What is a CMS in Web Design?

New to web design? Never heard of CMS before? This post will give you a basic understanding of what CMS is, the benefits of using one, and some useful tips!

The popular saying, “content is king” holds true when it comes to any successful website, may it be for your online business or your personal blog. Content is what you present to your audience and, to a very large extent, what keeps them coming back for more. You need to consistently add valuable content to your website in order to grow your traffic and this is where using a content management system comes in handy.

What is a CMS?

A content management system (CMS for short) is a computer software application that allows you to manage your website content easily and efficiently. It takes care of the complicated backend coding and offers you a wide range of templates and plugins that you can use to design and update your website. WordPress, Drupal, Joomla!, OpenCart, Squarespace, Weebly and Wix are some of the most popular CMS platforms used by businesses today.

Read more: Wix vs WordPress: Which is better for your business?

Why use a CMS?

Easy to use. Not too long ago, only experienced web designers and developers can build websites and manage web content through a series of complex codes. But thanks to the birth of CMS, creating and updating websites became more accessible especially to those with limited computer programming skills and experience. You don’t even have to devote weeks or months to study how to use a CMS because most of them have a user-friendly interface!

Instant results. Adding, editing and publishing your website content can be accomplished in just a few clicks and done in-house.

Distinct functions for improved focus. CMS platforms give you the freedom to produce, edit and publish content separately from improving the design and functionality of your website. This enables users that aren’t technically trained to contribute and edit their content on the website without having to deal with the design or the code.

Boost your SEO-friendly score. You can easily customise your page titles, metadata and URLs to make your website SEO-friendly. You can even take your optimisation to the next level with the help of advanced SEO plugins.

Collaborative and secure. CMS platforms allow you to grant access to different users depending on their designated role (author, editor, and administrator, for example) and determine their level of access to your website. For example, you can assign your virtual assistant to write, edit, and publish blog posts, while your full stack developer performs UI/UX improvements and resolves caching issues. Since you yourself will choose who gets access to what part of your website, you can rest assured that your website stays safe and secure.

Now, let us learn about themes and plugins, which are a couple of terms that you will come across when you are learning about CMS.

What is a theme?

A theme refers to your website’s overall look and style. CMS platforms usually come with their own set of free themes. But if nothing in their collection interests you, you can check out theme marketplaces that offer both paid and free themes for more options. Themes are generally chosen for aesthetic purposes, but remember that they also differ according to their level of functionality and compatibility for mobile devices, for example.

What is a plugin?

Plugins are downloadable applications that enhance your website’s functionality. Installing plugins to your website will enable plenty of basic and advanced features, such as email subscription, analytics, click-to-call buttons, payment gateways, and many more.

Now that you have a basic understanding of what a CMS is and what benefits you stand to gain from using one, we’ll give you some tips to get the most functionality out of your CMS.

How to Maximise Your CMS to Improve Your Site’s Performance

CMS platforms offer plenty of features that can take your website to a whole new level. These include regular security updates, customisable themes and plugins, and plenty of search engine optimisation options.

Take advantage of security upgrades. CMS platforms that roll out security updates regularly are safe and secure. These updates lower the risk of getting your site breached by hackers. All you have to do is to update your website as soon as the latest improvements have been released. You can also take extra precautions by implementing a two-factor authentication process.

Customise to express your brand’s personality. Although pre-designed themes can be limiting, many CMS platforms offer customisation options through an online editing tool. This allows you to change your theme’s colours, resize the images, use a different typeface, or add pages. You have thousands of plugins to choose from so chances are high that you’ll find something that suits your website. Then there’s always the option to hire a professional web designer who can provide you with custom-made themes and plugins.

Install an SEO plugin for better SEO performance. Generally speaking, websites built on CMS are SEO-friendly. They have been optimised for basic SEO requirements, such as indexing, fast loading speed, optimised images, and social media buttons. If you need to optimise your site further, simply install an SEO plugin to create user-friendly URLs, page titles, page descriptions, and meta keywords.