What is a CMS?
A content management system (CMS) is software that makes it easy for non-techies to organize and manage web content.
That’s big, because it makes maintaining and updating a website simple and affordable.
Once upon a time updating a website meant passing off your polished and perfected writing to a programmer who would convert it into a mishmash of computer lingo, often unintentionally skewering some of the finer points of style and layout (”You wanted a new paragraph where?”). The process was slow and painful for everyone involved, not to mention expensive.
Nowadays, thanks to the advent of WYSIWYG editors (”What You See Is What You Get,” like the Bold and Italic functions in Microsoft Word) and content management systems, you don’t need a degree in computer science to update a website. If you can successfully send an e-mail, you can update a web page. Of course CMS’s can range from free, open source software to enormously expensive custom-designed solutions. Of course we recommend using WordPress, which is technically a blog system but can easily be used as a CMS to run websites.
A CMS is an enormous boost to the small business or organization that doesn’t have a massive tech budget.
It simplifies the process and puts the website back into the hands of content creators, allowing you to spend more time on what really matters—your content.
SEO Friendly CMS
In addition to generating search engine-friendly status URLs, other site-wide SEO considerations in selecting and configuring a CMS include:
- Managing dynamic URLs
- Site map
- Text navigation
- Flat navigation
- Managing broken links
- Meaningful Title Tags
- Effective Meta Tags and Descriptors
- Alt Attributes
- Clean Code
- Spell Check
All content management systems aren’t created equal, particularly when it comes to search engine optimization. Some of the costliest commercial CMS packages are all but useless when it comes to SEO, whereas some of the search-friendliest CMSs are absolutely free blog platforms.
WordPress is an open source blog software package that works exceptionally well as a content management system. It makes it easy for anyone to set up, manage and maintain a website—without having an advanced degree in geekery.
- First off, since WordPress is open source, it’s free. That’s always a bonus.
- Since it’s open source it also has a thriving community of developers constantly improving the software and creating plugins to expand the software.
- WordPress lets you create pages (stand alone content) and posts (time-driven content) to build out the content of your site.
- You can also easily manage your site’s look and feel with themes. These are custom designs for your site that control how everything is laid out and organized.
- The software is highly customizable, so you can use it for just about anything.
Learn more about how to get started building a WordPress-powered content management system.
How WordPress Works
WordPress is a dynamic website – it creates web pages on the fly – it provides some useful interactive features. For example, when visitors arrive at a WordPress blog, they can browse through the content in different ways – looking for posts from a certain month, or by a certain topic, or tagged with certain keywords. Although this sounds simple enough, it requires a live program that runs on a web server and assembles the relevant content. Most impressively, WordPress lets visitors write comments and leave other types of feedback, all of which become part of the site’s ongoing conversation.
In a very real sense, WordPress is the brain of the website. When someone visits a WordPress site, the web server fires up the WordPress software and tells it to get busy. A blink of an eye later, a new web page is delivered to your visitor.
Two crucial ingredients allow WordPress to work the way it does:
A Database – This is an industrial-strength storage system that sits on a web server; think of it as a giant, electronic filing cabinet where you can search and retrieve any piece of content in an instant. In a WordPress website, the database stores all the content for its pages, the category and tag labels for those pages, and all the comments that people have added. WordPress uses the MySQL database engine, because it’s a high-quality, free, open source product, much like WordPress is.
Programming code – When someone requests a web page on a WordPress site, the web server loads up a template and runs some code. It’s the code that does all the real work – fetching information from different parts of the database, creating the page, and so on.
Latest WordPress News
- WordPress 4.7.2 is now available. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately. WordPress versions 4.7.1 and earlier are affected by three security issues: The user interface for assigning taxonomy terms in Press This is shown to users who do not have permissions to use it. […]
- WordPress 4.7 has been downloaded over 10 million times since its release on December 6, 2016 and we are pleased to announce the immediate availability of WordPress 4.7.1. This is a security release for all previous versions and we strongly encourage you to update your sites immediately. WordPress versions 4.7 and earlier are affected by eight security issues: […]
- Version 4.7 of WordPress, named “Vaughan” in honor of legendary jazz vocalist Sarah "Sassy" Vaughan, is available for download or update in your WordPress dashboard. New features in 4.7 help you get your site set up the way you want it.
- The release candidate for WordPress 4.7 is now available. RC means we think we’re done, but with millions of users and thousands of plugins and themes, it’s possible we’ve missed something. We hope to ship WordPress 4.7 on Tuesday, December 6, but we need your help to get there. If you haven’t tested 4.7 yet, […]
- WordPress 4.7 Beta 4 is now available! This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site just to play with the new version. To test WordPress 4.7, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can […]
- The title says it all. We had some great applications for cities to host WordCamp US after we finish up in Philadelphia this year, and the city chosen for 2017-2018 is Nashville, Tennessee. Based on the other great applications we got I’m also excited about the pipeline of communities that could host it in future […]
- WordPress 4.7 Beta 3 is now available! This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site just to play with the new version. To test WordPress 4.7, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can […]
- WordPress 4.7 Beta 2 is now available! This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site just to play with the new version. To test WordPress 4.7, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can […]
- WordPress 4.7 Beta 1 is now available! This software is still in development, so we don’t recommend you run it on a production site. Consider setting up a test site just to play with the new version. To test WordPress 4.7, try the WordPress Beta Tester plugin (you’ll want “bleeding edge nightlies”). Or you can […]
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