27. What is a CMS or Content Management System?

A content management system (CMS) is exactly what the term says it is. It is a software based system that makes it easy for the website owner, manager, webmaster to create and manage website content.

Most systems use a database to store page content, metadata, and other information that might be needed by the system. There are many open-sources ready to use CMS systems, which can be customized and then there are custom made CMS options too. In both cases, a web development company like ours needs to be engaged. In case of the former, costs tend to be low but customization may not be possible to the extent required hence the cost is towards installing, tailoring, putting up initial content and providing training. When custom CMS systems have to be built, the process is different as it’s made according to specifications of the client's website requirements.

The administrator accesses the CMS typically using browser-based interfaces and this allows non-technical users to make changes to a website with little or no training. It is primarily a website updation and maintenance tool for website owners. With a CMS, you can keep track of every piece of content on your website like simple text, photos, music, video, documents, or just about anything you require on your website and want to control. A big PLUS of using a website CMS is that it does not require any technical skill or knowledge at the users end. Another big plus - With a web based CMS you can update your website from anywhere anytime.

A robust CMS ensures that you are able to update your webpage’s when required without having to depend on website designers or AMC’s thereby saving you cost and time. The best part is that CMS can helpful SEOin a big way, because it lets the user control page urls, meta title meta keywords, meta descriptions which are basic requirements for on-pageSearch Engine Optimision.

Having said that, Content Management Systems have their own known drawbacks and if not built properly can lead to more long term costs. Scalability is a critical parameter of any good CMS and the ability to integrate tools is another important parameter when building large CMS’s. Good Scalable CMS’s are required by large portals and clients who have websites with 1000’s of pages and come with a large investment. Regular Website CMS's are very cost effective and ultimately work for the business owner. The best content management systems adapt to thewebsite designand are easy to use.

Some very interesting customized CMS's can be built using Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, Mambo etc. Each has its advantages and is chosen based on website project requirements.