To Use a CMS or No CMS? That is the Question

Many times, companies don’t design their websites to be an extension of their sales efforts such that it engages prospects and generates inbound inquiries. If your website no more than an online brochure with contact information, it may be time to create a new one that doesn’t sell your business short. Your website should contain compelling, relevant content, tell your story, convince potential customers you can solve their problems, and make it easy for them to contact you.

When it’s time to design a new website, you must decide whether to use a CMS or no CMS. CMS stands for content management system, which is sometimes referred to as “content management software.” Examples include WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal.

You may be avoiding creating a new website or enhancing your current site because HTML, CSS, and PHP sound like foreign languages. With a CMS, you don’t have to know how to code with these programming tools to make site updates. At esd & associates, we always encourage clients to have CMS-based sites.

The Benefits of CMS Tools

Joomla CMS1) The Website is Yours

Creating new content for a website with HTML requires numerous lines of code, tags, and parameters. Adding something as simple as an image or paragraph of text to a page requires extensive HTML knowledge and experience.

A website built using a CMS allows a non-tech savvy person to be able to own and manage their online content anywhere, anytime via a web browser. Many CMS platforms come with easy website content creation interfaces that are similar to word processing software, like Microsoft Word. It gives you the power to control your site content and update it anytime. This will ultimately keep the ongoing cost of site updates at a more manageable level since you can easily make the changes yourself.

2) Collaborate and Publish at Any Time

One of the main benefits of using a website content management system is that multiple authors can contribute content collaboratively. Different levels of privileges can also be set if the manager wishes to review, edit, and manage the content more closely. You can also schedule your article to be published at certain time.

3) Improve Your SEO 

Many major CMSs provide basic SEO out-of-the-box. Of course, you can always have a more experienced SEO expert to refine your SEO elements, but a CMS will boost your SEO after tweaking a few settings.

4) Keep Your Website Theme Consistent

The concept of a CMS is to build a website based on a coded template framework so all pages will have consistent look and feel. The main content area is database-driven, so when you add or edit your content, it will not affect the site’s overall look.

5) Changes Are Simple

Because a CMS operates in a central location with one global template, it’s easy to make small edits. For example, if you want to add a new menu item, you only need to update that in one place. Without CMS software, this would be a major undertaking that would be manually done with code.

6) Pack More Features

Extended features like calendars, site search, and photo galleries are either included in the CMS or can be added at minimal cost. These features can be managed from within the CMS, reducing the need to invest and manage multiple systems at same time.

The Hybrid Solution

A CMS right out of the box isn’t right for every business. Sometimes, we will have websites that employ the framework bone structure of a CMS to provide clients the power to control their website contents and updates, with the addition of hard-coded custom modules to provide flexibility and tailor each individual business’s specific needs.

A Word of Caution

Unfortunately, like modern computers, CMSs frequently release security patches and updates. It is crucial for to keep your CMS updated at all times. Make sure that you or the company that manages your website periodically updates it for you.

Before you start your next website development, ask yourself what functionality and features you want for your website and consult with a CMS expert like esd to find the best solution for you.

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Written by Judy Tsai

Judy Tsai leads the digital development projects for national and Texas-based clients, overseeing all aspects of the agency’s and clients’ software systems, server operations, app and website development, and data mining and analysis. An information technology master, she builds large, complex interactive products that deliver ease, usability and functionality of a simple web interface. Read more.

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