What is a Content Management System? 5 CMS Selection Tips

So, you’re ready to publish content? That’s the first step toward bringing your content marketing strategy to life. Now, you need to find a content management system (CMS) that will help you take your content ideas from start to finish.

What is a Content Management System?

What is a Content Management System?

As its name suggests, a content management system is a software that helps you manage content. But what does that mean, exactly? Basically, your CMS will let you write digital content without needing to worry about the underlying code. The CMS takes care of formatting, linking, publishing, and editing pages, blog posts, and other forms of content on your website. Blogging platforms are a type of CMS, for instance.

The result is the seamless addition of content to your site. Your content’s style blends in with the rest of your website to cater to your audience’s user experience while making the process of publishing content straightforward.

One of the most popular examples of a CMS is WordPress. The free, open-source software has all the tools you need to power your website’s content and your website itself. You can create pages, categories, blog posts, and even mobile apps with the powerful CMS, which is known for its ease of use for people with any degree of website-building knowledge.

A few other examples of content management systems include:

CMS Selection Tips to Find the Right CMS for You

While many content management systems offer similar features, each one stands out a bit in its own way. Here are a few tips for finding the best CMS for you, your website, and your business:

1. Look for a user-friendly interface.

Your CMS should be user-friendly enough that anyone on your team can hop in and find their way around easily. Fortunately, many of today’s options are incredibly user-friendly, but some are more so than others.

From publishing new pages to managing categories and photos on your site, a CMS should allow you to do it all without guessing where to find settings. It’s a good idea to utilize a free demo of a CMS before deciding to use it for your website, just to make sure it’ll work for your needs.

2. Choose a CMS that will grow with you.

CMS Selection Tips to Find the Right CMS for You

Screenshot via WordPress.org

What looks great in a CMS now may not be all you need later on. A CMS should grow with your business and your content management needs. A CMS that allows customization with add-ons, plugins, and integrations ensures that it is scalable and flexible.

A CMS that adds theme and website design functionality also screams convenience. Yes, the primary job of a CMS is to help you manage content. But if you can also manage your website design through your CMS, its versatility score spikes. For instance, WordPress offers an extensive collection of plugins, themes, and integrations to create a fully customized website that can function as an eCommerce store, digital magazine, or even a website for delivering online courses – and much more.

3. Avoid the need to code.

If you have someone on your team who can write and edit code, that’s great. But you shouldn’t have to continually utilize that person to fix, add, or edit code that your CMS fails to make work properly for your site.

The point of a CMS is to manage your content in a way that code should never be front and center. Instead, it should include a way to edit code if needed to tweak your site’s style or function. But if you’re finding your team needs to code frequently just to get things to look or work as you want, your CMS is adding unnecessary work to your process.

4. Welcome the ability to integrate.

CMS Selection Tips to Find the Right CMS for You

Screenshot via Squarespace.com

The best content management systems can integrate with other tools, like those for SEO analytics, social media marketing, email marketing, and eCommerce. This capability expands your CMS into a well-rounded tool that can help you get more tasks done in one place.

For instance, Squarespace allows integrations with Apple News, Flickr, and ChowNow, and Wix works with Hotjar, Privy, and Crazyegg. Read our full comparison of the two leading CMS options here.

5. Prioritize security.

You need to have appropriate security measures in place to protect your content and information from getting changed, deleted, or falling into the wrong hands. Protections should also be in place to keep your customers’ information secure.

Look for a CMS with built-in security features, like strict requirements for passwords, two-step authentication, and security updates for all users. You’ll also need to remember to check your plugins and add-ons periodically to make sure you have the latest versions installed.

When you do choose a CMS, don’t forget to make your content shareable. ShareThis has share button plugins for WordPress and Shopify, but you can also copy and paste a code to use with another CMS. Our social media share buttons are customizable to get the exact look you want, and they’re simple to install in any CMS. Plus, they’re totally free to use!