What’s a CMS and why do you need one?

by Mark | Posted under: TIps and Advice

What’s a CMS and why do you need one?

When considering a website for your business you may have heard the acronym CMS bandied around, but what does this mean, you may know it stands for content management system, but are you still any the wiser? Well to put it in a nutshell a CMS means that the content of your website (ie all the text and pictures and videos etc) are stored on a database separately from all the template files that are responsible for the design and layout of the site. So why do this? Essentially it comes down to flexibility, by storing the content separately it becomes easy to update and add to or indeed remove, you can completely redesign the look of your site and the content will just flow into the new design (OK it’s not quite that simple but it’s basically true).

There’s nothing particularly difficult about having a content managed website and we would recommend that unless you have the most basic of sites that you almost never intend to update than you should have a CMS. There are countless packages out there, ranging from simple online services that allow you to update your text, through to completely custom built solutions for individual needs and there are a number of factors to take into consideration when choosing one. For the majority of clients at talking design we use a CMS called wordpress, originally developed as a blogging platform it has developed into the most widely used CMS on the web powering some 22% of all new websites.

Why wordpress, well that many people can’t be wrong, can they? But seriously because wordpress is so popular it has a seemingly infinite number of add ons and customisations that can cater for almost any requirements, certainly it’s not the only choice there are other big players out there but I would not recommend going with a custom build solution from either a company or an individual for one simple reason what happens if one day that company or individual is no longer there, who going to fix you site then? It’s a bit like buying a sport scar from japan and trying a find a garage in Worthing to fix the fuel injection system. If you use one of the popular systems you will always be able to find suppliers familiar with the system to help. I hope that makes CMSs a bit clearer, and of course it goes without saying that of you are considering a CMS talking design would be more than happy to discuss your project with you.