Many of our clients ask us to build a CMS (content management system) into their project for easy management and updates. Unfortunately, they have very little information as to which CMS they should really use and base their decisions off of what a competitor did on their project or what their friend told them. CMS are as unique to a web project as their design and agencies should only implement them depending on the client’s end goals.
A Brief CMS Introduction
A content management system is a piece of software that runs your website, allowing you to log in from a secure administrator or “backend.” While logged into your website, you often have the ability to manage all aspects of your content including pictures, text, pages, media, etc. Generally speaking, a content management system only allows you to edit your actual content (text and media).
Two of the most widely known content management systems are Joomla and WordPress. Both are open source, meaning you don’t have to pay for the software. The systems are developed and maintained by an army of engineers, usually as parts of non-profits, such as the organization behind the Firefox browser, Mozilla Foundation.
Both systems come with a basic level of functionality that has greatly improved over the last few years, allowing more flexibility for a growing user base. However, as the user base (websites using one of the two mentioned systems) grows, a need for niche functionality, arises depending on the users’ needs. This is often solved with framework.
A framework is usually identified as a powerful addition to a content management system that already has project specific functionality. This creates an even better user experience or makes updating easier. This framework is what developers use to slice the original design and code against. It often includes software bundles like ticketing a reporting.
A great example of a framework is the Cypress Creek High School Theater Department. They use an e-ticketing framework that sells online tickets, compiles reporting, leverages advertising modules, and is completely responsive on all mobile devices and traditional stations.
Each content management system has specific frameworks. For WordPress, Yootheme provides the Warp framework. For Joomla, Rocket Theme provides the Gantry framework. Some development firms will even cross over and develop for both content management systems.
Other Types of Content Management Systems
Content management system is almost a general term. Technically speaking, any system of software used to update a website is a content management system. They also range widely with things like, Learning Management Systems, which allow you to edit all website content, and also have functionality like online courses, live streaming, attendance, grading, quizzes, tests, and graduation certificates. The more specific functionality you desire, the more specific they system will be, usually in line with your industry.
The Best CMS
Determining which system is really stands out or is the best is based solely on your goals. If your organization needs a lot of functionality and expandability into unrelated functional pieces, then perhaps Joomla is best for you. WordPress might be best if you are just looking to update a blog on a limited basis. A college or university would best be served by a Learning Management System.