Have you ever heard this term ‘Content Management System’ and scratched your head, asking yourself: “What is a Content Management System?”
If you’ve considered building a website, or have already built one (or hired someone to build it), then you may have come across the term ‘Content Management System’ (CMS for short).

Here is the Wikipedia definition:

“A content management system (CMS) is a computer application that supports the creation and modification of digital content. It typically supports multiple users in a collaborative environment.” – Wikipedia

If the above definition doesn’t give you a clue to what it actually means, you are not alone. It sounds very ambiguous, while it actually is a very simple and great concept in the website world. Just read on to learn what a Content Management System is.

What a CMS is NOT

In the website land, there are two major categories of creating a website: using a CMS and not using a CMS. And it would probably help if you understand what is ‘not’ CMS first.

In the early days of website building, a website needed to be first created locally on a computer. You had to use software installed locally on your computer. Dreamweaver was a popular software folks used, and some people even used a simple text editor, writing code, line by line! Yuck! If you been around a while, you may remember other software similar to Dreamweaver, like FrontPage, Expression Web, among many others. Once a web page was built, you uploaded it to your website hosting company’s server by using ‘FTP’ (a fancy way of saying, uploading web page files from your local computer to a website server). This way of building a website is ‘not’ CMS. It’s cumbersome, the pages are static and cannot be updated easily/quickly, and in general, you needed to have some coding knowledge.

Then What is a CMS?

Glad you asked! Website building has evolved in all areas during the recent years. And the move from non-CMS to CMS played a big part of that.

I’m not going to go into the technical details of what a content management system is here, but simply put, a CMS is a system that pulls data and content to create a web page to be displayed to website visitors. A CMS also lets the website owner easily update the data for the site by using online software. A great example of a CMS website is a WordPress website or blog, like this one you are reading. (But even websites without a blog these days are mostly using a CMS.)

Video on “What is a Content Management System?”

Here is a simple easy to understand video that explains what a content management system is.  And of course WordPress is the best one!


The Difference between a NON-CMS website and a CMS website

Look at this simple comparison …

A non-CMS website

  • When building a website, you need to know at least some code (HTML, PHP, etc.) and need to have a web authoring software and a way to use FTP on your computer.
  • When making a change to all web pages (like information in the footer), you have to update all pages one by one. (ie. all web pages are ‘static,’ and cannot be changed dynamically.)
  • In general, it’s hard to keep it up-to-date, and hence, website visitors often end up seeing outdated content.

A CMS website

  • Software is accessed online, and the interfaces, in general, are very user-friendly. In most cases, you don’t need to know any geeky codes to use these interfaces to build a website.
  • Easy and quick to update/edit/add web pages, making it possible to keep the content current.
  • Web pages are ‘dynamic,’ pulling in data from the database and files connected to the website.
  • As it’s so much easier to develop a CMS website than a non-CMS website, it takes much less time to build it, saving both time and money.

WordPress is the Most Popular Content Management System!

There, of course, are many CMS options out there to choose from when building a website. In my opinion, the best option is very clear: WordPress! It’s been the most popular CMS for years. At the time of writing, WordPress powers about 51% of all CMS websites worldwide.

I, myself, fell in love with WordPress years ago. And have seen its popularity soar without any sign of slowing down. It’s easy to use (you don’t need to be a techie to build a website by yourself), grows with your business, and is oh so much fun!

Here are a couple of related posts that explain why WordPress is a perfect choice for non-techie business owners:
Answers to the Top 53 Questions on WordPress
WordPress vs. Squarespace – Wix – Weebly

I hope you now understand what CMS means and how it can make it easy for you to create your own website. If you have any questions, just post below!


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