An Introduction to Content Management Systems (CMS)
Okay so you want to find out more about content management systems? That probably means that you are going to be managing website content in the near future or that you are weighing up how hard it is going to be. Maybe you are thinking of going into website content management as a career, or you just want to learn the basics because you are going to have a company website that needs to be updated.
Either way, we will give you an overview of what a CMS is and how to use one. First up, let’s talk about the different types of CMS there are out there. You might have already heard of WordPress? WordPress is by far the most well used CMS in the world, accounting for 35% of CMS usage! The next most popular is Drupal with 8% and there is a long list of other CMS that are available for you to use. Most cheap web hosts also offer a one-click install for WordPress.
So if there are so many out there, why is WordPress by far the most popular, you may ask. WordPress is deemed by many users to be the most straightforward content management system but additionally there is a wide range of helpful resources available. So if you are struggling with uploading an image or you are finding an error on a page, you will generally only be a few clicks away from your solution. You can watch video demos to walk you through tasks of a basic level all the way through to the more complex stuff.
Another great feature that WordPress has is that it allows you to set up different user levels. This works well if you want to have a robust sign off process. So if you have several content contributors but you want one person to have the final sign off, then it is easy to set this up. The last thing you want is for a page to go live if it has errors or something that looks unprofessional, so if you are looking at managing content in a team set up, this is something you will want to look at.
One of the other amazing things about WordPress is that developers create themes and plugins that can make your website look really professional. You can actually get many of these for free although it depends on what you are looking for. You can get all singing, all dancing themes that are set up for your specific line of business if you want to.
The actual managing of content is pretty straightforward when you get the hang of it. You are also able to preview pages before you publish them, or revert back to previous versions, which can be very helpful if something goes wrong with your latest change/post. With WordPress, most of what you will be doing is a ‘Post’ so your content pages are classed as posts and if you want to post a blog, that is also a post.
To add a new page you simply go to your dashboard and click on ‘Add new’ under the Post section. Your new page will appear and most of what you need to complete is easy enough to understand e.g. Post title, Add media (to upload images and videos or other files). You get to choose between Visual editor and Text editor, if you don’t understand html coding then you will be using the Visual editor.
The editor functionality is sometimes likened to Word in terms of the formatting toolbar, which allows you to make text bold, italic, apply bullets, align text etc. It also has links to create hyperlinks (text that links to a web page).