Wordpress as Content Management System
Wordpress is not only for Blogging, it really is a CMS, and the diversity of functionality is impressive. You will find out what you can do with WP in addition of creating Blogs.
What is a CMS?
Wordpress is a Content Management System (CMS), but what is a CMS?
The best definition of CMS is the one from Wikipedia which is more business oriented but it is applying to any environment or purpose or level of your sites and skills:
"A content management system (CMS) is the collection of procedures used to manage work flow in a collaborative environment...
The procedures are designed to do the following:
- Allow for a large number of people to contribute to and share stored data
- Control access to data, based on user roles
- Aid in easy storage and retrieval of data
- Reduce repetitive duplicate input
- Improve the ease of report writing
- Improve communication between users
In a CMS, data can be defined as nearly anything: documents, movies, pictures, phone numbers, scientific data, and so forth. CMSes are frequently used for storing, controlling, revising, semantically enriching, and publishing documentation."
It is also a well defined Enterprise Content Management System (ECM) with main purpose being:
- to streamline access
- eliminate bottlenecks
- optimize security and
- maintain integrity
Those definitions are created on purpose to cover a big area, but I am a believer on understanding the big picture so I'll continue to elaborate on this direction.
More About CMS Platforms
So, using a more popular definition, CMS is a system used to manage the content of a Website.
Typically a CMS consists of 3 major elements:
- The Content Management Application - it is a mechanism which allows the administrator of website to manage the creation, update, delete content. The features can vary from a platform to another but in general include:
- Format Management
- Information Retrieval
- Update Control
- The Content Delivery Application - it uses and compiles information to update the Website
- Sometime provide tools for one-on-one marketing strategy - it is the ability of a Website to develop the contain and advertizing to a user's specific characteristics
Choosing the Right CMS for You
A Website Content Management System is design to run in the background of a public Site.
It allows administrators to edit content through an admin panel, and manage work flow.
In general all content in the CMS is stored in an SQL database system which allows for quick and easy access by all applications, enforce strong security, allow backups, and version control of your Website.
So to have a host with cPanel is a must.
Do you need a CMS?
There are a lot of CMS Platform to choose from, and my best advice is to do research and test to be able to choose the best platform which is good for the purpose of your Website.
This is a short list:
- Wordpress - this is the most used and my favorite, it is free to download and use, it allows you to do a large varieties of sites: Blogs, non-blog sites, eCommercial, memberships and so on
- Joomla - it is not recommended for beginners, it has a hard bumpy learning curve as it is not easy and friendly to use, but it is cover a lot of functionality
- Drupal - it is a great free platform to use. It is user friendly but to some degree harder to learn vs. Wordpress
- ExpressionEngine - it is a paid CMS, I never try this one, so I don't want to jump to any conclusion
- Mambo - It is a rich CMS which is an award winning, again I don't use it
- Ez Publish - it is a typical CMS for Enterprise CMS and is also an Open Source and Open Source Framework
- PHP Nuke - it is an CMS with typical functionality and a great portal solution
Do you need a light weight CMS alternative?
For a small business you can use:
In general they are paid, hosted or self-hosted with less functionality vs. the first list I present above
Do you need a specific eCommerce CMS?
Some people like to create their own CMS software, it is possible, but you must have great skills as a programmer, it will take a long time to develop your own CMS, and must be well maintain in time.
I prefer the solution of using an existing eCommerce CMS if you want to set up an on-line stores.
You don't need to upload a plug-in, the needed functionality is embedded in the software.
You can use Wordpress for eCommerce, but you need to load a specific plug-in, there are plenty of them but not all are easy to use.
The specific eCommerce Platforms that come with CMS are:
In summary: there are a lot of platforms, functionality to choose from and some search up front will pay in time for you.
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Wordpress as an CMS
Now down the earth - Yes, Wordpress is a CMS, a central repository we are using to organize, optimize and even monetize our sites.
Reading the about considerations about CMS, I hope it is clear why Wordpress is a Content Management System, but it is more attached to this platform.
Wordpress can offer more then the unique purpose it has been created for.
In general Wordpress was created as a Blogging platform, but being an open source ended up being a flexible platform on which we can create a large variety of sites:
- eCommerce Stores
- Membership couching Websites, or any type of membership Websites
- Local Business Directories
- Branded personal or business Websites
The main core of functionality is coming from plug-ins, we have already 2 posts about them but we are still too far away of covering the beauty and benefits of using the plug-ins:
We also can migrate a static Website to a Website on Wordpress platform, which helps you keep abreast with the new technologies, and make old sites look as the new ones.