A CMS is nothing more than a software solution that allows you to manage your website’s content (content management system). If you’ve ever used a WordPress or Blogger blog, then you’re familiar with how a basic CMS works. Whether you’re running a basic business site or large ecommerce site, you’ll need a good content management system to make the creation and management of web content easier. There are many different options out there, and they all have different bells and whistles. Making the right choice is important.

Open Source or Branded?

There are two types of CMS out there – open source (low-cost or free) and branded (more expensive). Open source software can be tweaked to fit your needs by manipulating the code “under the hood”, but chances are good that you’re not going to need any of that. Most small business owners aren’t coders by nature. A branded CMS comes with its own benefits, including help from the brand owner in question and greater stability.

Functionality

Never assume that all CMS options out there offer basically the same core functionality. It’s not true. Some offer intuitive, easy ways to create, edit, organize and delete pages, while others make organization a nightmare because they offer very limited organizational abilities. The key thing to remember here is this – Know Your Needs. Know what you want in terms of functionality, and look for a CMS that fits those needs.

Perhaps the best example of a CMS that offers good functionality and decent organizational capabilities is WordPress. It’s simple, intuitive, and you can expand your functionality based on your needs over time (scalability) through add-ons.

File Management

The CMS you choose should provide you with a simple, powerful way to manage your files. We’re not talking about pages or posts here, but about images, videos, audio files and the like. A strong CMS will give you the means to control how those files are handled, organized and attributed (descriptions, tags, keywords, etc.).

In the End

When all is said and done, your CMS should work with you, not against you. It should provide you with powerful tools and solutions that allow you to manage your website as you need. Managing, moving, deleting, organizing and modifying should be simple matters for pages, posts, files and other assets. Research your options and find a CMS that fits your needs. Dig into each potential option and find out if there’s a strong support community available to you.