What Is A Content Management System?
How can a CMS help make your site beautiful?
It’s easy to forget that the contents of every website you visit have been created from scratch. This process often begins with written content generated by a professional copywriter or a company’s founder, providing detailed information about products or services and populating each page on the new site with interesting and informative content. Once the site is suitably populated, it can go live…until something has to be changed or deleted.
This is the point where a content management system – or CMS – may be of use. CMS is an interface used for carrying out a long list of tasks, such as creating, storing and editing online content, rewriting text, deleting images, adding new sub-pages or making other amendments to a publicly-visible site. Editing a website in this way can be as easy as updating your social media status or changing your profile photo. Indeed, the underlying principle of CMS is that anyone with the appropriate login credentials should be able to make changes quickly and simply. There’s no need to send a list of edits to an IT expert, and you can make twenty changes a day if necessary.
As well as making quick adjustments to an existing site, CMS can also be used to create new websites from scratch without requiring any knowledge of the HTML programming language that underpins most internet activity. Because the internet is based around information sharing, many of these CMS packages are free to use. They can even be modified by more technically-minded users; software like this is referred to as open source, with no copyright restrictions and online armies of advocates ready to offer advice and support. Some CMS packages like Drupal require a fairly significant knowledge of programming and editing, while the market-leading WordPress platform is ideal for beginners.
Leading UK web hosting companies like UK2.net now offer straightforward and user-friendly CMS platforms as a matter of routine. The system is accessed with login credentials, enabling approved users to publish or amend content via the same internet browser that displays public-facing web pages. Most aspects of a website can be adjusted quite easily: pages can be added or removed at will, and their contents edited and multimedia files embedded. It’s possible to preview a page before it is made live so any errors or imperfections can be identified and corrected. Other site visitors will continue to see the previous page information until the editing process is completed and the changes are saved.
In terms of being able to use a CMS system, it doesn’t matter whether your site is on dedicated servers or accessed through a shared hosting system. Dedicated hosting is generally used by large companies requiring bespoke operating systems and hardware, whereas a personal or small business website typically occupies a very small footprint. There are no limits on the number of people who can modify a website, and no restrictions on the amount of edits that can be made. However, it may not be possible to radically change page designs using CMS: elements of a website’s design are often fixed in place and require specialist programming to be changed. For instance, even if this article was replaced with new copy next week, the UK2 Blog logo and search box would still be present on this page.
As well as providing immediate and endlessly flexible website editing, CMS also finds favour with the search engine giants. Their algorithms constantly trawl the web looking for updated content, and a regularly revised website will rank more highly in Bing or Google results than one that’s been untouched for ages. Deleting old content just for the sake of it isn’t recommended, but adding new material on a frequent basis can offer benefits above and beyond the actual information that’s being uploaded.
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