11/09/2020 - What Is a Content Management System? | Website Blog | Purple Creative Studio
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What Is a Content Management System?


There are so many options out there when it comes to creating a website for your business so it can be difficult to know where to start with choosing the right option for you. With it being National Coding Week, we thought it was a great time to put our technical hats on and explain a little more about what goes into the building of a website.

In this blog, we’re going to talk about one of the key things which could make your life a whole lot easier to support the future of your business -  a content management system. So, let’s take a look at what exactly a content management system is, and how it could help you get the most out of your new website.

What Is a Content Management System?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a software platform that lets its users create, edit, archive, collaborate, report, publish, distribute and inform - in short, it is the backbone of a website. Its Graphic User Interface (GUI) makes interacting with a website's database user friendly so even if you have no knowledge, or limited knowledge of coding, you can still edit and publish beautifully polished web pages.

Websites use HTML (the Hypertext Markup Language) and CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) to create and design its pages. They are two of the essential core components to create pages on your website. HTML provides the structure of the page and CSS makes it look how you would like it to. 

A CMS allows users without any coding knowledge to amend, modify and edit content to websites using a WYSIWYG interface, an acronym for "what you see is what you get." The data entered into CMS software is stored in a database, which renders the web page via a template. The CSS of that page can then control the output and provide consistency if multiple people are responsible for the upkeep of a website.

How Does a CMS Work?

A CMS allows users to manage content from an internal user interface or dashboard. Basically, you will log into the back end of the site, upload or input your content and when logged out you will see that content styled to suit the look of your site. There’s no need to worry about code - let your developer do that - so you can make quick amendments to your website similar to how you would a document.

What are my options?

There are lots of options out there. You’ve probably heard of WordPress which is a well known CMS. However, as an agency, we choose to favour a platform called DotNetNuke (DNN). Why? Well, WordPress works well for thousands of businesses but we found that once you start to add functionality such as snazzy social media feeds and such, there can be instances where site speed is negatively affected. DNN allows us to add as much functionality as the client would like, with the freedom to control how everything is styled and how it functions while the efficient code base keeps the site nice and speedy. We often hear of clients struggling with WordPress too, as the CMS can get confusing due to there being so many editable options and plugins.

We choose to specialise in DNN as we feel the CMS makes it simple for our clients to manage their own websites and allows us as developers to make intricate changes when needed. DNN also offers increased security through the use of role permissions and the security measures built into the CMS. You may not have heard of DNN before, with WordPress being the most commonly mentioned option - but DNN does actually power millions of sites across the world - including BOSE and NASA! DNN is scalable too, meaning it can power a small but mighty brochure site for a startup business, right up to a highly functional multi language website.

What are the benefits of a CMS?

Basically, a CMS allows you to edit your site without having to spend hours learning code - you can leave that to us. Once we launch a new website, we host a training session with our clients which should enable them to maintain their own website with up to date information, then we’re here to help with drastic changes if they need it!

A CMS should overall make the experience of having your own website a whole lot more enjoyable - no stressing over how content looks as it will appear on the page perfectly styled. You can also have multiple users that are allowed access to your CMS too - and assigning them different role permissions will allow them to edit certain elements only.

Of course, being able to manage your own site isn’t just a positive when it comes to keeping it relevant, it’ll help save you money too. The more you are able to do yourself, the less you will need to go back to your developer and the less they will charge you!

User View VS. Admin View

As you can see here, when logged into our CMS you have the option to click on icons to amend the content. All you'll need to do is click around your website and change the wording without having to navigate a complicated portal to make changes!

Choosing a CMS System for you

One thing it’s important to consider when choosing a CMS is to ensure that it is Open Source. A CMS that isn’t OpenSource will have been created by a single developer, meaning that should you want to move your website away from that developer you will struggle as your developer will own your CMS. WordPress and DNN are both Open Source, allowing users to move between different developers - it’s just a case of finding a company who has experience with your CMS. Of course, we would never want a client to move away from us, but should they choose to do so we are comfortable in the knowledge we have provided them with a website they are able to continue using with a different developer. The longevity of a website matters to us which is why using an Open Source CMS is important to us.

How Can Purple Help?

So, as we’ve mentioned throughout we offer a CMS platform with every website built called DotNetNuke. We carefully considered lots of options and settled on DNN for it’s ease of use for clients, and also the ability to add very complex functionality to future websites while still maintaining simple methods of updating content.

When we welcome a new client, we talk through the benefits of our CMS and a training session is also included within the website quote. Generally speaking, after an hour or so of training, clients are confident in editing their own sites and only need to come back to us for larger changes. For anything that requires our assistance, we’ll take a look at how we can help and discuss the cost with you. We want your site to grow with your business and in our eyes, a site is never finished so we’ll always be on hand to help and advise as you need us. 

If you'd like our help, please get in touch and we'll be more than happy to help you decide if our CMS is for you, and how it could benefit your business!

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