What is a content management system?
A content management system (CMS) supports the creation, management, distribution and publishing of information to your website. It covers the complete lifecycle of the pages on your site, from providing simple tools to create the content, through to publishing, and finally to archiving. It also provides the ability to manage the structure of the website, the appearance of the published pages, and the navigation provided to the users.
If you have a website, or intranet that has grown organically over time then it’s often hard to find things and updating the website can be complex. Remembering what was added when becomes an additional problem! Thankfully, these problems are what a content management system is specifically designed to solve.
At the front of a content management system is an easy-to-use authoring environment, designed to work like Word. This provides a non-technical way of creating new pages or updating content, without having to know any HTML. The CMS also allows you to manage the structure of the site. That is, where the pages go, and how they are linked together.
Once a page has been created, it is saved into a central repository in the CMS. This stores all the content of the website, along with the other supporting details.
This central repository allows a range of useful features to be provided by the CMS:
keeping track of all the versions of a page, and who changed what and when.
ensuring that each user can only change the section of the site they are responsible for.
integration with existing information sources and IT systems.
Once the final content is in the repository, it can then be published out to either the website or intranet.
Content management systems boast powerful publishing engines which allow the appearance and page layout of the website to be applied automatically during publishing. It may also allow the same content to be published to multiple websites.
What are the business benefits?
There are a wide range of business benefits that can be obtained by implementing a CMS, including:
• streamlined authoring process
• faster turnaround time for new pages and changes
• greater consistency
• improved site navigation
• increased site flexibility
• support for decentralised authoring
• increased security
• reduced duplication of information
• greater capacity for growth
• reduced site maintenance costs
Beyond these, the greatest benefit the CMS can provide is to support your business goals and strategies. For example, the CMS can help to improve sales, increase user satisfaction, or assist in communicating with the public.
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