What is a CMS?
A content management system, or CMS, is used to build websites and has framework that allows for administrators to manage and update web page content.
One common misconception of a website CMS is that it is something that you can simply add to an already existing website. While there may be some CMSs that are easier to set up than others, this is generally not a feasible tactic. Most CMSs are the foundation a website is built on, so it’s important to decide if you want to use a CMS before beginning to build a new website.
Which CMS is right for me?
There are hundreds of CMSs out there – some paid, but many are free. The three most popular free CMS options are WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla!, with WordPress powering more than 50 percent of all websites on the Internet.
There are many factors to consider when trying to choose the one that’s right for your needs, but WordPress is obviously the favorite. It offers features such as a clean, easy-to-use admin interface, regular updates for new features, and security patches you can install with the click of a button. WordPress also has an incredibly active developer community offering an enormous amount of beautiful templates and fantastic plugins that can add whatever functionality you need to your website.
Is a CMS even the way to go?
For most marketing-driven websites, a good CMS is a no-brainer. It allows you to take advantage of a ton of out-of-the-box functionality so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel, which means you can focus on your content and marketing.
However, not all websites need to be on a CMS. Many websites have very specific requirements and need so much customized functionality that an out-of-the-box CMS will hinder more than help. For those cases, custom software must be built from scratch. But even for those projects, we still don’t have to reinvent the wheel, as there are many “rapid application development” frameworks that can be used to help build the software.
In addition, some website requirements may have a specific purpose that would not suit well with a website CMS or custom coding. For instance, a website that has the primary purpose of selling products online should be built on an ecommerce platform like Magento, Shopify, X-Cart, or any other similar solution out there. Again, as with CMSs, there are hundreds of them. If your website will only be a forum, wiki, etc., there are also off-the-shelf systems for those purposes and you can get features specifically tailored to those needs.
Ultimately, if you are looking to build a new website, but not sure where start, do your research, consider the options, and talk to some experts so you can make an educated decision.