Hey there, happy Friday everyone. I was going to do this post on project organization but I figured that’d be a pretty boring topic for a Friday post. So instead I’m rolling with the “Why Use A CMS” topic which is wayyyyy more exciting. *Insert eye roll*, alright I realize it’s not THAT much better a topic but I’m trying my best here. Besides, if you don’t care for the topic there’s no way you’re reading this anyway. So for those of you who made it this far, I’ll get into it.
From a developers perspective,
they help in that they usually offer vast libraries of free, easy to install code snippets. If you need a contact form, there’s a plugin for that, if you need a gallery function, there’s a plugin for that, if you need ecommerce functionality, there’s a plugin for that. Being able to tap into these libraries of code for regularly used functions saves loads of time and time is money.
As a developer, I primarily use WordPress. I love WordPress because it’s the most popular of the content management systems and 9 times out of 10 if I have to integrate something, there’s pre-built code snippets that’ll accomplish the job. For example, I recently created an ecommerce website for a clothing company I was working on. The clothing company ran through a drop shipping company called The Printful. On The Printful you upload your designs and layout how you want your merch to look, in your Printful store you’ll create multiple products and then integrate your Printful store with your ecommerce store. Well lucky for me I was using a plugin called WooCommerce which just so happens to be among the more popular ecommerce platforms and The Printful had created a plugin that automatically integrated my Printful store with my WooCommerce store on my website. So where opening a T-Shirt store used to involve, ordering product, having the equipment necessary to print T-Shirts and other apparel, coming up with designs for your apparel, having the knowledge and skills to print your apparel, having the time to market, design, print, and keep up with your online store, keeping stock in your online store, and all the other jobs that come along with owning an apparel company. Now, all I have to do is design my apparel designs, upload them to The Printful, create my ecommerce site, and integrate my Printful store with my ecommerce store and from there I’m literally just marketing my store. This is mostly thanks to the awesome drop shipping prowess of The Printful but it’s also, in part, thanks the ease of integration with my content management system.
WordPress also comes with libraries of free or paid website templates. I personally design all my own websites from scratch and then integrate them with WordPress manually but if you’re not a designer or a developer and you’re trying to get your site off the ground this could save you a lot of time.
From the perspective of a small business owner,
content management systems are a big help too. Where small business owners previously had to contact a web developer for just about every update they needed on their website, now, with a content management system, they can either make the changes themselves, or task one of their managers or employees with this job. A content management system makes it incredibly easy to update your website and keep up with how your website is performing.
You’ll notice I talk exclusively about WordPress and that’s because that’s the only content management system I use. I think it’s powerful enough to get just about any job done, and it’s also super easy to use. I also dabble in Shopify for more ecommerce intensive sites. But in a WordPress installation, to edit a page on your website you’ll simply login to the dashboard, go to your pages, click the desired page, and edit the content much like you would in any text editor. This makes it easy to delegate website updates to just about anybody who knows how to use a computer.
Also, if you so desire, you can integrate Google Analytics with your wordpress site. Google Analytics will show you how many people are arriving on your website each day. In all my WordPress sites I install the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP plugin. This plugin displays my Google Analytics performance on my WordPress dashboard.
Small businesses are always in competition with other local businesses to be the best in their region. SEO is one of those battlegrounds where being the top dog means more business and more dollars coming through the door. Using a content management system can greatly help your SEO efforts. There are several plugins that will analyze your website and tell you where you can improve site content or structure to boost your SEO.
If you don’t plan on updating your website yourself with any kind of regularity, then maybe a content management system isn’t for you. But if you’re a small business owner who wants to be hands on with their company website, then a content management system could be a very helpful tool in that. Even as a designer/developer I enjoy using content management systems because it speeds up the time it takes me to complete a website.