What is a content management system?

I wrote a little thing earlier about how building a good web presence takes time and the need to evolve your website over a period of years.

One part of doing this is hiring a web designer on retainer. Another thing that can really help is to ask your web designer to set up your website on a content management system.

What is a content management system?

Basically it’s software that allows people who don’t know how to write HTML or do other coding to edit and add content to a website. As you can see, it is what the name says it is: a system to manage content.

It may or may not be obvious to you why this is such a good thing for a web design client, so let’s think about that a little. Suppose you have a website with a contact page that includes your business’s phone number, email address, etc. And maybe you have a staff page with the bios of your employees.

Obviously you might get a new phone number one day or have some turnover on your staff. When that happens, it requires that information on your website to be updated, but it doesn’t require any design changes or other technical modifications to the website. You just need to delete Bob’s info and replace it with Jane’s.

Certainly if you have an ongoing relationship with your web designer, you can call her up and ask her to make the change. There’s nothing wrong with that. You may prefer having it taken care of to doing it yourself or any number of good reasons.

On the other hand, you will have to pay your web designer something to handle work like this. It might not be a lot of money, but it’s not free either.

For that reason, and for other reasons, you might want to have your website built on a content management system (CMS) so you can have the ability to make these changes at any time, on your own.

If you plan to include a blog on your website, you’ll almost certainly want to use a CMS. It makes no sense to write blog articles on a word processor and then send them to your web designer to add to your site. My CMS of choice is WordPress, and one of the reasons I like it is because it does a great job with blog content as well as more traditional content.

Later we’ll talk about some of the things you should consider when choosing a CMS, but for now here are 3 very general phases involved in any implementation of a content management system:

As you can see from this list, getting set up with the right CMS can be a bit of a process, so the best way to start is by talking to your web designer about what makes sense for your situation.

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