​Back to basics – what is a CMS?

27th January 2014

I was talking to a client last week and mentioned that we use MODX for our website builds. He looked fleetingly blank as I talked and I soon realised that, not only did he not know what MODX was, he didn’t fully understand what a CMS was. This is nothing to feel coy about – earlier he’d been talking to me about his holiday in the Faroe Islands and I had no idea where they were. No-one knows everything about everything and you can leave the geeky stuff to us while you enjoy your website.

But for those of you who want to know, a CMS provides the engine room of your website. It enables the creation, management, distribution, publishing, storage and search of your company’s information. It helps you to create the structure and layout of your website, the appearance of your pages and the navigation through your site which determines what sort of browsing experience your users have.

A CMS helps you to update your website efficiently by streamlining the process using intuitive templates without the need for coding knowledge. You can control where the pages go, how they link to other pages, who can add content, make edits and who can approve the final page for publishing. This allows the website to be managed by a number of administrators or content owners because it’s clear to see the protocols and format to follow. This is particularly helpful as your website develops over time and new pages or tabs are added by different contributors who bring their own expertise or specialised knowledge. All of this reinforces your brand identity by maintaining consistency and ease of use because the CMS controls the appearance, layout and structure of your website. A good CMS helps with important considerations such as security and reduced maintenance costs too.

Once you’ve created your content you save your page where it is filed in a logical order and tagged. By reading and following these tags, the CMS builds your navigation and helps to make your site dynamic and interactive. It also allows you to produce other formats of information such as print format documents or content for mobile and tablets.

There are countless types of CMS so you will need to choose what suits your website need most. If you work with an experienced designer like Studio Republic, we can help you cut through the mass of information and make an appropriate decision for you.

In our view, MODX, our CMS of choice, helps to create awesome websites because it’s both simple and complex. It provides an intuitive and simple way for authors and site administrators to maintain the website, but at the same time allows great scope to build very complex and sophisticated sites relatively quickly. There is a lot to know about MODX so if you have any questions just ask us. On the other hand, we’re here to save you from all that detail so you can just enjoy the beauty and function of your website.