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The Internet has come a long way since the days of text-based websites with cheesy, neon GIF animations. Fortunately, the importance of having a presence online has increased in conjunction with the ease of handling it on your own.

I'm talking about the awesomeness of the CMS.

What's a CMS?

"CMS" stands for "content management system." By using a CMS, you don't have to be a coding expert to edit a website's content. The CMS takes the complicated pages of code that developers have to deal with and turn it into a manageable user interface that you can easily learn how to manipulate. In the old days, you had to know PHP, MySQL, HTML, and JavaScript, but now the layman can be his own webmaster.

Let's look at how your business can benefit from a CMS backend.

1. You get to be your own admin

CMS backend refers to all the stuff happening behind the scenes. It's like the switchboard in front of the concert. If pre-CMS life meant paying someone to deal with the backend, post-CMS puts you in total control. Through the CMS, you will be able to edit content, manage users, apply third-party applications, choose website designs, and optimize for searches.

You once had to outsource the admin job. Now, you are the all-powerful admin.
 
Now, you can add, edit, and delete content easily and immediately. CMS streamlines all the processes involved, including formatting the text, adding images and links, tagging, and organizing posts into categories. Most CMSes routes even offer the option of scheduling a post to publish automatically to your blog, freeing up your time.

You can add and control new users. This way, employees can log into the CMS to upload content, perhaps for their department's dedicated blog. You can control each user's level of access in the CMS. For example, an "editor" cannot access administrative parts of the website.

2. Plugins are like apps for your website

Third-party applications are some of the best things about CMSes. Think of the CMS like a giant block that has the all the basics you need. But maybe you want to add something else, such as a sign-up form for a newsletter or an image slider to display your products.

Plugins are the add-ons, the extra blocks that you can clip onto the parent to increase functionality. A CMS makes changing the aesthetic design of the website as easy as hopscotch. There are thousands of themes (free and for purchase) available at the click of a button.

You've probably heard about the importance of SEO. You want your website to be found. A CMS simplifies the whole process of SEO. All you have to do is find a well-reviewed SEO plugin, activate it on your CMS, and follow the instructions!

3. You can expand your business through a CMS

Using a CMS on your business' website is akin to declaring sovereignty. With your newfound freedom from complicated coding, you can start building a company blog, a dedicated support page, a shop, or a forum.

You can choose from countless plugins to set up an e-commerce shop, where you'll display products right there on your website in addition to using a third-party platform. If your field of business lacks a place for people to communicate with one another, perhaps your new forum plugin will provide their go-to destination.

Each of these new aspects of your website will drive additional traffic to you, which will increase chatter, conversion, and reputation. You’ll be the most popular kid on the block.

4. A CMS is an easy-to-use social media megaphone

If you're not interacting with your customers and clients then you're doing social media all wrong... or maybe you're just busy. Now, your CMS makes integrating your business’ website with social media extremely easy.

Automatic posting from the CMS to social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Digg, and StumbleUpon is just a click away. Easily incorporate Facebook comments, live Twitter feed updates, and social media share buttons.

5. You save money

A CMS saves you money. Every little edit to a website would otherwise cost something. And even if you have to hire someone to deal with your CMS, that cost is still cheaper than hiring someone to deal with the alternative, which would be pure code.

* * *

We almost forgot to mention that to have a developer design a custom CMS, it could run you into the tens of thousands of dollars and could end up being more complicated than an Escher drawing. Instead, go for something tried and true.

The most popular CMS offerings include WordPress, Drupal, Typepad, Movable Type, Joomla, and Tumblr.

Above all, make sure you know what your business requires, and prioritize. For example, don't bend over backwards to get the hottest-looking but most useless plugin.

Do your research of those CMS options, and pick the one that best suits your business. 

Continue reading "Five Reasons to Have a Content Management System" ... Read the full article

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

image of Cale Graham

Cale Graham is a writer at Marqana Digital, a digital marketing agency.