What Is Content?
Dumb question? Not really. When you work in the world of digital marketing, it's easy to get caught up in industry jargon. And that's not even getting into all the crazy acronyms we like to throw around! Sometimes it makes us sound smart, sometimes pretentious. But if we lose you from the get-go with all our technical terms, then we aren't really doing our jobs, are we?
Content is really just the presentation of information we put on our websites. It is information presented for a specific purpose and for a specific audience. Content can be in the form of web pages, blog entries, podcasts, videos, graphs--you name it. It's all that important stuff you want to share with your audience, and, hopefully, have them respond to favorably in your CTA. (That's "call to action" - see what I mean about industry jargon?)
What Is a Content Management System?
Ever heard of the term HTML? Unless you're a whiz with information technology, even knowing it's an acronym for hypertext markup language isn't any help. Back in the dark ages of the digital world, if you wanted to write good content and get your work up online, you needed to have at minimum some basic computer coding knowledge.
With the advent of Content Management Systems, however, that necessity was effectively eliminated. Basically, a content management system (aka CMS - hey, sometimes brevity is a good thing!) is software for managing content.
There are two types of systems under this umbrella. The first, known as enterprise content management, refers to software that helps workers within an organization collaborate online through the sharing of company documents and records and other digital assets. It allows different levels of access to information based on a person's role in the company, and it keeps that content secure behind a company's firewall. The second, and the one we'll talk about here, is for web content management, the information you want to share publicly on the web.
A CMS can not only help facilitate the creation of content for your website, it can also help with editing, organizing, and publishing it. Does the name WordPress ring any bells? It's one of the most popular CMS software options out there.
So There Are Options?
Aren't there always? Whatever CMS option you select, it will generally fall into one of three major categories -- Open Source, Proprietary, and Software as a Service. And while each of these platforms have different attributes, they all include basic elements such as search and retrieval features, indexing, and revision and publishing capabilities.
WordPress, Joomla, and Dumal are all examples of Open-Source systems. Easy to use and popular with first time CMS users, they can be downloaded onto a web server for free. You don't have to purchase a license for the use of Open-Source systems, although you will have to pay for web hosting so a space is made for you on the internet. They also offer a host of free themes and templates that can give your website pizazz and with user-friendly plug-ins (these are special software add-ons), they can help your site rank higher in online searches.
Where Open Source systems don't require a license, Proprietary systems do, and you'll have to pay the software owner for that license and possibly ongoing fees for updates and customer support. Microsoft SharePoint and Shopify are two examples of Proprietary systems. One downside of such systems is the fact that few web hosting companies support them.
Software as a Service (SaaS)
Most cloud-based systems fall into the SaaS CMS category, and users are required to pay a subscription for them. The beauty of such systems is that users don't have to be in their physical office or workplace building to contribute. They can work from anywhere there is an internet connection. In addition to the basic elements listed above, most SaaS CMS offer data transfer, storage and support services.
How Do Content Management Systems Work?
Content Management Systems enable businesses to streamline the creation of their content and manage their public face. A CMS also consolidates all the various pieces of content into one central location. With a good CMS, a business no longer has to store videos in one location, graphics in another, and written content somewhere else. Everything is at one's fingertips.
Additionally, with easy-to-use templates and themes, a team can create content, publish it, edit it, and publish it again. And no matter how often changes or updates are made, the CMS will format it to be both readable and aesthetically-pleasing.
Why Invest in a Content Management System?
There's simply so many advantages, your business cannot help but thank you:
- Templates - With easy-to-use templates, there's no need to reinvent the wheel for your business
- Access - With a cloud-based system, you and your team can work anywhere there is an internet connection
- Editing - A CMS makes it easy to make a quick change or update to a document with no lag time for processing
- Security Controls - CMS software allows you to assign and limit access to sensitive company information
- Multilingual Capabilities - A growing need in our global economy
- Indexing Features - Makes it easy to search for and retrieve content
- Search Engine Optimization - Good CMS platforms have built in capabilities or plug-ins that increase your SERP rankings
Now That You Know the Jargon, Here's Where We Throw in Our CTA!
Hopefully, this article was at least a little bit helpful in explaining what a Content Management System is, the various types, and how such a system can help drive your business success. That being said, selecting the right CMS can be a bit more complicated. You'll need to first determine the set of requirements you want out of a CMS, what additional options, if any, you need, and what you're willing to budget for the expense.
If you're interested in learning more about how to select the right CMS for your business and how our firm can work with both you and your CMS to effectively market your business, simply book a free 30-minute consultation with our virtual concierge. We look forward to helping you grow in this ever-increasing digital world.
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