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The Beginner’s Guide to Content Management Systems

The Beginner’s Guide to Content Management Systems

What is a CMS? It stands for content management system, which offers a flexible, back-end interface for users to edit, modify, and publish content on a website.

How a CMS Works

Websites are built with databases. Think of them as huge, complicated Excel sheets.  However, instead of logging into the servers and trying to make changes one field at a time, groups and individuals have created content management systems to help users communicate easily and efficiently with the database using a secure and easy-to-use interface. Most CMS’s are managed by companies or communities and updated as the web evolves.

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This is an introduction to the types of CMS’s and examples of what each platform can offer — from blogging to eCommerce and everything in between.

Open-Source

These CMS’s are free for all to use, and the public is welcome to contribute to improving the development and functionality of the platform.

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Private

  • Squarespace: With their recent upgrade to version 6, they offer “everything you need to create an exceptional website.”  With beautiful templates, great customer support, unique CMS, and social integration, Squarespace is a good option for graphic designers, photographers, and bloggers.
  • Expression Engine: When it comes to corporate sites, Expression Engine is a popular choice.  It’s known for being flexible for data driven products.
  • LightCMS: This quickly-growing CMS is built by a private company in Oklahoma.  They provide an affiliate program, white-labeling, and fully-customizable templates, making it easy for designers to turn it into their own website solutions.

Blogging:

  • Tumblr: Known as a micro-blogging platform, Tumblr is know for its image. Tumblr can be quite addicting — If you can’t stop watching animated gifs on Tumblr, check out “Managing Your Social Network Addiction.”
  • Blogger: This is Google’s blogging platform.
  • Typepad: According to their website, “Typepad is the reliable, flexible blogging platform that puts the publisher in control. Plus, great one-on-one support from our team of friendly experts.

eCommerce:

  • Magento: Known for their powerful but flexible eCommerce solutions, Magento provides online stores for companies like Nike, Toms, Vizio, and more.  They offer plans for large corporations and small businesses, in addition to having a flexible open-source edition.
  • PrestaShop: his popular, award-winning, open-source eCommerce platform is full of features and add-ons.
  • Shopify: Shopify is a private CMS that offers an App Store for add-ons and themes.  It uses liquid markup, making it easy for designers that understand html/css to quickly build a custom theme.

File-Based: 

This is becoming a common practice for small scale websites. A file-based CMS does not use a database but rather a structure of folders, text documents, and images.  These types of CMS’s are geared toward web designers and artists that are familiar with FTP, HTML, CSS, and MARKDOWN.

  • KirbyCMS: Kirby is a file-based CMS that offers good documentation, markdown syntax, an add-on admin panel, and Dropbox support. “Easy to setup, easy to use, flexible as hell.”
  • Statamic: Statamic is another file-based CMS that prides themselves on a detailed platform for web developers with a simple, client-friendly, and responsive admin panel.

Website Builders

This is more of the cousin of the CMS.  Website builders are great non-designers.  With drag-and-drop and pre-built templates, putting a website up in a few minutes is simple.

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  • Wix: Wix is the most popular web builder option on the web.  With over 26 million websites currently made, Wix offers hundreds of templates, drag-and-drop building, social integration, and app integration.
  • Weebly: Weebly offers websites that are “Free. Powerful. Professional.” It offers most of the same features as Wix and has competitive hosting prices.

Other

I’d like to think of these as the hidden gems or new arrivals on the web.  They haven’t made it “big” yet, but offer a new perspective or alternative features than the big guys. Think of them as indie CMS’s.

  • Anchor: Anchor is a “super-simple, lightweight blog system, made to let you just write.” This open-source project has some cool features, including markdown. Learn how to “Use Markdown For Easy Web Writing”.
  • Perch: Known as “the really little content management system,” Perch uses simple php functions to allow you to quickly make changes to paragraphs, add images, etc.
  • Unify: Instead of using a database, in-line editors use a javascript interface to allow you to make small changes to headings, paragraphs, images, etc.
  • Big Cartel: Their slogan is “Bringing art to the cart.” Big Cartel is “a simple shopping cart for tee designers, bands, record labels, jewelery makers, crafters, and other artists.” This CMS is for small-scale eCommerce with low pricing and Paypal integration.

What is a CMS? The Conclusion

So what is a CMS? As you can tell, it can be explained many ways.  I hope that through this brief guide, you have a better understanding of the various different roles CMS’s can play.

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P.S. What CMS are you using? What CMS did I not share that you think is worth sharing? Let us know in the comments.

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Josh Medeski

Front-End Developer

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Last Updated on July 8, 2020

10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

10 Smart Productivity Software to Boost Work Performance

Productivity is the ability to perform tasks efficiently and in a timely manner. In today’s busy and competitive business world, productivity is paramount for any business, organization or corporation.

Productivity is more than just performing tasks successfully. It is about investing and allocating resources, so the company or business can perform to meet its core goals.

As part of 2019, it is important to commit to new goals. When shopping around for new productivity software keep in mind the following things: cost, reliability, cross-platform compatibility, on the go, technical support, etc.

In the subsequent sections, we will examine the most recommended productivity software in the marketplace. In addition, we will look at what makes them tick and what separates them from the rest of the pack.

Projects and Tasks Management

1. Monday dot com

    Monday dot com was founded to create a team management solution so people connect to workplace processes across any industry. The productivity tool is used in more than 140 countries.

    The user interface is intuitive and impressive. It makes collaboration productive and fun because of its simplicity.

    The tool is deemed to have one of the best user experiences across the mobile and online project and task management platform.

    The product includes usability, customization, admin control, group management and control, private or public control, in-group messaging and more.

    Check out the software here!

    2. Asana

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      The mantra behind Asana’s product is to enable teams from across different organizations to work together effortlessly.

      The software comes with lots of customizations. When you create a project as a user, you can choose between a traditional task view and the kanban-style board view. The dashboard allows you to see the progress on a project, and it includes an excellent advanced set of search tools.

      Also, Asana’s Android and iOS apps do retain the web interface’s clean look and feel.

      Check out the software here!

      3. Trello

        Trello was founded in the summer of 2010 and two years later the platform added 500,000 members. Anyone within sales, marketing, HR and operations can collaborate successfully with this product.

        Moreover, the tool has over 100 plus integrations with Google Drive, Slack, Jira and others. The product works flawlessly across various platforms.

        Some of the well-known features includes is speed, easy-to-use, and set up. The interface includes due dates, assignments, file storage, checklists and more.

        Check out the software here!

        4. Jira

          The Jira software is flexible and heralded as the next-generation project.

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          The software allows teams to design and adapt the software to an organization’s needs. This includes having visibility into long term goals, project roadmaps, status of work, real-time release information and more. In addition, the interface is customizable.

          The Atlassian Cloud does not support multiple separate domains, subdomains or domain aliases in Google Apps.

          Check out the software here!

          5. Evernote Business

            Evernote was founded in 2008 and reached 11 million users by 2011. The company was founded on the premise that their product should address the ever-increasing volume and speed of information.

            The product helps bring together groups of teams because of versatility and functionality. It creates documents, collaboration on projects, store information all a single location.

            Moreover, you can find information quickly and includes effective search capabilities and integrations with existing tools you may already use.

            Check out the software here!

            Communication

            6. Slack

              Slack was founded in 2013 and the tool is heralded as a collaboration hub. Slack is where productivity happens. When you start a new project, hire new staff, deploy a code, review a sales contract, finalize on a budget, Slack covers all of these. Some of the major highlights include highly customizable notifications and seamless integrations with other collaboration and office tools. The free version of the software comes loaded with features, but does not archive old message. So, you have to review what are the best options for your organization or business.

              Check out the software here!

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              7. Spike

                Newcomer Spike makes emails more conversational by helping teams maintain productivity, communication, and collaboration. All of these are achieved from within their inbox.

                Spike works on top of any existing email (O365, G suite, and IMAP) turning it into a real-time messenger and making your communication much more functional and efficient.

                Spike’s features include built-in groups and channels, voice and video calls, email encryption, instant access to all your files, and much more.

                Check out the software here!

                Creation

                8. Office 365

                  Microsoft’s Office 365 could not be excluded from the conversation and especially as it pertains to productivity software.

                  Of course we are all familiar with Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Outlook. But there is more capabilities that come with it.

                  You have business-class email, online storage space, and teamwork solutions. These services can be accessed from just about anywhere.

                  Within this suite is Microsoft Sway, which is a presentation software and a step above PowerPoint.

                  Check out the software here!

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                  9. Grammarly

                    Grammarly helps to cut down time on editing. Professionals in several industries like law, healthcare, academia, marketing, engineering and journalism use it to provide instant feedback on the accuracy of writing in English.

                    Once you install the extension from Google Chrome, you can get corrections when you are drafting an email, using social media and other apps.

                    Grammarly is AI powered and it’s a wonderful tool to have to check spelling and grammar before a presentation.

                    Check out the software here!

                    Team Analytics

                    10. ActivTrak

                      ActivTrak is a business intelligence tool that allows you to access team behavior analytics. In other words, it is data-driven.

                      The pros include two-factor authentication with active directory integration. You can also automate your alerts and it has an intuitive interface with easy-to-use admin controls.

                      Furthermore, it comes with Google sign-in, iOS app, productivity track, and more. The bottomline is the product offers employee productivity metrics along with team behavior analytics.

                      Check out the software here!

                      The Bottom Line

                      Depending on the size, budget, resources, and immediate needs of your company, not all productivity software will exactly solve your problem. You will have to contact any of the providers above and probe extensively to find the right product that is made for your business.

                      More Productivity Tools

                      Featured photo credit: Domenico Loia via unsplash.com

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