Content Management Systems (CMS) rank highly on my list of top business process time savers. Can you think of the last time you wanted to make a website text change? Add an extra page? Link them together? How many people need to be involved to do that?
If your website has more than 10 pages, you should be using a content management system. They enable people like you and me to easily make changes, create new content, and modify the navigation of the website. It also sets a good foundation for some great site-wide testing.
Content management systems should be easy to use. I like WordPress (this site is powered by it). I could bumble around in it and figure things out. When I got stuck, there are plenty of resources online to help me out. And best yet, there are thousands of developers familiar with it, who can write skins, themes and plugins to customize the look, feel, and functionality of the system at a pretty reasonable cost.
If you ever want to localize your content, having it stored in a CMS is a great way to start. You can easily export your content to translators in a format they can use to get started with their translations.
If you’re not yet sold on the benefits of using a CMS, consider the following side-by-side example. Imagine you received a letter from Widget Co’s Legal Department, and they are asking you to cease and desist using the phrase “Widgets are the bomb” on your website.
The old way of doing things:
- You search through each page of your website, and note the location of each appearance of the phrase.
- You make a request to your web designer / developer / or html department.
- You wait.
- You bug your boss.
- You wait some more.
- You review the changes on a staging server.
- You approve it.
- You wait for deployment.
The new way of doing things with a CMS:
- You search your content and make note of all pages where the phrase appears.
- You edit each page with the CMS tool.
- You’re finished; check it on the live website to confirm.
You see, there are less humans involved. Less humans means less chance for errors, and a whole lot shorter time-to-live. If you’re still doing things the old way, consider refreshing by using a CMS.
A CMS is not for every project. There are some things better off done manually. Look for my other posts on CMS to learn more about what CMS versus manual html coding is good for.