this programming language as it was seen as the only means to edit or modify the web pages.
Fascinated by this approach, many people started utilizing these content management systems & making big bucks out of it. These CMSs made the task of uploading photos, writing stories, alterations in the web-pages, very feasible.
In early 2000, few open-source CMSs like Mambo, Drupal and other alternatives came into existence. Near that time, they were used marginally, it was in 2004 when they started to have prime utilization.
The Rise in Custom CMSs software
Content became vital to support critical growth in SEO Content is the king and up-to-date information is a must, to support the vital Search Engine Optimization, SEO, efforts, thereby making it imperative to develop customized CMS platforms that can help ventures in redefining their digital experience.
Nearly 43.7% of websites across the globe don’t use any kind of CMS. That means either they are coding line-by-line to change the content in a timely fashion or are sticking to obsolete content (a no-no when you are competing at a digital space) – sounds unbelievable, right!
By keeping the technical jargon to the minimum, below we share what different kinds of CMS are, how it manipulates the content of any website without seeking the help of webmasters, the major players of content management systems with their pros & cons, type of CMS, and why you may need a CMS platform at this time.
What CMS is? An Overview
If we have to place it in a simple language, CMS aka content management system is a well-programmed application software whose pervasive role is to manage & manipulate the creation, modification & publication of the digital content elements (images, videos, documents & functionalities) throughout the website without the need of digging inside the coding part. No need of technical knowledge & dependency on webmasters.
There are basic CMSs that will help you to edit, modify or revamp the content part while there are few extreme ones that won’t restrict you with just editing part but will also help in – indexing the web content, pose security measures, establish multilingual support, reap SEO insights and much more.
Customized CMS web development lets users’ add additional capabilities to their admin panels of modern-day websites – via installing extensions, plug-ins (do you know WordPress development offers 50,000+ plugin options?), the general public licensed themes (again, WordPress has over 3,000+ GPL approved themes), designs, tools etc.
Content Management Systems & Its Vivid Scope
Content management system is limitless & doesn’t restrict to only E-commerce & blogging and could be greatly seen in the sectors where information generation & transfer is humongous & communication over online network is much-needed – be it eCommerce, travel & tourism, retail sites, banking & financial units and many more with content overload – each industry or niche now needs it – to manipulate & republish their content in a quick turnaround.
CMS has helped in the evolvement of websites for different industrial setups – earlier these websites were nothing but were more of a brochure/pamphlet sort, without any intuitive or interactive elements – a site with plain, outdated messages, a couple of pixelated images, followed by a contact address – this is how entrepreneurial websites used to look like in old times.
To future-proof the CMSs, corporates are now investing in web technologies & management systems that correlate to the dynamic nature of future needs. We could see the rise of cloud CMS that runs as a Saas model, headless CMS that is a great fit for IoT connected devices, AR/VR CMSs that will make the business storytelling more realistic & appealing by displaying the images or content in a raw 3D context.
CMSs have come a long way, from the management of static content pages to redefining the web pages via virtual reality features. And more is on the way, as more and more brick & mortar stores are unfolding themselves as “digitally available”.
How a regular CMS will help to create desired websites
A plethora of web users believe that CMSs are all about blogging or enhancing its experience – that’s not the whole truth. Yes, initially they were constructed while keeping the word blogging in mind but a lot has changed over time & so do these CMSs. They can be easily customized around any website niche or requirement.
This is what your CMS is most suited for:
- Websites that are centered around content creation & its sharing.
- For tutorial web pages, blog pages, news sites, portfolios & much more.
- Driving online forums & private membership sites.
- If you get hands-on right CMS tools, you can extend your scope by developing online stores integrated with customized functionality.
Before we jump to understanding how CMS works, let’s explore what sort of features modern-day CMSs should have?
- Tools for page editing: Apart from publishing the content, your website would require multiple pages, and to manage that, your CMS must be equipped accordingly.
- Openness to customization: A robust CMS platform should be open to customization at any necessary point of time, that means, if the website author, editor or manager wants to embed an intrinsic feature to their website, it must be simplified to do that.
- Great support of radioactive online CMS communities: You certainly wouldn’t want your website to fall in a whirlpool of difficulties, right? To avoid that, it’s best to dig deep for a management system that has a large user & developer community base, this way, you won’t fall victim to “lack of updates”, would have a major grip on security patches, and will seek knowledge from a proficient peer – constantly.
- Options to make content classifications: When you are dealing with exhaustive content, it gets difficult to operate them without putting them in a serial or managed order. That’s what makes having a CMS more important, firstly, it creates hassle-free categories to your content & secondly, it assigns tags to different articles – to help you to have a manageable website.
- An editor that is highly functional than a notepad: A management system should be much more than a typing editor, it must be smart enough to foretell the mistakes, lay suggestions & any additional attribute that can help your content become optimized, rectified & most-readable.
These were the 5-top features that modern-day management systems must highlight, although these features may vary depending on the type of web pages they are utilized for. However, as long as the word “ customized” is attached to your CMS, you can easily work on the desired capabilities.
Let’s now decode the fact of what these mega CMS platforms do and how they work – “take the notes”.
What do basic to high-powered CMS platforms do?
- CMSs help to define the flow of content – like where it should go and how it must look – without digging deep into the technicalities.
- They help to program well the recurring elements like text blocks, headers, display, pictures & more so that authors or content strategist can lay more focus on creation, customization & contribution of content elements rather than worrying about the technical specifications like updates & maintenance.
- Inside companies, CMSs are run alongside various other digital applications, to crucially support & maintain the organization’s digital image very well.
- CMSs extend more of a DIY (Do-it-yourself) platform for the user to manage, modify & update the content in a more sophisticated manner.
- If we look at the earlier versions of the CMSs, that were being used with heavy reliance on developers & designers to tweak even a single word, but that’s not the case with today’s CMS & even non-technical users can access such without any difficulty. They ultimately help the organizations to work dynamically within the constructed deadlines.
Different types of CMSs & their functionalities
Content management systems are of various kinds, here, we will highlight a few & most common kinds based on technical features & their relationship between presentation & the content. They are:
- Managed VS Hosted CMS
- Traditional CMS
- Headless CMS
- Hybrid CMS
1. Managed VS Hosted CMS
Managed CMS, is the one where all the technicalities & the site management part is done by the third-party providers, it could be via giants like Shopify, WordPress, Weebly & many others. If we have to jot down its pros, a few could be continuous development, a software that is up-to-date and active community support.
But there are a few cons as well, here the editors or site managers lose control over the design elements, ownership of the contents, features of the site & many other factors.
If we talk about hosted CMS, they are your separate piece of software where you can host it easily either on your enterprise’s server or on other third-party hosting providers. The best part, with them, you can manage the functionality of the website, get to do the easy integrations as the whole control is over with you.
If we have to talk about the disadvantages, here you are on your own, from security to design to updating, you have to manage all alone – but it won’t be a problem if you are already an IT professional or planning to hire WordPress developer or Drupal developer.
2. Traditional CMS
This is the earlier time of CMS where editors have full swing control over the URL handling, editing of the landing page, access to detailed control & media repository (a way to edit & apply the reused images & media files) and much more.
Wherein, at the same time, the developers at work can easily knit the codes, test them & deploy the editorial & functional features for end-users.
The CMSs have exponentially marked themselves in the list of “full-scale marketing suites” as this software alone is capable of managing, optimizing & editing the content along with the user-experience over all the targeted digital touch-points
But these traditional CMS are limited as they are often prepared for just one platform that is the “web” but when we are living in the world of digital advancements, we can’t forget devices like mobile phones, palm-tops like tablets & smartwatches. Thus, it makes the task of multi-channel presentation a very tedious job.
3. Headless CMS
Content consumption today has become different, ever since a variety of smart devices have penetrated in the market – like smartphones, tablets, smartwatches, robots, self-service machines & other stuff. And each device has different requirements & specifications in terms of content placement & management – don’t you think so? Does it mean that we have to sit down & weave down a separate software for each device?
Hell no! Because it is stressful, time-consuming & most of all expensive, you can’t spend time in the rotting of such a process, where you are supposed to focus on your BigCommerce themes or strategies for eCommerce development – isn’t it?
Here comes Headless CMS (a one-software solution for all channels). Here the two key factors are “head” which is the presentation and “body” which is the content.
It doesn’t tweak out the content part but rather manages the presentation part, to make it accessible on all devices – be it apps, tablets, watches or any other smart machines/devices.
How does headless CMS work?
The developers connect the two software via API (application programming interface), they use RESTful API (JSON, XML) as a tool that makes it easy to share & communicate the data over different devices. The editor may add the content, while the API will help in sharing the content. For instance, you can see how banks share their content & information to ATMs & other smart devices.
Though headless CMS reap the benefit as “one size fits all” approach, there are few areas that define how this software is still lagging- the developer for each new client & their devices has to constructively manage & outlook carefully the formatting issues, permissions, caching, link handling & templating.
4. Hybrid CMS
With the popularity of headless CMS, many traditional CMS vendors have pulled out web-based content APIs. In competition, this type of CMS is now named Hybrid or decoupled CMS.
Here you get the liberty to maintain a standard website while also managing the presentation of the content over different platforms.
A top-notch hybrid must be very-well effective in handling the rich media, structured content over different building pages and most importantly, it must be in support of a variety of programming languages.
And now we are finished with the types, by now, you must be in doubt about how to choose a suitable CMS as selecting the right one is very important. Fret not, we’ll help you:
What CMS type to choose?
- For basic website needs – go for traditional CMS.
- For application or software intertwined via IoT components, having limited editorial requirements – go with Headless CMS.
- For a project with extensive web content, editorial requirements, URL handling, reusing of media & content files and special hosting needs – go with Hybrid CMS.
4 best CMS platform options
Here are the top 4 selected CMSs based on their functionality & extended capabilities. Off we go…
1.The king of all “WordPress”
Earlier & somehow still, WordPress was/is perceived as a CMS platform that is upright only for blogging – it’s no true as the platform has extended its capabilities leveraging a vast kinds of GPL themes & plugins (almost 50,000+), it is easy now to develop online stores, private sites & forums out of it. Even 28% of eCommerce development goes through WooCommerce (yes, a plugin for WordPress).
“Nearly 118 billion words were published on WordPress in 2016”.
WordPress has gained prominence as a top-notch content management software – that allows simplified posting & publishing of content, rectification & modification as it has high-powered editors. The platform has a huge community of developers & users which allows frequent updates & features within the circle, along with easy user registration.
Top highlights of this CMS software for WordPress Development
- It can be customized with the support of thousands of plugins & themes.
- Proffers a predictive & smart editor to customize the content with ease.
- A strong & radioactive community that renders constant updates & the newest functionalities.
- Intuitive publishing & content management tools or options.
“WordPress (WP) is available in 50 languages & is expected to reach over 160 languages – non-English WP downloads are more than the English downloads.”
2.The second most favorite “ Joomla”
Joomla competes alongside WordPress but offers great flexibility. It is a great host when one has to manage a variety of custom post types (different types of content).
That means, it is a suitable choice for platforms where text content is used largely & effective user management is required.
“300+ Joomla websites are added daily to the web circle”.
“Currently, 2.5 million active sites are running over Joomla”, and it fits quite appropriately for the membership-based sites (a site where subscribers can only view or access the content part – good for those who are seeking security & rigid ownership).
You don’t need to add-on plugins & extensions to add multiple languages as it gives “multilingual support”.
And lastly, you can easily use a variety of themes & templates, all at once, for your different types of content.
Top highlights of Joomla CMS software for web or e-commerce need
- Smart & advanced user management tools & options.
- Multilingual support for websites with multiple translations.
- Unique & different templates for each page type.
- Great support for different types of content.
3. Another heroic open-source CMS “Drupal”
This software channels on the same path as Joomla as it also extends flexibility in dealing with custom post types, gives high-end access to users & their permissions, and also supports multiple language scripts.
Drupal, however, also has its own kinds of features, its taxonomy system (the task of classifying & grouping things) is on par as compared to its competitors.
Security? This management systems aces when it comes to security as compared to its competitors WordPress & Joomla.
Top highlights of Drupal CMS for web or e-commerce need
- Top-notch security patches
- High-end taxonomy system.
- Smart user management & permission settings.
- Good support of multilingual scripts.
- Flexibility in management & custom post type.
4. The eCommerce development favorite CMS “Magento”
WordPress integrated with WooCommerce is a prime choice for e-commerce needs but alongside Magento is another most used platform that weaves quality online stores.
The major difference between these two giants “WooCommerce” & “Magento” is that – WooCommerce is placed on another platform, whereas, Magento is rooted & self-made from a complete eCommerce framework – which makes it easy for users to build online stores, manage its products & provide smooth navigation. Plus, the framework offers plenty of extensions to easily enhance the functionality of the online stores.
This framework is dedicatedly for those who are looking for a complete eCommerce suite.
The software is a free-source & open to install but users who are thriving for more extreme & sustainable features might have to go with its paid version named “Magento Commerce”.
The other notable free-source CMS software of 2019
- And the list goes on and on…
CMS plug-ins & their few popular types
Till now, we are clear with what CMSs are, now let’s focus on its plug-ins. In simple terms, the plug-in is an assembly of certain codes that helps in adding extra or additional features to the website.
Those who are looking for modules that can help in creating quick drag & drop buttons or more to add & improve functionalities of the website must know these few plug-ins with CMS giants, here they are:
1. WordPress Plug-ins: This host offers thousands of free-to-install plugins to enhance the UI/UX experience & security over the web:
- Yoast SEO, helps in improving & enhancing the website’s SEO.
- Contact Form 7, it manages multiple contact forms.
- Akismet, it prevents websites from publishing spam or malicious content.
- WooCommerce, cost & headache-free platform to build customized eCommerce solutions.
2. Joomla Plug-ins: Joomla is the most complex CMS to handle, offers a variety of extensions & one of its extensions are its plug-ins. Few of them are:
- Akeeba Backup, keep, schedule, and manage backup to ensure data security.
- SJ Mega Menu, to ensure that your site is mobile optimized.>
- JSitemap, to seamlessly submit your content to Google WebMasters.
- AdminExile, To prevent unauthorized attacks to your admin page.
3. Drupal Plug-ins: In Drupal, the term plug-in is replaced with “modules” and it has thousands of modules that you can download to extend the functionality of your website, let’s list some of them:
- Admin Toolbar, helps to improve the user experience while rescuing the worthy efforts of developers.
- XML Sitemap, to streamline your content submission to the Google WebMasters.
- Google Analytics, to avail key web statistics and analytics to work accordingly.
- Link Checker, to check and fix broken links to support web search engine performance.
Apart from these, there are a variety of free as well as paid plug-ins that are available with different CMSs – to extend your web page’s capabilities & functionalities.
How can CMS be a treat for enterprises?
Every enterprise needs to weigh down the reasons defining how investing in content management systems could be a worthy choice. Here we are helping you with some, check them out:
- Makes room for effective team collaboration & content sharing: CMS helps to enhance the communication & content sharing within the team by streamlining collaboration, data automation, process management & workflow.
- While you blink, the content updates are done: CMS easily helps to structure, modify & manage the content over the website – without relying on webmasters, that too in real-time. The content is always fresh & up-to-date.
- CMS is not only a wealthy business concept:Alongside offering flexible, scalable & time-oriented results – CMS is cost-effective too. They can be made customized to any business’s budget, be it for small scale, mid-size or even individuals. Their effective usage for content placement will help websites reap more revenue & traffic in a short period.
- You don’t have to sit at one place to operate it: Approaches like on-the-go & remote access have become prime for businesses. Modern CMSs extend connectivity & accessibility from any corners of the world – with just a hardware device & an internet connection. Feasible right!
- Easy custom permissions: You can easily assign permission for the site’s usage to certain people yet debar them from access, smoothly.
- Quick & fast integrations: CMSs hold the information/content in the form of databases rather than in the format of codes weaved on each web page – this makes it easy to maintain & extract them when the need arises to integrate the website with the new dynamic content (by replacing the old static one) arises.
- User-friendly features: Along with distributing contents, making updates, deletions & certain alterations – CMS also helps in making the content retrievable, reusable & searchable.
Apart from above all, CMS helps in supporting web’s multi-lingual scripts, ushers great automation process capabilities (great deal for optimizing IT costs & resources).
CMS can be counted as a most sought-after digital business tool as it improves the site’s usability & offers collaborative tools to mainstream communication & productivity within the organization.
Broad reasons defining how content management systems are needed by businesses
We have learned until now what CMSs are, how they channel & are great for each business kind – now we will broadly focus on how CMSs are need of the hour for the whole IT spectrum. CMSs are much more than content publishing & streamlining of web publishing – they are directly proportional to shaping business’s communication & productivity – as talked previously – let’s find out how:
1. They polish your workflow
- Things can get messier when the pool of people are involved in the incarnation of websites, in today’s fast-tracking time – it’s tough to bring communication between the designers, developers & content writers to work on shaping or redefining the website. With CMS, designers are directed to only focus on the CSS, while writers are liable to tune & publish the content – without making a continuous communication – isn’t this looking like a streamlined workflow.
2. Web pages that are standardized & uniformly accepted
It is said that too many cooks spoil the broth, here, too many designers are likely to put up a sloppy web page.
- Wouldn’t a site look scary if it has designs & elements from all designers with their taste, all in one platter? Thereby, CMS with templates & themes come into the rescue to help you set up a uniform, standardized & well-organized layout & appeal throughout the site.
- This forbids each designer from creating his/her own design elements & following a clean, ready-to-implement and widely accepted templates & themes.
- The themes & templates can be customized & purchased according to each site’s functionality. Digitally defined businesses with these themes & templates can get the desired user-retention.
3. Brings in effect a smart & optimized website
- CMS can easily help you define your content marketing strategy by collecting the data on traffic, leads & sales. Not only that, it helps to optimize the title, content, their keywords & meta descriptions as well – and even suggests best practices while you type your content.
- Businesses to accelerate, do need to have a tight grip on SEO efforts to attain top-most ranking in the SERP.
- You can have a customized CMS like HubSpot made from scratch if SEO practices are vital to you in today’s time (we know for sure, they are vital to you).
4. A great tool to effective in-house or out-house team collaboration
- CMS lets you build a team that can collaborate & communicate, even if the team is situated in the far-flung areas.
- The assigning of tasks & user permission becomes immensely easy & fast.
- Today’s businesses being set up in remote locations could use a tailor-made CMS platform to enhance their communication model & time in performing things.
These were the 4 great reasons signifying how CMSs are a great need of today & are a direct tool to streamline communication and day-to-day processes.
5 ways to shortlist the best modern-day CMS platform for Enterprise IT needs
Publishing & editing content over the web interface requires keen-eye as well as a well-suited content management system, let’s evaluate those 5 keys to shortlist the best modern-day CMS type.
- Is this CMS secure against web threats? Surely you don’t want to fall victim to a data hack or breach, from your part, dig into your CMS’s features & find out if it is actionable against threatful attempts. Find what all it does to make your system hack-proof.
- Is this/that CMS SEO friendly? The main aim of every online business would be to mark its name in top SERP’s. If the CMS isn’t compatible with SEO efforts, then there is no point in having it.
- Can it integrate metrics for web analytics? A CMS should integrate well with web analytics site’s tools like Google Analytics or Google Webmaster Tools to help in identifying & tracking the performance metric.
- Does it offer a great editor? A right CMS will have a robust & effective editor – to help in uploading documents, images, text, media files, effortlessly.
- Is there any licensing fee? If you are on a budget, it is a must-have deal as your preferred CMS doesn’t have any license fee involved. There are plenty of free-to-install CMSs as well that charges a fee for providing additional extensions or updates (make sure to identify them).