All about Content Management system (CMS)

Content Management system or CMS gives you the power to control and manage the content of your website. This quite an uncomplicated system is a boon to those website owners who do not have any technical training. They can easily add or delete images and edit text in their web site using CMS system. CMS takes care of a website right from its creation, management, distribution, publishing and archiving of the corporate information. Despite its popularity across the internet, many organizations are still not very familiar with the technology.

Definition of content management system (CMS)

A Content Management System, more popularly known as CMS is basically a software application that helps to create, customize and manage information. Now the software can be used alone or in conjunction with many different applications. The software can be set up on your own computer, internet or on a network.

One of the many reasons for this to be so popular is that one can create powerful websites in a jiffy that just don’t need a high level programming knowledge for the set up, customization and maintenance. It also empowers one to manage the structure and appearance of the published pages of a website and navigation.

Typically, a CMS is a sum of two elements. The first is CMA or content management application and the second is CDA or the content delivery application. The CMA element allows the author to take care of the creation, modification and removal of content from the published pages of his website without seeking the expertise of a webmaster. The CDA element uses the same information to compile and update the website content. The quintessential features of CMS include format management, page publishing, revision and indexing, search and retrieval of texts and data.

Types of CMS

CMS is of two main types:

  1. Proprietary CMS

  2. Open Source CMS.

Proprietary CMS

There are many companies that sell their own proprietary CMS. “Propriety” means the company owns the rights to the CMS application and one has to buy a license from the company to use it. In most of the cases, the license holders are restricted to using the application in its original form and they cannot duplicate or bring any alterations to it. In order to do so, the person has to buy a more expensive license from the owner company called “developer’s license”. There are companies offering advanced CMS package that allows large organizations to gain access to a sophisticated CMS system at an affordable price. The advanced CMS packages have a multitude of features and systems that can create a large complex modern website.

You have to learn the terms and conditions associated with the propriety CMS before signing on the contract. Sometimes, the owner company designs the CMS in a way that it can be used outside the creator’s company only when you choose the owner company to host your website. If you choose to move the domain of your site, the website created using the tools of the propriety company may stop working or may require you to change its format. The biggest pitfall of propriety CMS is that it arrests your freedom as an owner of the website. Most importantly, the cost incurred in buying the license would be heavy on your budget, especially, if you are a newbie in the business. Also, you will have a very limited option to choosing your web hosting company.

Open Source CMS

Content Management system

This is the most popular CMS that runs on PHP. The reason for its popularity is the fact that the open source programs can be used by anyone for any purpose. And the best part is that you don’t have to buy any license to use the application. The three different types of Open source CMS are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. These can be customized at your discretion and you don’t have to ask for any special permission to do so. Their basic underlying principle is to work right out of the box and this is that quality that has made the world goes gaga over them.

These are a few significant benefits listed below:

  • Open source CMS applications are cheap. You don’t have to pay any fee for license and upgrades. You don’t have to sign any contract or make long term commitments.

  • You don’t need to hire a developer to use OS applications as you can find numerous free modules, complimentary tools and plug-ins.

  • If we talk about search engines, be it Google, Yahoo or any other, all are in love with OS CMS. Especially, WordPress, since only simple plug in tools are required to optimize it.

So, Which OS CMS to choose?

WordPress: This application is best suited for those with small businesses and who don’t need to learn advanced technical skills. WordPress is ideal for those looking to open their own blogs or personal websites. WordPress has the maximum free templates and plugins available today. WordPress was actually developed as a blogging tool which is now being used in the making of complicated websites.

Joomla: Joomla is a powerful tool despite the fact that it takes a little longer to set up. Joomla can create complicated websites and it can also be used as blogging software. Few biggies using the tool are Porche, Vodaphone, Olympus etc.

Drupal: This is the mightiest of all. So much so, that even the white house turned to it ditching its propriety CMS owner. Using this tool can be a real game for a hard core programmer. Linux Foundation, Stanford University, McDonald’s etc use Drupal.

Well! As the popular saying goes, “Try everything that is free unless it takes your life!” Since they are free, just play around with each of them, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal and see which one works best for your requirements. All three applications are standard but they can be customized to suit your needs. They are free indeed, but are very powerful.