What Is a Content Management System


 12/30/2014 12:00 AM

A content management system (CMS) is a type of software that can create, publish, manage, store, and display content. While a wide range of industries use CMSs for a variety of purposes, their most popular use today is for building and managing websites and their content. In most cases, this is done through a simple graphical interface that allows users to build custom and up-to-date websites without having to know complicated programming languages and procedures.

Information overload: a need for content management

As computers and the internet gradually became larger parts of everyday business and personal life in the late 1990s, information itself became a commodity. For the first time in human history, people from across the globe were now able to create, store, and share valuable – or, in some cases, not-so-valuable – information through a common medium. Through this came the advent of web content, whose creation, publishing, and management became an entirely separate industry.

With such a large amount of information to deal with, people needed ways to manage it all. Through this necessity, the first content management systems were created to conveniently store and index a wide array of business information. As the internet continued to grow, CMSs gradually became an integral part of the web.

Content management systems today

Today, there are a number of different types of content management systems, each of which serves a slightly different purpose. However, it's important to keep in mind that all CMSs essentially provide the same basic functions: creating, publishing, managing, storing, and displaying content. It's how the system applies these functions, however, that makes them different. Below are a few of the most popular types of CMSs used today:

Information management CMS: Business enterprises both large and small have a lot of content to deal with. As a result, they rely on CMSs to manage, store, and search for information when they need to. While this may sound like a very basic function, it meets a very important need. If today's largest companies didn't use a CMS it would likely take an army's worth of people (and filing cabinets) just to keep track of all their information!

E-commerce CMS: The ability to create, manage, and display information on the web has made CMSs especially useful for e-commerce applications. In the past, long distance ordering often took the form of looking through a catalog and sending item numbers to a business through phone or mail. CMS systems completely automated this function by simply storing product information in a database that could be displayed through an online storefront. Today, e-commerce is a thriving industry that has provided major competition for physical storefronts and catalogs.

Website building CMS: In their most basic form, websites are a visual display of information and content. The coding languages used to make a website, however, can be complicated and inconvenient to learn for a vast majority of people. To help make website building easier than ever, companies such as SITE123 have utilized CMSs to help users build modern and code-compliant websites through simple and easy-to-use interfaces. Today, website building CMSs account for over 100 million of the internet's websites!

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