A content management system or CMS is a software that is used to build websites and create content to be published on the internet. Typically CMS allows you to create a website without writing any code.
In the early days of the web, you needed to know HTML to be able to code a website and publish your content online. That used to be hard, but CMS has made it much easier. Instead of writing your website code from scratch, the CMS software does it for you.
Think of it like driving a car. You don’t need to understand the mechanics behind how it all works. Instead, you use a simplified dashboard and pedals to tell the car what to do.
With a powerful CMS platform like WordPress, you can log in to your website dashboard and use a simplified interface to create your web pages, add content, and customize the design. Then the CMS does the hard work of creating the code for you.
With the right CMS, you can start a blog, open an eCommerce store, build a tutorial website, create portfolios, and more.
For example, here are 19 types of websites you can build with WordPress (without any code).
Content Management System Features
Like any kind of software, there are a lot of different options out there when it comes to CMS platforms. We have compared all the best CMS platforms in the market.
While there’s a big variety of CMS software out there, they all share certain features. Here are a few of the most common ones.
A good content management system allows you to use a simple user interface to create websites.
As the website owner, you can log in to the website dashboard to customize your website. The dashboard can also be called the backend or admin area of a website.
Themes to Customize the Design
CMS platforms usually let you change the look of your website by selecting a template or theme.
Themes are pre-designed templates that let you change the layout, colors, fonts, and other design aspects of a website.
WordPress has thousands of free and premium themes available. We have created our expert pick of the best WordPress themes.
CMS platforms include a content editor that you can use to create and publish your web pages.
Text editors are sometimes called WYSIWYG editors, which stands for What You See Is What You Get. As you edit the text, you can see exactly what it will look like on your website, instead of looking at code. Think of it like using an editor like Microsoft Word.
CMSes also allow you to upload images and other media files to your website.
Plugins and Extensions
Many CMS platforms let you add new features and modify your site in other ways by adding plugins.
Plugins on a website are like apps on a smartphone. You can easily install them to add new features and functions to your website. You can use them to add new features like a contact form or social media integration.
WordPress comes with over 57,000 free plugins. We have created a list of the must have WordPress plugins.
With a good CMS, you can easily give other people access to publish content on your website.
You can even assign them different user roles to control what they have access to.
Benefits of Using a CMS
CMS software make it easier for beginners to create websites. They open up the internet for non-techy users by allowing them to design their own websites, publish content on the internet, and build online businesses without hiring developers.
Here are just some of the benefits of using a CMS software to build your website.
No hassle publishing: A CMS allows even those without technical skills to publish content, make websites, and edit content using a simple dashboard.
Convenient content scheduling: Content management systems allow site administrators to publish content with a click of a button. You can schedule posts to be published to meet calendar deadlines, business events, or product launches.
Works with any size business: Whether you’re making a website for a big name brand, or just starting a business, you can use a CMS. With the right CMS and web hosting package, you can create any type or size of website.
Affordable and easy to control: A CMS allows beginners to manage sites of all sizes without relying on high-priced web developers to perform site maintenance or make routine changes. A content management system allows you to choose who has access to your site.
Ability to Customize: It’s easy to change your website design or customize it with your own logo, colors, and styles. You can also use plugins to add more features.
Which is the Best CMS platform?
If you’re considering starting a website or upgrading the one you already have, you should look at the cost, ease-of-use, flexibility, and scalability of your CMS.
There are a lot of CMS options out there to create a website. You may have heard of CMS platforms like WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Squarespace, Weebly, Wix and more.
WordPress is the most popular content management system in the world. It powers more than 38% of all websites on the internet.
We believe that WordPress is the absolute best CMS available, hands down.
Start a WordPress Site + Get a Free Domain »
Unlike some other alternatives, WordPress has the best variety of drag-and-drop page builders, has free and premium plugins, integrates with hundreds of other applications, thousands of free and premium themes to choose from.
Whether you’re looking for a simple website builder or the best blogging platform, you can’t go wrong with WordPress. You can use it for all kinds of websites including blogs, small business websites, enterprise, and even eCommerce stores.
Since WordPress is used by over a third of the web, there are a lot of resources out there to help you create your website.
WPBeginner is the largest free WordPress tutorial site on the web, and you can get help from our YouTube videos and Facebook group (over 65,000 members).
To get started, see our ultimate guide to creating a WordPress site.
What is the Cost of a CMS Platform?
After reading all about the benefits of using a CMS, you might be wondering how much does a CMS cost?
Some CMS platforms can be expensive, depending on the features you choose. Many of them have subscription fees that can range into hundreds of dollars a year.
But WordPress CMS software is 100% free and open source.
While the software itself is free, you’ll need to buy web hosting and a domain name.
You can think of web hosting as the house of your website where your site files are stored, and the domain name is the name for your website such as www.wpbeginner.com.
Your cost to start a WordPress website could be as low as $100, or as high as $10,000 or even more, depending on the options you choose. To help you estimate your costs, we put together an ultimate guide on how much does it cost to build a WordPress site.
If you’re interested in starting an online store, your needs will be a little different. You’ll need to be able to process payments and keep your customer’s data secure, and you might want to add more advanced features to your site to boost your sales. That’s why we put together a separate guide for you on how much do eCommerce websites cost.
We hope this article helped you understand what a CMS is and which CMS is the best for you! Check out the additional reading below to learn more.
You can also subscribe to our YouTube channel for step-by-step WordPress video tutorials, and follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest updates.
- WordPress.com vs WordPress.org – Which is Better? (Comparison Chart)
- 6 Best Drag and Drop WordPress Page Builders Compared (2023)
- Why is WordPress Free? What are the Costs? What is the Catch?
- Free Software
- How to Register a Domain Name (and get it for FREE) in 2023
- How to Choose the Best Website Builder in 2023 (Compared)
- How to Make a WordPress Website in 2023 (Ultimate Guide)