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Content Management Systems

A content management system is a website application used to create, edit, manage, and publish your website content in a consistently organized fashion.

A very basic CMS will allow approved staff members to easily change text on your website as needed—without them knowing any programming or needing any specialized software on their computer.

More complex CMS applications will allow you to create, store and update content, have multiple authors, editors and publishers and an approval process, and allow you to easily organize website information such as news articles, operators’ manuals, technical manuals, sales guides, and marketing brochures.

How does a Content Management System Work?

Content management systems have a “front end” or what the visitor sees. Typically there will be an overall page design or “template” into which page content flows from a database, creating website pages dynamically.

Instead of having dozens or hundreds of individual website pages, each with HTML code, a CMS keeps the page design and the actual content separate. Pages are created as they are requested. This approach makes it easy to change the look and feel of the website periodically without having to recode every single page of your website.

How do you make changes to the website with a CMS?

A CMS will have a “back end” or administration area which is password protected, where administrators can add pages, update text, manage metatags and more.

For website page updating, the administration page will have a page editor which allows the user to style the page text, add links and to upload photographs to pages.

Because the CMS is a web-based application, administrators can do their editing and updating from any location through a password-protected login page. Updating of the website can be done from home or from a remote location.

Website Searching Made Easy

Because a CMS utilizes a database to manage and store all of the website content, adding a simple or advanced “search” box to all you website pages is very easy to do and extremely useful for your website visitors. Even if you have a great navigation menu on your website, having a search field will make most website visitors very happy, especially when they are in a hurry, and especially if you have more than twenty or thirty pages in your website.

Managing the Website Content Publishing Process

If your company has many departments with different employees responsible for documentation within the department, a CMS is a great way to manage the process of writing, editing, approving and publishing.

It’s easy to use a CMS to give some users the ability to write or add articles to the system, but then have other staff actually edit and approve the articles before they are published. By granting different website staff different levels of access, you can establish and control the process for publishing and have several people review content and have the opportunity to make changes before information is published.

Organizing Your Content

If your website offers product documentation and articles for your clients, a CMS will make managing and organizing all the information easy.

Documents can be organized into categories and subcategories, making it easy for website visitors to find specific articles and discover other website information through broad categories.

It’s easy to have one person controlling the overall structure of the website, then to allow others to focus on providing content into the areas of the website they are responsible for.

Logistics and Practical Considerations

If you are building a brand new website, the process is fairly simple. After designing the website’s navigation structure, and customizing the look and feel, and you can begin to use the CMS administration system to add new content to your website.

If you have an existing website with a lot of static website pages, the old website content will need to be “migrated” into the new system. This can relatively simple with text only pages, and a little more complicated if PDFs and photographs or illustrations are utilized. Typically there will be a lot of cutting and pasting, but the end result is well worth the effort.

Registration and Login for Customers

Content management systems such as Joomla, can offer a built-in registration system, so customers or staff can register and login to the website. A login system is very useful for providing content different content to different website users, based on their login.

For example, if you are looking to offer a customer service area and documentation that is just for existing customers, a login system that provides different navigation menus and content for customers is a great way to efficient manage who has access to different types of information on your website. The general public would never see the customer service content.

Requiring registration is also a great way to filter website visitors to separate those visitors who are really interested in certain information on the website from those who are casual visitors.

Many companies and organizations will have an employee area that requires the employee to log in in order to have access to expense report forms, employee handbooks and other employee information and documents.

Email Newsletter

Requiring registration on the website in order to access content is another way to have visitors “opt-in” to receive additional marketing messages and information through an email system. The registration process on the website will require an email address, which can later be used to send the registrants news and information.


Blogs can be a great way to “break the ice” with some prospective customers by offering them a chance to comment on articles or pose their own questions on the website. Blogs are also a great way to offer website visitors insight into your company’s products, services, and how you work with customers.


If you’re looking to get feedback from customers and website visitors without spending thousands of dollars on a formal survey, offering reader polls on a weekly or monthly basis is a great way to get feedback on your company’s products or services, or to try out ideas for new products or offerings.


Content Management Systems can incorporate frequently asked questions into a knowledgebase area, allowing you to offer customers access to information they need, 24/7. By providing your customers articles and answers to questions, you can enhance your customer service and become more valuable to your customers by offering large amounts of information through your website.


Adding a content management system to your website can be far more than simply giving you a way to make changes to website pages. From advanced searching to blogs, polls and more, a Content Management System can transform a static, informational website, into a powerful, diverse marketing tool that will make your website interactive and will keep your visitors and customers coming back again and again.

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Design-First serves Columbus, La Grange, West Point, Duluth and the Metro Atlanta, Georgia area. Phone: 678-969-0448.