What is CMS? A Guide with Definition, Costs, and Top Options for 2020
What is CMS? A lot of people may work with WordPress for a long time, but only some of them know it’s a content management system (a.k.a CMS).
Today we’ll explain it to you.
Content Management System (Definition)
In a word, a CMS is an online platform that allows you to create, edit, and share digital content. You don’t need to know HTML, CSS, or any programming language to do the basic site. Just select a CMS, install it, and start making use of it to build your desired website.
With a CMS, creating a website is like a piece of cake.
How Does CMS Work?
Let’s take a look at the best features of a CMS.
CMS Website Features
The interface of a typical CMS includes the following features:
- a user dashboard to manage websites.
- themes and templates to design websites quickly.
- plugins and integrations to add functionalities and capabilities.
- content management capabilities like the editor and media library.
- search engine optimization (SEO) tools to ensure the web ranks well in search engine results pages.
- Additional functionalities like a website builder to customize sites.
Let’s start at the top.
A user dashboard is the entry point to a CMS. It’s where you can access all the features of your CMS and gain insights into its performance quickly.
From the user dashboard, you can access your back end on both mobile and desktop, edit pages, publish content, install plugins, track website performance, and other activities.
Themes & Templates
A CMS gives you the freedom to design a website and customize its appearance. Some content management systems may offer a few dozen themes, but others may contain hundreds of them.
Templates are often designed for specific industries like travel, writer, eCommerce, restaurants, etc. Each theme has a complete website structure and navigation menus. Just choose any theme that fits your goal and start the design process.
Plugins & Integrations
You can install plugins to your site for specific purposes. For example, if you want to check the keyword density and SEO level of your content, you can install Yoast SEO. Content management systems like WordPress support many types of plugins.
With CMS, you can install the Google Analytics plugin to track site performance. Also, you can make use of other integrations such as social media, payment processing, SEO tools, popups, etc.
Think about the storage of a CMS like a series of folders, which allows you to upload text, links, videos, and images. You can even edit content within the CMS, like deleting unnecessary videos or cropping photos before publishing them to the site.
Most content management systems offer SEO tools to boost your website’s chances of ranking well in search engines like Google. These tools include:
- Automatic meta tag creation.
- Sitemap generation.
- Places to add content descriptions.
- Accelerated mobile pages.
Besides all the above features, a good CMS also contains additional functionality. Once you’ve created a post, you can post content immediately or schedule it to publish whenever you want. Thanks to that, you can put all the articles together into a content calendar and use CMS to share them.
A CMS allows you to add more users to your website. This feature is useful when you don’t have much time to control your site and want to assign someone to take charge of this task. Free to choose any role for them you want, like a subscriber or a contributor.
7 Most Popular Content Management Systems
WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Shopify, Squarespace, Wix, and Magento are the most common names in the CMS industry. Let’s find out more about each of these.
- Market share: 60.4%.
- Total live sites: 27,021,750.
- Usage distribution in the top 1 million sites: 341,364.
- Most popular sites using WordPress: TechCrunch, The New Yorker, BBC America.
- Price: Free.
WordPress currently powers over one-third of existing websites on the Internet. It’s an open-source CMS, meaning anyone can use and modify it for free. Using WordPress, you can build many things, such as eCommerce stores, blogs, online courses, social communities, etc. This powerful CMS also offers a massive library of themes as well as plugins.
- Market share: 5.7%.
- Total live sites: 1,857,666.
- Usage distribution in the top 1 million sites: 20,128.
- Most popular sites using Joomla: Harvard University, The Hill, Linux, MTV Greece.
- Price: Free.
Joomla is the second most well-known CMS. It’s also open-source, but more advanced than WordPress. Some of Joomla’s best features include flexibility for different content types and multilingual support.
- Market share: 4.7%.
- Total live sites: 651,648.
- Usage distribution in the top 1 million sites: 28,916.
- Most popular sites using Drupal: Tesla, The Economist, Australian Government.
- Price: Free.
Drupal offers lockdown security. That’s why it’s the common choice for government institutions and other security-conscious players. Besides, Drupal provides access controls, custom content types and views, and taxonomies for handling lots of content.
- Market share: 2.7%.
- Total live sites: 1,187,578.
- Usage distribution in the top 1 million sites: 23,448.
- Most popular sites using Shopify: Gymshark, Fashion Nova, Taylor Stitch.
- Price: Start at $29/mo.
Shopify is a CMS designed specifically for eCommerce store owners. It offers an easy way to add, list, edit, and organize products with a streamlined CMS. Keyword tags, multiple variants for each product, and the facility to drag and drop product images are available as well.
- Market share: 2.7%.
- Total live sites: 2,001,701.
- Usage distribution in the top 1 million sites: 9,252.
- Most popular sites using Squarespace: Big Human, UberEats, Cornell Creme.
- Price: Start at $16/mo.
Squarespace offers one single interface where you can change the content, tweak design styles, add custom CSS, set up analytics, etc. This CMS also allows you to drag and drop elements to create a website design you want.
- Market share: 1.9%
- Total live sites: 3,800,881
- Usage distribution in the top 1 million sites: 6,009
- Most popular sites using Wix: Vintique, Good Feeling Goods, Tobias Becs.
- Price: Start at $10/mo.
Wix is an ideal CMS for beginners who want to create a website from pre-built templates and don’t want to customize things too much. Wix also provides eCommerce functionalities, but they aren’t as flexible as what you can do with Shopify.
- Market share: 1.8%
- Total live sites: 280,595
- Usage distribution in the top 1 million sites: 12,080
- Most popular sites using Magento: Coca Cola, Ford, Olympus, Warby Parker.
- Price: Free, but a full-featured Magento eCommerce is also available.
Magento CMS allows you to create new pages, blocks, and widgets for your online store. You can choose specific layout designs and templates to design your designed site. It’s a feature-rich CMS that you should take a look at.
Benefits of CMS
With a CMS, you can save a great deal of time in building a site and have more energy to create high-quality content. The last part of this article will show you the best advantages of using a CMS.
Fits any Type and Size of Business
Most content management systems support an easy-to-use interface and ready-made themes. This gives people with little or no-technical skills the ability to build their website and sell online or share knowledge of the world.
For tech-savvy users, they can add codes to the custom CSS to further customize their sites. Also, they can upgrade their CMS or hosting plan to experience advanced features like different storage levels and premium SEO tools.
Wide Range of Integrations
A CMS often comes with intuitive content management integrations with third-party tools. Let’s say you’re using WordPress for content management and HubSpot CRM. If you install and use the HubSpot WordPress plugin, you can easily group your contacts into lists and track every interaction they’ve had across your site. The benefits also cover built-in analytics, simple email automation, etc.
Flexible Management and Enhanced Control
All content management systems offer an easy way to manage content. You can:
- Set up categories, tags, links, and widgets to organize your content.
- Add text, images, videos, audios, etc. to posts and pages.
- Approve and delete comments or reply to comments instantly.
- Allow others to manage content and control your CMS.
- Schedule content to publish it at any time you want.
You can get these done by going into different CMS features like Posts, Pages, Media Library, etc.
Optimized Development Resources and Costs
If you don’t use a CMS, you may have to hire front-end developers to make changes to your site or back-end developers to integrate an app to your site. Once you decide to install a CMS, everything goes smoothly. Non-tech employees can manage content without involving the development personnel. Using a CMS undoubtedly helps save your resources of all types.