There are some things that are better left to the professionals, but you don’t need an expert to make simple changes to your website. Do you really want to have to call someone and pay them for a simple update like changing a phone number? Most of the robust Content Management Systems (CMS) on the market today allow you to create your own posts and pages, edit your header and footer information, control your navigation menus, and more.
We outlined some examples of benefits you receive when using a CMS in our last post. Today, we are going to dig deeper into those benefits to give you an understanding of how a CMS can make running a website a smooth and efficient process.
Back in the early days of web design, something as simple as a navigation menu was often hard coded on each and every page of your website. That means changing it would require making an update on every single page individually. Instead of focusing on code page-by-page, a CMS allows you to think of your website as a complete work made up of individual modules.
Having a hard time visualizing what I mean? Just picture Legos! All the little bricks represent different pieces of your website like a header, footer, navigation menu, and content. Now, imagine two kids. You tell each of them to think of a model for a website that has a home page, an info page, and a product page. The first kid assembles 3 different models, which look similar but have a few different bricks in each depending on the page. The second kid assembles a home page model and has a small pile of bricks.
You ask to see the home page, and both kids show you their model. Then, you ask to see the info page. Kid #1 shows you his second model. Kid #2 pops a few bricks off his model and replaces them with some from his pile. Repeat process for the product page. Now, what if you ask for the header on all the pages to be red? Kid #1 has to change all three of his models. Kid #2 only changes 1 brick. Obviously, the first child uses way more time and resources. The second child is like a CMS system. He takes all the individual blocks and is ready to organize those pieces into whatever masterpiece you ask for at any time. In the adult world of maintaining a website, this means changes are faster, easier, and more scalable.
Another great thing about using a CMS is the expand-ability. These systems usually offer quick and painless methods of adding on additional features. Plugins or extensions are common terms used to describe features you can add on to the base functionality of your CMS. There are often expansive directories of additions available. It’s like digging through the Lego bin to see what cool new stuff you can build. You want a slideshow on your website? Give Johnny CMS a slideshow Lego brick and tell him where to add it.
Bring your friends, Johnny! A CMS allows you to give multiple people access to manage your website at the same time. Most systems are user based and allow many users to be logged in at once. Imagine that website of yours is a Medieval castle of Legos. While Johnny is busy decorating the keep, Bob and Bill can be working on the gates and drawbridge. Then there is Jack. He’s the nice kid that’s well meaning, but always accidentally ruins your hard work. Johnny wants to let him play, but needs to limit risk to his castle. “Why don’t you help with the moat, Jack?” Do you have a Jack that needs to be restricted to moat duty? No problem! CMS systems let you set user permissions that determine exactly what level of access the user has. That means you can limit what a person can work on and change.
Easy to Maintain
CMS systems give you simple to use interfaces that provide you with control over all of your data. There is no need to worry about learning code or some of the other technical skills it takes to maintain a static website. Most CMS systems will alert you when updates are available. This keeps you ahead of the curve on security.
As an added benefit, many CMS systems let you schedule content. Do you want to post an article a day while you’re on vacation? Just schedule it and have fresh content all of the time. Keeping things fresh helps with your search engine rankings. Thankfully, CMS systems also come prepared with SEO best practices out of the box and can be easily expanded to give you advanced control over your SEO efforts.
Have you ever experienced a data loss? Deleted something by accident? Today’s CMS systems usually offer the ability to make convenient backups of your entire site. In case of catastrophe, you can restore your backup and be on your way. Only have a minor emergency? Some CMS systems keep revisions of your pages, so you can roll an individual page back to a previous version without having to revert your entire site. Also, most have convenient recycle bin like features in case you delete something on accident.
Overall, using a CMS is the only way to go these days for most users. You can save time, money, and a whole lot of hassle. You’ll spend less time focusing on how to work on your website and more time focusing on how it can work for you. Hopefully at this point, it makes sense for you to move to a CMS if you haven’t already. What’s the next step? Picking out a CMS. Our next blog will give you all the tips and advice you need when choosing the CMS that’s right for you.