Content Management Systems

 

What is a content management system?

A content management system, or CMS for short, is a web platform built by professional web developers for the purpose of managing and publishing content on the internet.

Under the Hood

All content management systems are written in a server side scripting language such as PHP (open source for Linux/Unix/Windows), ASP (proprietary to Microsoft for Windows), or Cold Fusion (proprietary to Adobe). Additionally, all content management systems are designed to connect to and store content and configuration settings in a database such as MYSQL (open source for Linux/Unix/Windows), or MSSQL (proprietary to Microsoft for Windows). The CMS will always feature an administration back end control panel accessible via login for performing administrative tasks and publishing content. And of course, all content management systems provide a front end to display the website’s content to web surfers.

Importance of Selecting a Good CMS

The CMS is the backbone of a website and can have a huge impact on the outcome of any internet marketing campaign. A slow and/or cumbersome CMS can place a burden on the website administrator effectively retarding web content growth and evolution and frustrating readers with protracted page load times, often resulting in lost traffic and lost revenues. Conversely, a fast and user-friendly CMS can reduce the administrative burden of maintaining the website, effectively accelerating content growth and evolution, while simultaneously providing readers with rapid page load times, ultimately resulting in increased web traffic and maximized reader retention.

Fast, Efficient, User-Friendly, and Free!

WordPress

There are a vast array of content management systems available to today’s web content publishers, and some of the best ones are free. As of the time of this writing (October, 2011) the best CMS for nearly every situation is WordPress. Free, fast, incredibly efficient, and extremely user-friendly, WordPress just makes life easy! Written in PHP and MYSQL, WordPress is built entirely on open source technology. It isn’t perfect for every situation, but it is perfect for most situations. This website is built on WordPress.

MediaWiki

WordPress is not ideal for every project. Where information is highly technical and requires extensive references and footnotes, such as medical and scientific data, the best solution is MediaWiki. MediaWiki is the same CMS used for Wikipedia and, just like WordPress, it is completely free and open source (PHP/MYSQL).

Free Upgrades! WOOHOO!!

Both WordPress and MediaWiki are supported by highly skilled and talented developer communities with regular free updates. WordPress even provides an instant one-click update process that takes your website’s CMS to the latest and greatest version in less than a minute. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Free Themes! Cheap Themes! Create Your Own Themes!

Over 50 million websites worldwide run WordPress and there is a huge community of theme developers. The best themes require a nominal payment to the creators, often giving membership access to dozens of beautifully designed themes.

Any developer with good PHP, HTML, and CSS writing skills can develop a custom theme for WordPress. Furthermore, WordPress imposes no limitations on web designers, the sky is the limit.

Built-in SEO

Perhaps the most import feature of both WordPress and MediaWiki is that they are search engine optimized right out of the box. For WordPress, a developer need only turn on the search engine friendly URLs feature and configure it as desired. Other content management systems, such as Joomla 1.5, have made implementation of search engine friendly URLs a developer’s worst nightmare. WordPress and MediaWiki make implementation of features like these effortless.