What Are The Benefits Of A CMS ?
The benefits of a CMS or content management system are many, and in fact so compelling that most online businesses will eventually transfer to one, or a similar database-driven solution. Probably the only commercial websites left using HTML websites will be small local businesses that simply need a few pages online that are never altered, or those with custom functionality and a large budget.
Fast page edits
A content management system allows the site owner or webmaster to edit pages online, via an ordinary browser, and the changes go live immediately. A few lines of text can therefore be changed onsite in three or four minutes. This should be compared with the old system of HTML pages where an editor program had to be used and some sort of technical knowledge was needed, or a website builder would do the work, with an inbuilt delay and cost. With a CMS, a quick price change can take under a minute, or a new page can be added in less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee.
The page design on a CMS is controlled by templates. Normally, these can be changed and customised so that the site will have a unique look, even if stock templates are used. It also means that a site redesign can take around ten minutes for the basic work, which is simply a template swap. Some tweaking might be required but in general this system is much faster and cheaper than with HTML.
Rapid new page elements
Various page elements can be published or unpublished with a few clicks in the administration area, often called the admin backend. For example a News column or a Popular Pages display can be shown by just selecting that module and clicking to publish it. The chosen module (or display block) can be shown on one page, several pages, or all pages. Various custom modules will usually be available to show all sorts of text items or images.
Image rotators, Flash slideshows, and image galleries can be added very easily. A folder is created on the server, the images are uploaded (often via the admin backend, so no FTP is required), and the module is published to the chosen page. Result: an image rotator at the chosen spot on the page.
Routine website changes
Above all, a CMS makes website changes a routine, easy process that enables the site to be updated frequently and be kept looking fresh. It is a painless process that is in direct contrast to the old web page system, where changes were tricky, costly, or involved delay - so they were only ever made reluctantly. Change is so easy on a CMS that it becomes a new marketing tool, used as a matter of course instead of being a painful and costly exercise. Most websites will be able to take advantage of this functionality. As it is so easy to change a price, a phone number, a date, or a detail anywhere, it becomes a routine matter to update the site. A CMS is a dynamic site, instead of being a static, fixed affair like an HTML site.
A CMS can do things that are either impossible or difficult (i.e. costly) on an HTML website, and part of the attraction is the speed with which it can be done. For example you could have a page or a section - or the entire site - functioning as a directory. A section or the whole site can function as a membership area. A page can have properly-organised downloads, with controlled access rights. Alternative languages can be offered. The site can present in the correct language for a visitor's browser settings. The site can function today as a car sales business, tomorrow as a real estate business. The possibilities are extended.
Website quality is an important factor in commercial success. This may involve the appearance of the site, the code quality, and qualitative measurements such as accessibility and usability. In all of these areas a modern CMS may have big advantages over an HTML site. In particular, the code quality of the best open-source content management systems is exceptionally good, and far superior to that offered by many HTML-type websites. This translates directly into a high SEO potential, meaning search success and therefore icommerce success - and this can be proved and demonstrated easily.
ROI and results
Since many high-quality CMS are open-source and therefore mostly free, costs for an install are not excessive. Web hosting has to be chosen more carefully, but the end result is a modern, quality website that can have daily edits and additions as required, with the ease of editing a Word document combined with browsing.
In the end, commercial results are what counts - and it would be hard to equal those from a modern, search-friendly, easily-edited CMS.
Ask our opinion on which CMS is right for your business.