Did you know that among the existing types of websites, CMS are the most widespread? Few people know them by this acronym but sites with content management systems are very popular.
This is not surprising as they offer advantages and comfort of use for their users. Although they generally require a lot of upstream work, CMS-type sites do not (or require little) expertise and technical knowledge. Through this article, we will explain what a CMS is, its main advantages and disadvantages. We will take this opportunity to take a short tour of the most famous CMS platforms.
The CMS website: definition
First of all, what does CMS mean? It stands for Content Management System. In this concept, a website is above all a set of content that you can easily manipulate, change and format as you want.
This is precisely possible since CMS are software that have been conveived to design and dynamically update a website or multimedia application in a few clicks.
This type of tool has two facets:
On the one hand, we find the administrator interface, where we make additions and changes to content such as articles, sections, photo gallery, menu, etc..
It is also the place where we work on the presentation of the content, i.e. its design: colors, fonts, layout of pages…
On the other hand, there is obviously the user part, which is the part visible by any Internet user who visits your website.
The arrival of CMS in the Internet world has been a real revolution. Until then, only computer developers and webmasters were able to “code” a website. Indeed, at that time, it was necessary to write line by line each code in the HTML language. The work was hard!
Now, thanks to these tools, anyone able to use the mouse can embark on the adventure of “website creation”. Indeed, no need to be an expert in programming language.
What are the advantages of a CMS site?
The advantages of CMS are numerous. We will try to highlight what makes the success of these software the have become popular in a few years.
Ready to use
You often have nothing to install on your computer. Most existing platforms allow you to create your website directly online. You register, and off you go for your first steps on a CMS.
Accessible to all
We said it, it is enough to be a little curious and at ease with a computer to be able to be initiated with CMS, at least to master the base of it. This way, you or other members of your team can update the site internally without the intervention of a professional.
You can count on the community
Each CMS has its followers and therefore its community, accentuated by the open source cms phenomenon. Forums, blogs and other specialized sites that provide advice and allow to ask questions, to exchange between webmaster apprentices and experts abound on the web. At the slightest obstacle, we are almost sure to find a solution thanks to this form of collaboration.
There are different CMS platforms, but their common point is ease of use. With a simple click or an intuitive drag and drop, you can give form and consistency to the content. To write a text, for example, it is like on a Word editor. The effort that has been made on this aspect is admirable.
A myriad of design themes
With the stroke of a magic wand, or rather thanks to the predefined themes which are not counted any more, you save the expenses of graphic designer. The CMS thus makes it possible to create a website with a professional look easily.
A bit like LEGO, you can add one, two or even dozens of modules or plugins to the CMS to have more or less complex features.
What are the disadvantages of a CMS site?
Despite this craze for the creation of CMS site, it has its weak points which also deserve to be mentioned.
It can quickly get complicated
If initiation to CMS is within everyone’s reach, the language used can very quickly block a computer novice. It is not excluded that one needs to make such or such other program work, which is not so simple to understand. Moreover, the advanced features of CMS are literally incomprehensible to the general public.
Free? Not quite
The CMS base is generally free of charge. However, the bill tends to inflate as the plugins are added. If you want to have a slightly original theme, there again, it pays off. At the end of the day, outside the basic showcase site and without any real personalization, you necessarily go through the checkout. Moreover, it is necessary to pay to have a real domain name (ex:.com)
Flexible, yes, but to some extent
For a CMS to see the light of day, experienced developers have worked on it so that as many people as possible with different abilities and needs can use them easily. It is therefore to be expected that sometimes what they propose to you does not correspond exactly to what you seek.
You have to make a choice
Paradoxically, choosing among all existing CMS platforms is not an easy task. It is a decision that will have a real impact on the rest of your website creation project, especially if it is an e-commerce site. Important questions arise. On what criteria will you orient your choice? The design and the multiplicity of themes? Or the support of a large user community? The power of an ultra-comprehensive CMS?
Beware of non-existent supports
You will at one time or another need help with the vagaries of CMS: compatibility problems, updates, etc. Beware of CMS that have neither community behind them nor customer service capable of helping you. In the event of an obstacle, your site is likely either never to see the day, or to be not available any more.
Zoom on the different creation platforms
There are different platforms for creating sites of this type. The 3 most popular platforms are WordPress, Joomla and Drupal.
These are relatively easy to install, have many pre-installed modules, are plugged into active communities and offer regular updates.
WordPress, when you like simple and effective things
In its early days, in 2003, WordPress was primarily aimed at blog fans. But since then, it has made its way and today, it is the most used CMS platform to create a site or an application. This is explained by an intuitive interface, a system rather easy to learn and free. In a few clicks, we get a showcase site that holds the road, and if we want to go further, the infinity of WordPress plugins is there to help.
Joomla, the open source easy to install
This CMS is undoubtedly one of the easiest to set up. Joomla was born in 2005. And, to date, over 4000 modules are available to add very convenient features to a website. Its open source code is regularly updated by passionate developers. In addition, we can count on a very active Joomla community.
Drupal, a powerful tool
With Drupal, you can do amazing things. This CMS offers a great flexibility, we can customize absolutely everything. However, to do a little more than a basic site with this content manager, you need solid knowledge, be rigorous and document yourself.
Find the right web agency to develop your website in CMS
There are a number of CMS agencies that can help you set up your website. They are experts in the field and can advise you on the strategy you can implement and get the most out of your new investment.
A web agency that understands you
In order for this agency to succeed in setting up a website which brings a plus to your brand or your company, it is important that it is listening to you. Your future web agency must be attentive to the economic context in which you operate: your city, your region or your sector if it is an international company.
A service provider who will highlight your assets
Enhancing your image, your products and your services is now based on an attractive and if possible creative website. An asset will be the agency’s ability to design a professional website, to offer a personalized and responsive webdesign, but also a solid marketing strategy.