What is a Web CMS?

Imagine that you it took you four hours to read and compose a review for you African Short Stories Book-Store website. You then had to HTML format your pages, then you had to insert your logos, pictures and adverts. Then you had to check your links in your HTML editor, and then you had to FTP upload your page. Then you would go on to review your second book. Now imagine you had 100, 200 or even 500 books to review? Obviously as an online bookstore you would prefer to concentrate on writing your book reviews rather than tinkering with web publishing technology that in itself has not only a learning curve but costs you time.

Content Management Systems, CMS in short, are designed to make a breeze of this kind of tedious and repetitive work. A web CMS is a server-side software used to manage, control and effectively develop your website. Of the three main functions of an internet business i.e. research, development and maintenance, research is the most profitable. Consequently to grow your business you need to spend the least time in both development and maintenance. CMS makes this a reality.

CMSs were first developed internally for organizations doing a lot of web publishing like online magazines, newspapers and corporate news-letters. In 1995 CNET commercialized their in-house CMS through a company called Vignette. This sparked a market for commercial CMSs. Today you are spoilt for choice. Infact some web hosting services offer internet business optimized CMSs with their hosting services at a premium price. Starting an internet business without one can quickly put you in a disadvantage.

Basically a CMS frees up your time by automating repetitive functions on your website. For example, instead of formatting your content using HTML the CMS automatically formats it and follows your default settings. For instance all headlines are bolded in larger fonts and coloured red; text is naturally wrapped around your images and logos and navigation links automatically inserted. Just a few clicks and your page is live on the web.

But probably one of the best capabilities is the easy editing availed by CMSs. Since small errors like typos as well as changes in facts are inevitable; correcting and updating of a website can be a full time job without a CMS.

You will find an array of vendors with different kinds of Content Management Systems online. You have a choice of a packaged system or a customised one for significantly higher cost. An example of powerful internet business optimized CMS is the free Word Press used to publish blogs on the fly. You do not even need to know what HTML or FTP stands for.