CMS: What Is It and Do I Need It for My Website?

Modern website creation and maintenance often includes the selection of a Content Management System (CMS). But, what exactly is a CMS and what do they do?

A content management system or CMS is a program that supports the creation, management, distribution, and publishing of information on a site. A standard CMS will be able to index data, and retrieve this information as requested. CMSs provide a simple, and easy way to create and publish content on the web without the need of additional programming. They also help provide structure to the site, allow for archiving of additional pages, and provide a streamlined and often intuitive process for managing and editing content on a page. After a website is setup, updating content on a CMS can be very simple. Overall, CMSs have numerous built-in functions, including:

  • An administrative dashboard for easy access to website content
  • Unlimited depth and size of hierarchy (navigation, breadcrumbs, and links)
  • Media managers (Images, videos, documents, etc.)
  • Website settings (title name, URL naming, etc.)
  • Drag and drop content management

Should I Use a CMS?

If you desire a management system for your documents, images, web pages, and videos that allows for simplistic content additions, edits, and removals, then a CMS is probably for you. Many types of companies and businesses can benefit from a CMS. At Media Genesis, we’ve worked with many different types of content management systems for all types of clients. A few examples include:

Picking the Right CMS: It’s All About Your Website Needs

Most CMSs fall into one of two categories: closed-source and open-source platforms. Many CMSs are built on an open-source platform, which uses PHP and MySQL. The most popular CMS in 2017 is the open-source WordPress CMS. This platform was released on May 27, 2003, and originated as a blogging system, with limited functionality. Many other open-source platforms such as Drupal and Joomla have flourished with community support throughout the years.

Licensed, or closed-source CMSs, are commonly based on the ASP.NET framework. For example, Sitefinity is a licensed CMS which uses the Microsoft ASP.NET framework. These types of CMSs provide powerful inline editing. In addition, it allows the user to share assets across multiple pages and domains, while keeping everything organized. The systems have pre-built widgets for elements such as image galleries and integrated Search Engine Optimization (SEO) tools.

WordPress, the Top Dog

There is a very good chance that you’ve personally used a WordPress website without even knowing it. Businesses, large and small, often use WordPress as their go-to CMS. This is also used on well known websites, such as Best Buy, The New Yorker, Sony Music, and MTV News. WordPress is commonly preferred by businesses because of its ease of use, access levels, and plugin functionality.

WordPress is often considered the top dog in the CMS world. But, is it the best CMS for your site? WordPress is very popular because it has a massive development community behind it, it offers a wide variety of plugins for diverse functionalities, and it features a user-friendly administrative dashboard.

However, WordPress is not always the best choice. It’s usually not sustainable for very large websites, styling can be a little difficult to alter in the CMS admin dashboard, and because of its popularity it may require frequent security updates.

Worthy Opponents

Joomla and Drupal also provide large communities with a wide variety of modules and extensions. These platforms often require less updates because of a decrease in security vulnerabilities, they allow for larger more scalable websites, and they have an extended ability to alter styling and templates through the CMS dashboard.

Drawbacks to Joomla and Drupal? Their administrative dashboards can be less user-friendly than other CMSs, they could have more custom code and/or more complex CMS structures, and they often are too complicated for very small websites.

So what about licensed CMSs like Sitefinity? Licensed CMSs include more in-depth inline editing capabilities, the ability to structure and organize many pages and domains within one single CMS platform, and the use of pre-built widgets and SEO tools that come standard on licensed CMSs.

Do you need assistance developing, designing, or implementing a CMS for your new website? We can help you choose the right one! Give us a call at 248.687.7888 or email us at to learn how we can help you create a website you’ll love for years to come.