How-To(s) Beginner Tools & Software

6 Myths Uncovered About Content Management Systems – How To Make A Website (Part 4)

In the previous part it has been demonstrated how to learn HTML and CSS can be very simple. This was done before because without this knowledge it is very difficult to build a good website either you use content management systems (short: CMS).
In this part 6 myths about Content Management Systems are revealed to clarify their operation. For this purpose, the term Content Management System is defined first. Subsequently, the operation will be discussed and explained. In these points incorrect workings are often adopted. In addition it will be clarified in which situations the use of a CMS is useful and when not.

What are content management systems and what are their tasks?

Before various myths are presented about content management systems, the term content management and partially refuted the term content management should be token a closer look and the functionality of a CMS should be defined more precisely.
Now what does the word “Content Management” means? The word is build out of content and management. So the question is: What is content and are there differences between them? Is this important for the management of the content?

Imagine for a moment that the content of a (online) newspaper or magazine is not managed by a CMS. However, the newspaper has different topics, which could be divided into different categories. How should the content be managed, even if each content of the same type would be (with more than 1000 products)? The administration would be much too complicated without a CMS. This is one point for using a CMS. Therefore content management systems offer the ability to catalog content (I believe all, if not almost all). While it is often technically solved differently, on the basic principle it is the same thing, however.

Let’s keep the example of a newspaper and the management of its content: Who would now create the content, modify and publish it? One might at first think that all those who have access to a CMS, should possess these rights. Well, more than 1000 articles can not be created and managed by one person. To this end, a lot of people are necessary. And as you probably know, there is the so-called chief editor who issued the release at the end or returns it for processing. It would certainly be fatal if all individuals have the same rights. Therefore, content management systems also offer a rights control.
In addition, a CMS should also afford various states of content and manage this states. An article which will be published soon, should be marked differently than a first draft. The labeling of published or non-published is a crucial point of a CMS to support publications, too.

In addition to managing content, the task “separation of content and programming” plays another crucial role for the use of content management systems. The basic idea of a CMS is finally managing content without any knowledge in design and/or programming. Therefore, a CMS separates these tasks from each other. Now that the basic functions and tasks of content management systems are known, a few myths about content management systems are now presented and verified.

1. Myth: Content management systems are ONLY suitable for the medium internet!

Of course, content management systems are often used in the web environment. The medium (online) newspaper has been taken up before. By using this example this myth can be disproved short and painless. Consider again how a printed newspaper is managed. In addition, an online version is often provided to printed version of a newspaper. Imagine for a moment and try to answer the question of how could contents could be managed in the offline and online version.
Or try to answer the question how a foreign correspondent has to work with all the other team members? Should the content be sent via email? Hardly likely. All content is controlled by such a CMS. Perhaps an individual solution is used, but the management and control of content is taken place through such a system. Otherwise, chaos would simply break out. So, you see that content management systems are used not only for the medium internet. In the field of knowledge management, they are partially used, too.

2. Myth: With a content management system, content can easily be created!

Roughly speaking, this assumption is true. Of course, only if the right components or modules are present in a CMS. However, it is not rare that a new and different type of content should be created which are not yet available and do not fit to the “normal” modules. Then it is necessary to expand the CMS. Depending on the CMS it could be easier to expand than others. In some cases it is even almost impossible to implement certain features to turn upside down without the entire system (see Myth 6). This depends on the requirements of the new module and the structure of the used CMS.

3. Myth: Every content management system can be used for all purposes!

There are many content management systems available on the market, partly as open source or as paid software. Almost each has a different data structure and an inner architecture, as well as managing content, design and modules differently. Partially some content management systems are being considered for general use, while others have been developed for special applications. Some content management systems have their focus on the user administration, others on a very refined categorization of content. The handling, or the operation in the management of content can vary greatly. Some are easier to use than others. For other content management systems a greater technical understanding is necessary. So, before using a CMS, it is really necessary to deal with the CMS and find out how it fits to the individual project.

Not to be underestimated is also the factor of individuality: Is it easy to install custom modules (see Myth 2)? How difficult is it to adjust frontend and backend to your own needs? Is the system known, or rather not? Is there a proper documentation? Think about it: It becomes difficult when all the questions are answered in the negative. It could be very problematic to integrate new things because often the system must be examined first, and in a lesser-known CMS less troubleshooting can be found, as with a more well-known. As you can see, not all CMS are intended for all applications, or can be recommended.

4. Myth: Some content management systems are not usable!

In my opinion that is utter nonsense. As mentioned earlier, content management systems are very different and have been developed for individual questions and problems. Some content management systems offer more convenience on creating content than others. All CMS have its advantages and disadvantages. It applies to each individual project. The decision for or against a CMS depends on the situation. Pick out the most suitable CMS for your situation. Don’t forget that the decision depends purely and away from the users of the CMS, too.

5. Myth: Content management systems can be expanded to any size!

In theory, expanding a CMS is possible with almost all content management systems. Here, there is always the question of how it works and how high costs for extensions are. In the absence of documentation, very poorly maintained or even incomplete documentation, difficulties are inevitable. Here counts the notoriety of a CMS and how easy it is to start developing with the system. Otherwise, the creation of extensions is rather difficult. It is also necessary to find out how and whether extensions will not be overwritten by a system update. It is here, as in many other points: research, research, research.

6. Myth: Content management systems operate without being able to program!

This assumption is a half-truth, or when it comes more out of content management systems, knowledge is required in this area. Extensions can not be created without programming knowledge. Or is an extension available, but it should still be adjusted individually, this is, without being able to program not possible. If no knowledge is available, external help should definitely be summoned.

Conclusion

Content Management systems are great tools to create content and manage it. However, it should be really well researched before choosing a CMS. Otherwise one is in danger of loosing a lot of time to make subsequent adjustments. A change from one CMS to another with an import of the previous content is often too complicated because of the extreme different data structure. Although it is no immune against such situations in a much later stage of a project, however, an analysis of the current requirements should be strictly carried out to avoid major complications for now.