A content management system (CMS) is a software program that allows publishing and formatting of digital content in a consistent and structured manner. It supports collaborative publishing, allowing varying levels of access to different content managers. It also ensures content is structured consistently, which is critical to improving how government exposes and shares information and data. A CMS makes it easier to deliver digital information anytime, anywhere, on any device.
Why should I use a CMS
There are several possible reasons for using a Content Management System, but the main reason for using a CMS is to make creating and editing of content simple and easy. Often developers forget that this is the main purpose of a CMS and in search of more and more functionality, they cripple themselves (or their customers).
Content doesn’t just include text however. Sometimes the content you need on a site is a contact form or user authentication system. The trick is to find the CMS that provides the functionality without sacrificing ease of use for yourself or, depending on the situation, your customer. A good CMS will allow you to spend more time focused on the design of the frontend then on implementing extensions or functionality.
Finding the Perfect CMS
If you're looking for a CMS for your business or personal Web site, I recommend the following three steps to make sure you find what you want:
Determine your requirements for the CMS. Be as inclusive as you can, and be sure to rank the priorities. I actually ranked them in two ways: first the priority and second the urgency. That way if I couldn't find a CMS that fit all of them I would be able to determine the priorities.
Find as many CMS tools as you can to evaluate. Do your best to evaluate them. I used the Web sites, documentation about the tools, forums and support boards, and Google searches to do my research.
Narrow it down to a small number that you can afford to evaluate on your own system. If you've included commercial tools, then talk to their sales team about getting an evaluation copy. If you've included GPL or other freeware and downloadable versions, then install them on some location on your server so that you can test them in your home environment.