What is a Content Management System?

A content management system, or CMS, is almost a necessity for anyone who plans to create and manage one or more websites, especially if those websites include dynamic content or many pages. At its most basic, a content management system allows the user to create a static website. Many users rely on popular CMS scripts to populate a blog with categorized posts. However, a powerful content management system can do much more than that.

The Benefit
The main benefit of a Content Management System is the ability to manage all parts of a website - or multiple websites - from a central location. Posts, pages, links and media are easily uploaded from the dashboard. Additionally, a strong CMS often includes analysis tools and utilities that make backing up the entire site easier than it ever was with static pages and file transfer protocol programs.

The administrator can log in and make changes to the website, while most CMS solutions also offer user levels. This enables multiple users to register and add content to the website. However, levels limit the actions that users can take, protecting the website from malicious code, for example. Dynamic community websites thrive when using a CSM.

Media Management
The sign of a strong CMS is the ability to upload multimedia. No longer will users have to upload large images, videos or songs to external hosts to display on their websites. This is a great solution for content producers, including musicians and graphic artists. Many CMS scripts allow the user to upload, tag and modify different types of media directly to the dashboard. Image cropping, resizing and thumbnail creation are often integrated right into the CMS media library.

Plug-ins 
Although any good script automatically improves the website maintenance experience, plug-ins and modules are commonly available to add to the existing functionality. For instance, the user could install a plug-in to show a Twitterfeed in his sidebar or one that tracks statistics of the website. Advertisements can be employed with a plug-in, too. Some popular CMS scripts offer hundreds of plug-ins, while others focus on a few core plug-ins. The possibilities really are endless.

Stores and More
One of the fortes of a CMS is the ability to create almost any type of site. Artists who release daily webcomics can pick a theme and useful plug-ins that already exist to facilitate updates. Online retailers are able to create their entire storefront and keep it updated, and communities are just a plug-in installation away. It's easy to see why a CMS is the answer.

Do you currently have a CMS for your site? How has it made things easier for you?

 

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