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What is a CMS?

If you’re just starting out with a digital marketing strategy or ramping up your efforts, your brain probably feels a bit like a scrambled egg. Between sitemaps, blog posts, content updates, etc., the whole process can feel a bit overwhelming. On top of that, you may feel like you know absolutely nothing about websites, nor how to manage one. Before you hire a webmaster, think about having your site designed within a content management system (CMS) that will allow you to make website updates yourself. No, this is not a joke, content management systems are a great tool for anyone who needs to manage a website, no matter your skill level.

If even the phrase “content management system” has you scratching your head, don’t worry, it’s a simple concept to understand. A content management system is, at its core, an interface for adding and managing the content on a website. “Content” can be text, including blog posts, informational text, and product descriptions, and it can also include images and videos. A CMS greatly simplifies the process of updating text and images.

What can a CMS do for you?

A CMS gives you an enormous amount of power to streamline adding content to your site. It replaces tedious webmaster tasks with non-technical content authoring and optimization. There's no more back-and-forth with a webmaster about integrating change requests, no more hassle of trying to fit new pages into the site’s structure or making sure the latest version of a file is edited and uploaded. Instead, changes can be posted by the content authors who wrote them, even if they don't know how to write HTML or CSS. Content authors can spend more time on things that matter: producing quality content, and getting it in front of your customers. The hard work of maintaining look-and-feel consistency is all done by the CMS.

And here's where it gets good…

Most CMSs expand their functionality far outside of the bare minimum. A good CMS can take the reigns on critical SEO-friendly functionality like:

  • Managing URLs
  • Automating an XML sitemap
  • Paging long lists of content (like products or blog entries), and linking the pages together.
  • Allowing site users to contribute content to your site, such as participating in forum discussions or commenting on content.

If the basic functionality of a website isn't enough for your organization, many CMSs can take on plugins and modules to expand the feature set. If it's a solved problem, like a shopping cart system, video integration, or taxonomy searching, prepackaged solutions are often easy and seamless to recruit to get the job done. But, if it's custom functionality you want— a web app that's completely unique to your organization and your site— a CMS has the ability to accept custom code to make it a reality.

Here at Lunar Logic, we especially like open-source CMSs, like Drupal or Wordpress, built on proven technology and thoroughly scrutinized for security and stability in the wild world of the Internet. We've even developed our own CMS built on our open-source Ox for MongoDB framework. We have experience with a variety of content management systems, setting them up, customizing them for look, feel, and functionality, and building the custom code to drive unique features. The right CMS solution will depend on your long-term goals, as each one is a different tool in your tool belt. We are happy to help decide which CMS is right for you, contact us today.

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