What is WCMS, and why should you use one?

By Fredrik Abrahamsson

What is WCMS, and why should you use one?

A Web Content Management System, WCMS - now almost exclusively referred to as CMS, is a software system that provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages to create and manage website content with relative ease. 

CMS has been available since the late 1990s, and before that, we had to create our HTML pages manually and upload them to a web server. Then, all the information was stored in static HTML pages, and the pictures were uploaded to the same server. 

Systems like Macromedia Dreamweaver, Adobe PageMill and Microsoft FrontPage were considered revolutionary at the time, as they were the first HTML editors that were considered user-friendly.

Why a CMS?

Why should I use a content management system? That is a question that I still get from potential clients. The truth is that a client almost needs to feel the pain of a static website before they can fully understand and appreciate the advantages of a CMS-driven solution. Many customers started with template-based systems or used fundamental administrative tools to maintain their websites. These usually worked well initially when the sites were smaller and had less content. But, over time, these sites would grow organically, and as the amount of content increased, so did the challenges of maintaining it. What used to take just one person to manage now takes many.

You can use a CMS both for internal communication (Intranet) or public websites (Internet) and for a business-critical partner or customer areas (Extranet).

With a CMS in place, you can make your website easier to use, less expensive to maintain, and more secure.

What is WCMS and why should you use one?

Here are some benefits of a basic CMS:

  1. Keeping content controlled by the content authors frees up the developer's time to focus on other things like the design of the front end of the website or the implementation of new features and functionality.
  2. A CMS allows you to distribute content authoring duties to different people or departments within your organisation. Many also allow you to set up workflows, approval chains, and permissions. This helps ensure that content doesn't appear on the website unless it has been fully approved.
  3. A CMS can work parallel with design efforts to force visual consistency across site sections. By putting style rules in place, you can ensure that font sizes and colours are used universally, regardless of how many content authors you have. This keeps things looking professional and helps maintain brand unity.
  4. A CMS provides a wide range of functionality by default, functionality that would typically cost money to build from scratch.
  5. Many CMS platforms can securely protect your users' or members' data and information.

Some common CMS (source from Wikipedia):

  • Episerver
    Proprietary software based on .NET
  • Sitecore
    Proprietary software based on .NET
  • SharePoint 
    Proprietary software based on .NET
  • Adobe
    Proprietary software based on Java
  • Umbraco
    Open source system based on .NET
  • WordPress 
    Open source system based on PHP
  • Joomla 
    Open source system based on PHP
  • TYPO3 
    Open source system based on PHP
  • Drupal
    Open source system based on PHP
  • Magnolia
    Open source system based on Java
  • Liferay
    Open source system based on Java

In a forthcoming blog post, I will discuss the pros and cons of open source vs proprietary CMS.

The future of CMS

We often discuss that decision-makers/users will soon be digital natives used to a user interface similar to iPads. With the experience when they need more features and services, they are just one click away from the App Store for downloading new software.

How will this affect the future of the 'Digital Native' CMS?

  • Some platforms were 'born-in-the-cloud' and will be much more attractive to younger users because of the simplicity of setting up and maintaining.
  • Some platforms are transforming their technical solution and financial model to the cloud. As a result, some systems have become longer than others.
  • Some platforms have not yet begun this journey… they will probably have a tough time in the market soon, and you should ask yourself if this is something for your company.

So why should I use a CMS?

It would be best to use a CMS because it will allow your organisation to have complete control over its website without needing excessive and recurring development fees for almost daily, routine website updates.

Please feel free to contact us at Zooma if you want to know more about how to choose the suitable CMS for your company.

Talk to an expert

Fredrik Abrahamsson
Director of Online & Digital Solutions at Zooma, 2016-2017
Keep me updated!
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