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Everyone’s talking WordPress and Joomla, HTML and Analytics, but what does it mean and how can it affect your site? Find out how content management systems have changed the web and what to look out for when choosing the right CMS for your needs.

What is a CMS (Content management system)?

Technically, a CMS can be defined as “…a set of web-based programs that are used to create and manage digital content.” In short, this means that you can update and edit the content on your website without the use of code, coders or code editors.

Usually, this involves:

– logging into a backend online,
– making a change,
– updating or saving the change and
– viewing the reflected edits on your live webpage.

Using a content management system is not a new concept, but before free and open source systems such as WordPress came along, using a CMS would have cost hundreds of thousands of rands.

Traditionally, web-based CMS was used for blogging purposes, thereby giving the laymen the power of publishing content on the web. In recent years, the increasing need for extended functionality and customized design control has lead to a vast set of related plugins or themes to build your site with.

So what about WordPress?

There are numerous CMS systems available, including Joomla, Drupal, and Magento. Each CMS has it’s own pro’s, cons and speciality features. Among these, WordPress remains the most widely used system and the only one in which we at Catchatiger Design develop in. Because of WordPress’s ‘jack-of-all-trades’ approach, it’s currently powering up to 25% of all sites across the web with improved development, functionality and security features continuing daily.

What to look for in a Content Management System

Below are a few features to look out for when choosing a CMS:

  1. Easy administration: The admin dashboard is a huge part of a CMS and it should make it easy to manage all tasks and content on the website. Be realistic about how often you need to update your site and make sure that you can easily achieve the required result in your CMS of choice.
  2. Social Media Integration: Attracting followers and boosting web traffic is the cornerstone of any good marketing plan and often takes place on social media networks. It’s important that your site is able to integrate with platforms like Facebook and Instagram to maximise income-generating potential.
  3. Built-in SEO tools: A great CMS will have built-in SEO tools to help you automatically set up a site that is easy for search engines to find and read. Automatic SEO includes:
    – creating sensible URLs that work for both readers and search engines
    – using categories and tags to group related content together and,
    – submitting a sitemap of your website’s page structure to Google.
  4. Diverse Publishing tools: A publishing tool is the core of any CMS. A good CMS should be able to adapt to the different types of content, you may want to publish.
  5. Flexible Functionality: Content management systems have become quite advanced in recent years and there are numerous plugins available to add functionality to your site. Websites can now perform lots of tasks like sell products, take bookings and send emails, to name a few. Service providers like courier companies or payment gateways often develop plugins that can link client websites directly to their database. WordPress is usually the first content management system that has plugins released and tested for compatibility.
  6. Tracking and Analytics: Tracking how users interact with your website is uber important for companies of all size. Numerous studies have highlighted the benefit of making informed choices when targeting audiences via marketing tools. Analytics can not only guide you in detecting user experience problems early on but it can be advantageous in defining the usage patterns of your clientele. Because of this, it’s imperative to choose a CMS that lets you integrate Google- or other analytics scripts into your header easy and efficiently.