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What Is a CMS and Why Should I Care?

by Kevin D. Hendricks

While the acronym “CMS” can mean a lot of things, in the realm of the web it usually refers to a content management system, which is software that provides an easy way to organize and manage web content for non-techies.

That’s big, because it makes maintaining and updating a web site simple and affordable.

Once upon a time updating a web site meant passing off your polished and perfected writing to a programmer who would convert it into a mishmash of computer lingo, often unintentionally skewering some of the finer points of style and layout (“You wanted a new paragraph where?”). The process was slow and painful for everyone involved, not to mention expensive.

Nowadays, thanks to the advent of WYSIWYG editors (“What You See Is What You Get,” like the Bold and Italic functions in Microsoft Word) and content management systems, you don’t need a degree in computer science to update a web site. If you can successfully send an e-mail, you can update a web page. Of course CMS’s can range from free, open source software (like WordPress, which is technically a blog system but can be used as a CMS to run small websites) to enormously expensive custom-designed solutions.

A CMS is an enormous boost to the small business or organization that doesn’t have a massive tech budget.

It simplifies the process and puts the web site back into the hands of content creators, allowing you to spend more time on what really matters—your content.

Tip: If you’re considering using WordPress for your website or blog, one way you can “tryout” WordPress is to register for a free account at WordPress.com. Although there are some differences, the interface or “Dashboard” is almost identical.

Next Post: Why Should I Use a Content Management System: 5 Reasons



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