Beyond just saving you time and money, investing in a content management system (CMS) comes with an array of benefits and can be one of the most worthwhile investments you can make for your business’ all-important online presence.
More and more today, we find that our lives and our livelihoods are tightly linked to the digital world—which continuously grows and evolves over time. Many users spend hours of their day on the internet—for the average user, that’s 6 hours and 43 minutes online every day—which continues to transform the way we work, share information, purchase goods, and connect with each other. Keeping this great migration to the online world in mind, it should come as no surprise that businesses are increasingly focusing on their online presence by investing in creating engaging and powerful websites.
Even the smallest startups have a website these days, and a well-designed website is a business’s most valuable tool for making a lasting impression on target audiences. Your website is the centerpiece of your business’ online marketing strategy—and your CMS is the heart of your website.
Managing and regularly updating company websites is crucial in today’s digital landscape. If you have a website, it is likely either a static website that requires all site updates to be hardcoded using standard web programming techniques, or you have a CMS in place that allows you to make all dynamic page updates on your own.
Using a content management system, you can easily and efficiently create, edit, manage, and maintain all digital content in one convenient interface, without the need for specialized technical knowledge. Having an intuitive CMS in place means that businesses without a team of dedicated in-house developers can still maintain their brand identity, keep their information updated, and keep prospective customers and clients engaged.
In this article, we’ll be delving into what a CMS is, what features you should look out for when considering implementing a CMS, and a few of the reasons why you should consider this investment a worthy one.
What Is A Web Content Management System?
A web content management system (WCMS) is a type of content management system designed specifically for creating and managing web content. And, while the terms CMS and WCMS are often used interchangeably, a WCMS is actually a subset of the CMS. The core functionality of the two is the same—in that they both are used to create and manage your content—but a CMS does not necessarily need to be a WCMS, as it can be used to manage content that is not for the web, whereas a WCMS is always a CMS.
Traditional WCMS systems provide authoring, collaboration, and administrative tools that allow users without any knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages to create and manage website content. The software also gives users the ability to create and manage a range of different content types such as new articles and events and will also enable users to upload and insert documents and images along with their text.
A WCMS also lets users maintain, control, change and reassemble the content on their web pages. Content is stored in a database, allowing users to assemble the content using a flexible language like XML or .NET. The WCMS can be easily accessed by users through a web browser, and once accessed users can edit content and maintain control over the layout easily from that browser-based interface.
WCMS systems are built using separate applications for content and delivery, thereby allowing users to make changes to webpage content on the backend without affecting the overall layout of the page or site that users will see on the frontend. These two applications that power a WCMS are:
- The content management application (CMA), which is a user interface that makes it possible for non-technical users—like content creators and marketers—to manage and edit website content without needing support from the IT department.
- The content delivery allocation (CDA), which does the heavy lifting in terms of taking the content that users create in the CMS and making that into a website that can be accessed online.
Traditional, or “coupled” WCMSs couple these two applications together on one system, whereas “decoupled” systems will separate them—giving you greater flexibility and control over your website but increasing the complexity of maintaining it. You can also go a step further and invest in a “headless” WCMS, which is technically a subset of the decoupled CMS except it has no backend functionality—this is generally the most flexible type of CMS as it offers omnichannel delivery, which is something that traditional CMSs struggle with, but you’ll definitely need the help of a developer or two.
An organization may run its WCMS either in the cloud or in a dedicated data center.
5 Reasons You Need A WCMS
No Need To Understand Programming Languages
Traditional web content management systems were designed for users with little to no programming experience. You can either create your website yourself or leverage a web developer to get you started, but once your site is fully developed a good CMS—like WordPress— puts the reigns firmly in your hands by letting you easily update the website without the need to get a third party involved. Managing the content on your website is straightforward and easy to learn with a CMS in place, so your non-technical users can easily insert, upload and edit images and text without needing outside help from a professional developer.
If down the line you wish to have some significant changes made to your website then you might need a developer’s help, but if you choose an Open Source CMS there is a good chance the developer will be able to use an existing plugin, which significantly reduces the cost.
Makes Your Website Search Engine Friendly
With their built-in search engine optimization (SEO) tools like keyword monitoring and sitemap creations, WCMSs can help to boost your site ranking in major search engines. Some SEO plugins present options within the interface to include things like web page titles, alt tags, meta descriptions, etc., to better optimize your content, and will even alert you when these elements are not done correctly. These plugins are also updated regularly in order to keep up with changes to major search engines that might affect your ranking. So, essentially, CMSs work to keep your site optimized at all times via user-friendly plugins and tools right within the editing interface.
Search engine optimization is a vital thing to keep in mind when posting website content, as optimizing your content for search engines increases the likelihood of your website being shown to users when they make relevant searches.
Easy Collaboration And Creative Freedom
If you have a team of employees involved in your content marketing processes, having a simple workflow is essential for harmonious collaboration. Your WCMS can help by ensuring that all team members have the right level of access to perform their roles (while certain areas like code updates remain limited to only specialists) and can grant multiple employees both access to your website and a way to easily collaborate on different projects. Using individual accounts, multiple people have the ability to create, edit, or update content on the site from their own computers or devices. Having all of your online content in one place also removes the need to send numerous files to different individuals and gives those individuals more opportunities to collaborate on projects and check or edit each other’s drafted content.
A WCMS is also helpful for people who are constantly on the go, as the back end of the website can be accessed from anywhere as long as you have a device, an internet connection, and access.
Keeps Cost Down
With a static website, the cost of website maintenance can really add up, as each necessary change to the website would require a web designer or developer. In addition to the cost, these updates might not go live on your site for a few days.
You can save yourself both money and time by investing in a web content management system. Having a WCMS in place means that after the initial investment to build the website you will no longer require input from a developer to make common site changes. Instead, you and your team have control over the site and can make these smaller, more frequent changes yourselves, exactly when you need them done, and will only need to spend money on a developer for more extensive changes.
Keep Your Security Strong
Security should be a priority for every business. Today, hackers and social engineers have more tricks up their sleeves than ever before, and the ramification of falling victim to one of these attacks and having your own and your customer’s personal information stolen are as wide-reaching as they are damaging.
However, web content management systems are continually being tested by developers and computer scientists so you can take comfort in the knowledge that your WCMS is being kept up-to-date with the latest security threats. There is also a wide range of plugins and tools that you can utilize to further increase your website’s overall security.
A particularly useful tool for stopping unwelcome visitors at the door is multifactor authentication (MFA) which allows you to include another stage of authentication alongside all login attempts —say, a one-time password sent to your email, or even a fingerprint or facial scan using your device’s built-in biometric technology—to help protect your site against external threats. Most CMSs will enable you to turn on this feature.
Now that you are familiar with some of the top reasons to invest in a web content management system, the only thing left to do is decide if it’s the right move for your business. If you feel like you need a bit more information, check out our articles What Is A CMS and The Top CMS Features Your Business Needs.
The digital world is ever-evolving, and the best thing businesses can do is just try their very best to keep up with it, and one of the most important steps to take in that direction is to ensure your website is up and running. So, whether you are starting out and need to build your website from the ground up or if you have one already and are looking to improve your content publishing workflow, it is time to invest in a WCMS so your team can efficiently and securely produce and publish content.