Content management systems (CMS) provide the tools for creating and publishing custom content on websites. Specifically, CMS allows for the creation of digital content without the need for custom coding with HTML files. In fact, a CMS is necessary to do anything from starting a personal blog to running an eCommerce store. Some of the main tools offered by content management software include search engine optimization, digital asset management, digital archiving, and custom templates.
These platforms often blend two types of content:
The first focuses on internal documentation or traditional media while the latter deals with any content intended for online publication. A CMS has both ECM and WCM functionality, though some products are aimed more at one than the other. CMS platforms are primarily used by digital marketing professionals, business owners, and eCommerce stores in need of digital copy.
The main WCM features include:
ECM-based software features cover:
A content management system can provide many benefits to your workplace, such as:
Digitizing your existing business materials can lead to added security and cost savings. Instead of storing physical copies of documents and media files, content management software preserves the high-quality, digital versions in a shared database. In the event of a disaster, such as fire or flood, your materials will still be protected.
Among many other uses, document management tools let organizations put metatags on documents for easy indexing, search and retrieval. If you need to recover a document from years ago, you can search by date. Or if you know specific keywords, such as a client name, you can search based on those terms instead.
CMS with collaboration tools allow multiple team members to share their work with others before anything gets published on the site or stored in an archive. Anyone can make edits to the site, such as updating product pricing or swapping out outdated images. These tools facilitate file sharing, so everyone can see what changes are about to be made and provide input. And no one needs to know code!
If you need social media marketing, your team can coordinate between the site’s content and what gets posted on other channels. The more channels you use, the more important it is that every detail about an ad campaign is consistent. Otherwise, you could have costly problems from marketing miscommunication. A collaborative CMS platform keeps your company’s language clear, no matter who is authoring the material.
Coding isn’t for everyone. HTML, CSS, Java; there are plenty of coding languages out there and each has its own uses and drawbacks. Rather than learn multiple languages, a content management system allows you to modify website content without diving into the code yourself. CMS makes it significantly faster to post new content without errors.
Text editors allow you to:
Additionally, CMS is an invaluable tool for marketers who want to create shareable content without having to learn any coding language, even basic HTML. For example, DAM tools allow you to seamlessly post content on your site to other social media channels, such as product demonstration videos on YouTube or advertising campaigns on Twitter. Custom content publishing, blogging, and coordinated social media marketing is all easier through user-friendly, no-code CMS platforms.
Modifying the cosmetic appearance of your website can be tricky. Without a CMS platform, you’ll have to use coding languages just to swap out images on the page without shifting the text. Instead, content management software uses drag-and-drop features to move digital assets exactly where you want them. No more layout errors, no coding required!
Paired with automated SEO tools, your improved site content can bring in more potential customers to landing pages and increase user engagement once there. You can add interactive electronic forms with a CMS, directly allowing site visitors to contact your company from carefully placed call-to-actions (CTAs). For example, your site’s landing pages may contain “Contact” buttons which automatically send alert emails to your sales team when used. With a CMS, you can relocate the button via drag-and-drop, change the text font, or use a brighter color to be more visible on the page. SEO tools may automatically suggest text changes to your existing content to better fulfill search engine queries, further increasing the performance of your landing pages.
If your business wants to sell products or services online, a CMS can get you started. Similar to product information management (PIM) solutions, which control customer-facing content, a CMS allows you to easily modify product details ranging from pricing to technical specifications. PIM software is often used in conjunction with CMS to maximize the effectiveness of eCommerce sites.
CMS platforms are usually priced based on how much content and digital assets your site needs to manage. If you only plan to do some light blogging a few times a month, your SaaS plan may be only $4 per month up to $45 per month. However, running a full eCommerce site with multi-channel social media marketing might cost hundreds, such as $250 per month up to $299 per month. Others have flat annual costs up to $22,000 per year. A few CMS products are priced per user or per site managed.
There are free options available, particularly plugins for existing third-party hosted sites. However, additional plugins, such as new themes or multi-site management, can increase the overall costs. And as mentioned before, you may want a CMS software capable of integrating with a PIM if you run an eCommerce site. This can further drive up the price, either for incorporating a separate software or just add-ons. Fortunately, there are content management software products to fit every budget and publishing style.