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Content Management Systems

What is a Content Management System (CMS)

What’s the best content management system for you and your business? Depending on who you talk to you’ll get very different answers.

To make that decision it’s important to understand what a content management system is. At a very high level a content management system (abbreviated as CMS) is a web application that enables a company to manage their websites, videos, blogs, or any other digital media. Alternatively, some unique content management systems may provide a dashboard to manage your social media, but generally a CMS supports a website or a collection of websites. They typically consist of:

  • A front-end or public-facing website. This is what shows up in Google searches and what your customers/guests interact with. A single CMS may support multiple front-end websites.

  • An administrative back-end. This portion of your CMS is closed to the public and requires some sort of authentication to prevent unauthorized access. Logging into your administrative website gives you control over the front-end.

  • A database. Your admin website will communicate with a database, which will talk to your front-end website. The database holds the actual content for the website meaning the words, video files, images, URLs, etc. These databases are numerous and depend on what platform you eventually decide to use, but they all pretty much do the same thing with varying degrees of speed, performance, and security.

  • WYSIWYG Editing Capabilities (What you see is what you get) – The primary reason for the rise of the CMS is to give companies the ability to scale their website and manage their content without the help of a developer or IT department. The front-end website, admin website, and database work in harmony to provide your team with an easy-to-use interface for managing your website(s) without extensive knowledge of HTML or programming languages.

There are loads of content management systems on the market and different developers will push you in different directions depending on what they’re comfortable with and what their overall experience has been with different platforms. This is a very important factor in choosing the CMS that's right for you because before working with ReachFarther, many of our customers found out the hard way that not all developers are created equal.

Now that we've defined exactly what a content management system is and how it can benefit your business, let's take a look at a few other factors that will shape your decision when investing in a new website with a CMS.

  • Choosing the right design and development partner is a key factor in choosing the right CMS.   The right professionals are extremely important, and the wrong ones can lead to disaster.  Read our guide on How to Choose a Website Design Agency.
  • In terms of their structural platforms, content management systems fall into two primary buckets: proprietary and open source.  Review our primer on the differences and benefits of the two platforms.

Do you have questions about how a CMS can help your business?

Our web design professionals from Chicago or our web developers in Mendham can help explain things for you. Believe it or not we still use our telephones and will gladly talk with you to explain how we can help.  And if we can't, we'll try to get you to someone who can.

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