How to Pick the Right CMS For Website

A CMS, or content management system, is software that enables users to create, edit, and manage web content without the need for specialist coding and software developing skills. A CMS is exactly as it sounds, a platform that enables you to manage all of your content — whether that be text, photos, videos, or any other type of digital assets — without having to build the website from scratch.

CMS platforms are not just for tech newbies. Most companies that specialise in web development services also use popular CMS sites due to their versatility, usability, and design capabilities.

History of CMS

In the early 1990s, the first websites began to appear. However, they hardly resembled the sites we know today and featured only static pages of text, known as flat HTML files. Gradually, technology was invented to facilitate other forms of content such as images and videos.

The more content forms that were developed, the more difficult it became for developers to streamline the process of web development to make it as user-friendly as possible. Hence, the content management system was developed.

The early 2000s witnessed a revolution in the field of CMSs, with popular open-source platforms including Drupal, WordPress, and Joomla entering the picture. These CMS platforms were all structured in much the same way and bear a strong resemblance to many of the popular servers still used today. A backend contained all of the content — text, photos, videos, and more — and the front end was where the user interfaced with the site.

Generally speaking, those who use a CMS platform to host their website do not possess high-level tech and coding skills. They are unlikely to understand HTML, CSS, or javascript, and tend to be marketers, those involved in search engine optimisation, or content developers who are wanting to attract more users to their website. CMS platforms were therefore designed to be as user-friendly, engaging, and personalisable as possible.

Fast forward twenty years and while many people still use those original CMS sites (WordPress powers around 35 percent of all websites on the internet), developers are now looking towards the future. ‘Headless’ CMSs are thought to be the next big thing in web development. The platform is as it sounds, a content repository that only features a back end. With no designated user interface, a headless CMS produces a website that can be accessed on any type of device — be it a smart watch or a laptop.

What are the different types of CMS for wbsites?

While there are many different types of CMS platforms out there, developers tend to work with an exclusive few. These include:

WordPress

As mentioned, WordPress is one of the most popular web hosting platforms in existence. While originally limited to blog sites, WordPress developers now have the tools and capabilities to build e-commerce stores, forums, social networks, business sites, and pretty much any other type of platform required.

Drupal

Drupal is another popular CMS and is often used by government organisations and higher education providers. Drupal is considered to be highly flexible, enabling developers to create tailored user experiences.

Magento

Magento is favoured by those working in the e-commerce sphere, offering a high level of security and all the benefits of an open-source platform.

Kentico

An all-in-one software, Kentico can be used for online marketing, e-commerce and content management to great effect.

Tips for picking the right CMS for websites

There are several factors that should be considered when it comes time to pick a CMS. The number one tip? Hire out a company that provides web development services. With a few simple questions, they will be able to fully ascertain your needs and recommend which platform is right for you.

However, if you’re making the decision alone, consider the following points:

  • Usability: A good website is one that makes sense to the user. When it comes to CMS, this applies to both the person uploading content and the individual viewing it. If you don’t have a lot of familiarity with web development, it’s important that the back-end of your website makes it easy for you to create and edit content. On the other hand, the site should also have a clean visual interface and be easily navigated by the end user.
  • Design options: Many people incorrectly assume that building a website via a CMS platform means their site will lack a unique, individual look, and will blend in with the crowd. In reality, most CMS platforms come with hundreds of different design options. Make sure that your chosen platform offers you visual variety and the ability to easily customise designs.
  • Support: Building a website, even via a CMS platform, requires a lot of skill and patience. Opting for a CMS that provides a lot of hands-on support — including active customer service and user forums — means you will be able to find detailed answers to your questions quickly and efficiently.
  • Cost: Pricing in web development can be complex. While some CMS platforms are free, others will charge a fee, and others will require you to also organise and pay for web hosting. Be sure you have fully worked out your budget before deciding on your preferred platform.

By picking the right CMS, you can be sure that your website has the capability to scale and meet all of your on-going needs.

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