Content Management Systems: An Overview

If you've opted for a simple website without any custom functionality, you'll definitely need a content management system. A content management system is a web-based management system that allows you to add, design, and manage web content without programming. The goal of the content management system is to make web management easy and accessible to non-technical people.

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Content Management Systems in Detail

In our previous blog post we talked about the differences between a website and web application. A content management system is actually a web application created by someone else that can be used to build a website.

Everything from page logic to file management, security and design is pre-programmed. The end user only has to design a suitable website using the content management system. Content management systems are used in the same way by experienced programmers and IT companies, and they can be further programmed to fit different purposes. There are different content management systems, and we’ll discuss four popular options.

Advertis recommends: Wordpress

Did you know that more than 39% of the world's websites run on WordPress? Unarguably the world's most popular content management system WordPress is a free and open source software that anyone can contribute to. Transparent development and open source code also ensures the security and long-term maintenance of WordPress.

WordPress started out as a free blogging software that has now evolved into a fully-featured content management system that can be set up in minutes. With WordPress you can design blogs, websites and introduce your company's activities. Base Wordpress functionality can be extended with various plugins. For example, you can use the WooCommerce plugin to turn WordPress into an online store. There are many plugins, some provide statistics for page visits, others optimize the website for search engines or make the website multilingual. There are many possibilities. It is also possible to extend WordPress by implementing custom functionality, if it does not already exist in the form of plugins. This may require programming.

The downside is that although WordPress itself is free and there are many plugins that allow you to extend the basic functionality of WordPress, these plugins usually start requiring money at some point.

Content Management System: Drupal

Drupal is a free open-source content management system. Similarly to WordPress, you can extend the basic functionality of Durpal with plugins. Drupal is popular amongst universities and government agencies. Getting started with Drupal is harder for non-techincal users than compared to for example WordPress. Drupal can, however, be repurposed a lot, so it is well-suited for supporting IT services or projects.

Content Management System: Joomla

Joomla is a free and open-source content management system. Joomla currently, at the time of writing, has over 2 million active installations. With Joomla the content management system comes with search engine optimization included. In addition, Joomla comes with free and built-in multilingual support. Joomla also has many plugins and like WordPress, can be extended further by programming.

Content Management System: Wix

Wix differs from previous content management systems due to being closed-source. With Wix you don't have to think about domain configuration or web hosting and all services come in a single package, including the content management system. Wix's content management system takes a visual approach, similar to the Estonian company Voog. Wix has created different design templates from which to choose from if you don't have the time or effort to start designing yourself. It should be mentioned that once a design template has been selected, it can unfortunately not be changed. The Wix’s all-inclusive package comes with limitations.

As the customer has no real control over the web server, it is not possible to customize Wix much with programming. Wix has a plugin store that allows you to add some additional functionality. To create an online store with Wix, you still have to pay extra for the package.

To Summarize

In general, all of the previously mentioned content management systems offer similar capabilities for creating a regular websites. For all systems we notice that a base has been built, which can be expanded and redesigned with the use of plugins.

Open-source content management systems can also be programmed into web applications. When choosing a CMS, user friendliness should be a taken into consideration. For beginners or non-technical people, we recommend WordPress.

Developers and digital agencies are also encouraged to consider Drupal or Joomla. Wix could be suitable for beginners who are not interested in extended additional functionality and the time it takes to design a website, acquire hosting and configure a domain. In the case of Wix, however, the previously mentioned limitations must be taken into account.

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