A Content Management System (CMS) is a business application for commercially or publicly accessible websites. It typically supports multiple users in a collaborative environment. A CMS enables website owners to add, delete, and edit all types of content without requiring technical skills or knowledge of HTML. The most significant value lies in the ability for someone with little or no technical ability to make changes, such as adding new text or images.
A CMS can broadly be defined as follows:
"Software that offers all the features of traditional website publishing via an intuitive interface and without having to edit code."
Websites with a cumbersome content management system tend to be frustrating for site owners, who are often required to learn how to use unfamiliar tools before they can update their own site content. A good CMS provides both users with the freedom and flexibility needed to manage content quickly and easily through a simple interface rather than manually editing files. There are now many Open Source Content Management Systems available that are easy for end-users with no technical background to install on any hardware platform or web hosting service. The free availability of these systems has created a boom in the number of sites that can benefit from them.
The need for content management systems
If you want to run a website, you probably don't need much convincing about why you should use a Content Management System (CMS) rather than authoring your web pages directly with HTML and adding, editing, and deleting content manually. You may even be pretty certain which CMS you would like to use. However, it is important to talk through your reasons and expectations, so we can help you choose the system best suited for your requirements:
Running a public site? Don't rely on friends and family for updates! A CMS enables any member of the site's audience to add or edit information themselves. This not only ensures that the site is kept up to date and accurate, but it also encourages visitors to contribute.
! A CMS enables any member of the site's audience to add or edit information themselves. This not only ensures that the site is kept up to date and accurate, but it also encourages visitors to contribute. Want some automation? Content Management Systems allow for some degree of automating repetitive tasks - news feeds can be generated automatically from a database, for example. However, don't expect miracles! There are very few automated functions available in most systems that will do all your work for you.
? Content Management Systems allow for some degree of automating repetitive tasks - news feeds can be generated automatically from a database, for example. However, don't expect miracles! Running a commercial site? Your site must attract visitors, so it's important that you keep content fresh and updated. A CMS makes this easier by allowing any member of the team to update or change information easily.
A few examples of Open-Source Content Management Systems are Drupal (www.drupal.org), phpBB (www.phpbb.com), and Mambo Open Source (www.mamboserver.com/). These systems all provide similar functions with slight variations on how they can be used according to your needs, which is why it is important to make sure the one you choose will meet your requirements adequately."
What are some features available in Common Content Management Systems?
"Some of the features that can be found in a content management system include:
Manage multiple authors and users from a single interface, with different privileges for each user.
and users from a single interface, with different privileges for each user. Track information about what is being written on the site, authenticating against a backend database to allow for easy revision of existing documents. Using this feature, you can also restrict what one author may change or add without permission from another.
Authenticating against a backend database to allow for easy revision of existing documents. Using this feature, you can also restrict what one author may change or add without permission from another. A publishing calendar allows the creation of published and unpublished events over a period of time, allowing for a new page or article to be added according to a pre-selected date. This is useful if you want fresh information on an ongoing basis, but don't always want all articles immediately accessible.
allows the creation of published and unpublished events over a period of time, allowing for a new page or article to be added according to a pre-selected date. This is useful if you want. Newsfeeds can also be created automatically from a database table so that visitors can keep up with updates on the site without visiting it themselves.
can also be created automatically from a database table so that visitors can keep up with updates on the site without visiting it themselves. Forms - out of the box functionality allows users to add new items to the site without knowing any code.
- outbox functionality allows users to add new items to the site without knowing any code. Statistics can be added that track visits to your site, giving you information on who is visiting and how they are interacting with your content."
"Some of the disadvantages involved with using a CMS include:
There may be limitations on features available if using an open-source package, or it may lack some useful functions. This will vary depending on which platform you choose, so make sure it's right for you before committing yourself.
If you can't get someone qualified to program in your chosen system, extra costs may be incurred in implementing it to your site.
If you are using an existing system, this may require some degree of training for current employees or freelancers that would be writing for the site."
-Drastically cuts down on coding time -Changes can be made by non-coders -Contents can be edited in real-time without uploading a new version every time -Subtly encourages updates constantly over long periods of time making it easier to keep up with player changes without constantly updating any kind of xls file or document.-Can't really help content stay fresh since it makes it harder to determine what information needs changing but I'm sure you could rig something up if you wanted to.-Doesn't offer much in terms of player tracking or stats of any sort. -If you don't have someone who can code it, the cost might be more than if you just keep a spreadsheet and update it often. -Typically, there's a small learning curve with CMS software unless you're using a content management system that is almost entirely pointed and click. A lot of the options for this type of software I've seen seem to do more managing on their own rather than giving publishers as much control over what they want to publish as possible so there's actually something I would caution people about...
-What is meant by "out of the box" functionality?
That sounds nice from a consumer perspective but from the perspective of those who are selling it, how does that affect possible customizing? I don't do this for a living so if someone could point me in the right direction, that would be great. -Most of these systems are really designed to serve content to websites on an individual basis. If you're looking for something that will work more like a blog with one person authoring posts on their own schedule but multiple people reading them, then you can probably find some out-of-the-box solution there. Most CMS software is built more on the idea of managing user accounts and permissions rather than tracking articles or data over time though. As an example, say I wanted to write articles about new heroes coming into the game every day while also having regular biweekly developer interviews...I think it'd be better to use WordPress here since it's designed to be more blog-like with multiple authors. The cost just might outweigh the benefit, depending on how much work you need to be done to get it up and running. This is kind of where you could fall back to using a spreadsheet - don't want everyone editing it at once so maybe one person can update an article every couple of days until I've got enough material for my biweekly interview posts. -At face value, it seems nice but someone has to know about all these CMS systems in order to code them into your site or pay someone else to do that. What if the person you hire doesn't know about your chosen CMS system? Are there additional costs involved? I don't think this really matters since whether they know the platform or not, they're probably going to need to know how to code (assuming you want them to do it well) but this is something I'd like clarification on.
-Free? Does that mean open source or does it only mean the initial cost is free since everything someone needs to do after that will cost money? I'm not sure what "sponsored" means. Is there some kind of trial period where the CMS software costs nothing and then later on if you decide you want more from it, those options are going to start costing? If so, how much more is a lot more as opposed to just a little bit more? Can some sort of basic monitoring be done for content without licensing fees though?"
and foremost, thanks for the feedback and questions. I wrote a pretty lengthy response but figured it was probably more than what would end up in the article itself so I'll embed that here too:
"I don't know much about CMS systems at all, but there is one we use on our site ( www.dotesports.com ) called WordPress and it's open-source which means you can download it and install it on your own web server for free (though if you want certain features like guaranteed uptime or better spam protection, you'd need to pay someone). You can also pay someone to manage hosting, security updates, etc., or just get a managed WordPress host that does all that stuff for you. -We use WordPress.