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A content management system, or CMS, can be a set of related programs or a specific software application that manages digital content.

Many CMS platforms can be used to create and edit content as well.

You’ll find them used most often for web content management or for enterprise content management.

The former is designed to create collaboration for website authoring and publishing. The most popular CMS in the world today for web content management is WordPress.

The latter is designed to act as a digital asset manager, facilitating collaboration within a professional environment to bring multiple end-users with differing roles together to complete projects. Box is an example of a leading enterprise content management system.

How is a Content Management System Helpful?

CMS platforms are helpful because they help you to create, edit, or delete content from your websites without worrying about the background code involved.

These platforms will also help you manage how your content is delivered to an end-user once it has been published.

Although there are several different features found on the various CMS platforms offered today, there are four key functions that every good platform should offer.

  • Intuitive Indexing. This feature makes it easier to find and retrieve the content people want through various search terms or functions. Specific content is accessible by searing for a specific keyword, an author, or even the date the content was published.
  • Content must be updated after it is published. Even pillar content or evergreen content requires a periodic update to remain relevant. It must also be capable of making immediate edits after an initial publication to remove errors or add new information as needed.
  • There should be a template, if not a set of templates, that can be used with a content management system to create consistent visuals while publishing. This key function also creates consistency within the brand message.

As for the different optional features, you can find everything from search engine optimization recommendations to administrative panels to group-based permission systems.

At the end of the day, you must choose the CMS which will best meet the needs of your brand and business.

Why Choose to Use a CMS?

If you have a website, then you are a publisher.

Many brands and businesses don’t think of themselves as publishers, which limits the effectiveness of their content.

Choosing a CMS means you are choosing a plan to control how information is controlled, then viewed, on your website. You will know who is in charge of each content page that has been published.

When a set of templates are used on a website, a CMS will help you maintain the consistency of your display to visitors without changing the writer’s voice your brand has developed.

At the end of the day, a good CMS makes your website more secure and easier to use. With the correct features for your business, it will also make your website less expensive to maintain.

Is a CMS Really Necessary for a Website?

In a 2014 survey by Docurated, IT leaders said that the inability to find content, along with poor mobility, were the biggest challenges they faced.

That fact is still true today.

From a business standpoint, content is often difficult to access and manage. 77% of businesses use file servers as their primary destination for documents. Almost 4 out of every 5 documents is stored on-site instead of in cloud storage.

Instead of eliminating silos, companies are creating more silos because of how they are managing their content.

Now, if you’re a sole proprietor with HTML knowledge, then maybe a CMS isn’t something that is 100% necessary for you to accomplish your goals. For everyone else, a good content management system makes life easier.

That is because a good CMS allows you to focus on your content instead of worrying about how it looks or is managed after it is published.

Who Benefits the Most from a Content Management System?

  • Corporations that require version controls for various internal or legal purposes.
  • A large team of authors and editors with a need to have an approval workflow implemented.
  • Publishers of serialized content with brand value, such as press releases, blog posts, or landing pages.
  • Brands that want to quickly implement a search utility.
  • Companies that post content in multiple languages or use heavily localized content as their primary source of information.
  • Any business that wants to efficiently create content (which should be everyone business today)

Is a CMS the Right System for You?

A content management system makes life easier. It isn’t the only solution available to help you manage your content, though it is one of the most effective tools that is available right now.

A good CMS should be easy to learn. It should also be simple to use.

With a little bit of training, even those who struggle to learn computer concepts should be able to use the right CMS without a large time investment.

The CMS you choose should also offer scalability.

Your brand or business might be operating on a smaller scale right now. Where will you be 12 months from now? Or in 5 years? If your CMS doesn’t grow with you, then you’ll either limit your growth or force yourself into a secondary investment you may not want to make.

Most importantly, the best CMS platforms keep your website secure.

It takes a lot of work to create valuable, authentic content today. In some ways, information is our new global currency. Any website can be hacked, and the published information can be stolen. The best CMS platforms help you to minimize this risk.

As you make your decision about content management, assess the amount of information you create. Think about what threats you’ll face as your website grows.

Plan for having more creators involved in the content planning process. Are you going to have any workflow challenges?If so, then you’re going to want a good content management system.