iNoobs: What is a CMS (Content Management System)?

Categories Articles, Drupal, How To, iNoobs, Web Design, Wordpress

If you are thinking about becoming a web developer, or have been shopping around for one, lately you have no doubt come across the term CMS again and again. As a dev companies will try to get in front of you with the latest and greatest CMS. And as an eventual marketer of your own business/service you’ll eventually be advertising to your client that your site(s) include or don’t include a CMS.

[infobox margin_bottom=”0″ margin_top=”0″ border_radius=”all” color=”white” title=””] iNoobs is a series of articles for those new to web design and web development, created by Zach Katkin, founder of, a brilliant resource for small business software news. [/infobox]

So What is a CMS?

CMS stands for Content Management System. It’s a piece of software that allows you and your team members will be able to edit, add to and manage your own content on a site. Additionally, in the future you can assign roles to people at other companies allowing them quick access to do the same. This can include web page text, images, blog posts, videos, podcasts, blog comments and more.

3 of the top Content Management Systems you will come across are:

  1. WordPress
  2. Joomla
  3. Drupal
But there are literally thousands out there, all on different platforms, operating systems, etc. 

Why is a content management system important and why do you want one?

Personally, after learning html and CMS the next step I wish I would have learned was how to not only get my sites into a CMS, but also how to maximize it’s use (to save me time, and to increase my ability to market myself and my company). How’s that you say? Well…

Opening an FTP program, editing HTML, making sure things are formatted, and then uploading the changes takes a LOT of time. Even for those of us that are technically savvy will save countless hours over the long haul by putting our sites into a CMS (and if you’re working with clients, you’ll save even more).

Even if your content is perfect at the launch of your web presence you will no doubt want to make changes as you go. You may change the terms of your offerings, add or eliminate products or services, switch keywords, change the target market you are focusing on and more. Plus if you have done any research into website design, SEO and Internet marketing you already know that regular, fresh new content is what the search engines thrive off of and can play a big role in where you show up in search results.

Content Management Systems Technical

There are a few things you should know about the technical details of each content management system you work on or implement. Personally, for general web publishing (you have pages, and a blog) WordPress is my defacto CMS. It’s simple, extremely search engine friendly, and has a ton of extensions/plugins that you can add to increase the functionality of your site instantly. However, even wordpress has it’s quirks, and once you select a program like WordPress it’s time to learn all about it.

How do you create/manipulate templates, how do you manipulate data, how is the database structured, etc? All questions you should look into when exploring a CMS, all factors that should be weighed when making a decision, and things that will ultimately help you become the best web developer you can be. However, this is starting to encroach on some programming and database design territory so this is where I will end the introduction to content management systems.

Zach Katkin - Entrepreneur, Web Developer, Designer and Writer - is the co-founder of Florida Web Design Company Atilus. In business for nearly a decade, Atilus has more than 600 clients worldwide.