What could a great CMS do for your website? The answer is: much more than you think.
A website should never be regarded as a finished project. Modern websites are fluid and ever-evolving affairs. Regular content additions helping to improve their appeal among search engines and returning visitors. A website that’s simply uploaded and left to its own devices will soon become outdated and ineffective. This is why content management systems (CMS) have become an integral part of web design and construction.
What is CMS?
Often referred to by its acronym, a content management system enables people to make quick and easy changes to webpages. A good CMS will demand minimal technical expertise, while streamlining the process of adding news stories, blogs and other material. However, to understand why it’s important to specify a CMS when designing a new website, it’s firstly necessary to consider how these systems operate.
In essence, a CMS can be thought of as an editing tool, similar to a word processing package. Users log in through a webpage where a basic overview of their website’s contents is displayed. From here, they can quickly change anything from page titles or photo captions through to body copy and blogs. A good CMS will be jargon-free, and key actions like creating a new page should be clearly labelled with step-by-step instructions. No programming expertise is required, since CMS platforms use a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) visual editor.
The SEO Connection
With search engines now serving as the internet’s librarians and gatekeepers, maximizing a website’s SEO potential is vital. Many CMS platforms provide live analysis of how certain changes will be received by the likes of Google and Bing. The WordPress Yoast plugin incorporates a traffic-light best-practice system, rating the effectiveness of everything from keyword usage to the length of page titles. By following plain-English instructions to achieve green ratings across the board, even IT rookies can optimize their website’s performance.
Indeed, this simplification extends further. A good CMS will present every page in the same way, so changes are equally easy to accomplish throughout a site. The website’s structure and appearance can’t be materially altered, so there’s no risk of users accidentally deleting a sidebar or duplicating something several times.
The integration of social media posts is largely automated, while the cloud-hosted nature of CMS means multiple users in separate locations can all make changes with the appropriate login credentials. This makes CMS a great feature from a customer’s perspective. Many end users will be amazed at how much they can accomplish without any programming or design skills.
Behind the Scenes
While inexperienced users revel in their newfound page editing skills, a good CMS will be performing a number of technical processes behind the scenes. Foremost among these is the automatic indexation of new content, making sure any changes can be instantly seen by search engines. This is crucial for time-sensitive information, or for inclusion in the News tabs of Google and Bing searches.
Some CMS support plugins that perform specific functions, such as checkout functionality for a company wanting to add an ecommerce element to their site. Finally, customer-facing attributes like FAQ pages and help sections can be added and edited easily, helping to build customer communications and increase the site’s value.
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