Content Management Systems The pros and cons of using Content Management Systems
Ease of UseCreating a website without a CMS, nomatter how trivial, requires sometechnical knowledge, which is hard tofind and expensive to buy. Contentmanagement systems allow us topublish content without gettingwrapped up in technical details. ACMS is a website maintenance tool fornon-technical people.
The WholeShebangSome content management systems allowus to build an entire website, includingweb applications, database access, andtransaction processing. As you mightexpect, though, the more flexibility andfunctionality a CMS provides, the moredifficult it is to use. Theres always thattradeoff. However, for blogging purposesthere are a bunch of CMSs that are easierto set-up and use. For more in-depthinformation, check out our coverageon choosing the best blogging platform.
Low CostFree is my favorite price!WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal arethe most popular CMSs. There arefree versions of all three. Theancient reluctance to use freesoftware is almost gone, but wemust still consider availability ofsupport when deciding what to use.All three of these are popularenough that we should be able tofind support without too muchtrouble.
ConsistentAppearance Many CMSs provide templates that can be used to format new and/or existing presentations. This separates formatting from content, allowing staff to specialize in one or the other. This specialization suggests better productivity at a lower overall cost.
Collaboration &VersioningVersion control and collaborationbetween multiple authors aresupported to one degree oranother in many CMSs. Someprovide a check-out / check-inprocess to prevent multipleupdates overwriting each other.
Other Considerations…Just before you proceed to choosing your CMS
ExtensibilitySome CMSs allow anyone andeveryone to create add-ons or plug-insor modules or what-have-you. Thiswas a good business decision becausespecialized features can be madeavailable more quickly if its not up toone single organization to do all thework. However, wading through thethousands (or hundreds of thousands)of extra features is too daunting a taskto make it worthwhile. Word-of-mouth recommendations andcritiques are especially helpful. Onepoint to remember: Just because itexists doesnt mean its good (or safe).
Dependence onVe n d o rWith the dynamic nature ofthe Internet, any tool we usemust be updated on a regularbasis. For security purposes,updates should be installed assoon as possible after they arereleased. If a CMS supplierceases to exist, the companyusing the CMS will face someunique and immediatechallenges.
Unstable URLsSearch engines assume thatURLs dont change. If a CMSchanges the contents URL, itwill take some time for thesearch engines to catch up. Inthe meantime, part of yourintended audience will not beable to find your content.
SecurityDo you need to control accessto your content? Check outthe features built in to theCMS to see if they will helpyou in this regard. Many do.
PerformanceA CMS can slow down yourwebsite. Or maybe it canspeed it up. This is a muchbigger topic than can fit intoone paragraph, but itssomething we need toinvestigate before selecting aCMS.
ScalabilityHow big will your websitebecome? How do theCMSs support this growth?Example: If the CMSrequires everything to beon one server, scalabilitymay become an issue downthe road.
MultilingualSupportIf your website requiresmultilingual support, make surethe CMS simplifies the process.