With traditional CMS software like WordPress, Drupal, or Joomla, users can easily create and edit their content through tools like a WYSIWYG editor. Or even an HTML editor and then save it to the back-end database. The CMS then displays the content according to the front-end delivery layer built into the CMS.
In WordPress for example, that layer looks like a WordPress template, governed by cascading style sheets (CSS). A traditional CMS is sometimes referred to as a ‘coupled’ CMS — we’ll discover the reason behind that later on.
One of the key advantages of using traditional CMS software is that it uses templates, WYSIWYG editing, and other special tools. Some of these are also customarily seen within decoupled CMS systems too. Unfortunately, many of those tools are not available in a headless CMS architecture.
What Is Traditional CMS Software?
Over the last decade, the focus of websites has been a marriage of the CMS and your site’s design. Having the CMS part and parcel with the site design has made it easy to update content without the overhead we used to see. Like having to manually update pages via HTML development, moving content and files with FTP, etc.
Traditional CMS software is linked tightly between the front end and the back end. Content is created, managed, and stored — along with all of your digital assets — on the site’s back end. The back end is also where website design and customization applications are stored.
Learn Also: 15 Must-Have Enterprise CMS Features
The content management back end and database are bound within the same system that delivers and presents content to devices and end-users (front end). Basically, your editors are writing and publishing on the back end of the same system your website visitors are viewing. This can be a bit scary!
In simple terms, a traditional CMS, like WordPress or Drupal, is a monolith that connects the front-end and the back-end of a website — in a neat and easy application codebase. They contain everything from the database for the content all the way up through the presentation layer.
When is Traditional CMS Software used?
Traditional CMS’s are still fantastic systems that work for a variety of deployment types. If you’re strictly building a website for yourself, a small business, or even an enterprise solution that doesn’t need to share content with other digital properties, you may be best served by using a traditional CMS.
You can get up and running fast and you’ll be able to manage your site from a single source. It’s also important to note that while traditional CMS software is typically a single site solution, many of them have quite resourceful plugins.
To enable multi-site and/or API access to share digital resources with external applications. But, those plugins come with their own challenges and benefits.
- The entire site is served from a single system
- Easy to manage all content
- Control front-end design through themes and templates
- Large communities for support
- Lower technical barrier to entry
- Create only website content (the same content can’t be easily served up on other devices)
- Do not always scale well
- Requires developers who are CMS specific
- Limited flexibility
- More time and money required for maintenance and enhancements
That said, it’s good to know the right way to choose CMS software. Bearing in mind, there are many content management solutions on the market today. Especially, from traditional vendors with all-in-one suites to headless solutions that promote flexibility and the freedom to choose your favorite technologies.
How to Choose the Best CMS Software Solution
Of course, all of the above-listed perks come at a cost. Each business must weigh the option of whether or not investing in CMS is a smart decision or wasted expenditure. Answering some of the following questions can help you select the right content management system for your business or organization.
Personally, I recommend partnering with a CMS software expert to review your options and decide which platform best fits your organization’s needs. And whether or not you’ll choose to buy or subscribe to one of the CMS platforms on the market, it’s important to vet vendors and providers first.
By so doing, you’ll be able to partner with one that is trustworthy — to provide you with the right features for your content management needs.
And now that CMS applications have abounded on the market, each has its unique features and levels of service. That said, below are some questions and answers to consider in the evaluation process:
1. What is your budget & business operations?
First of all, if you have infinite resources to spend, there are some very complex CMS software at your disposal. With features designed to make content creators’ and editors’ lives easier. But, with a limited budget, your choices will be more limited.
Secondly, as for business operations, which ones does the CMS need to support? After price, the next major consideration is which business operations the CMS software will need to support. Some questions to ask yourself first include:
- Does your company need to publish hundreds of new videos a day?
- Change prices on thousands of SKUs per day?
- Host images for blog posts?
I would also second a Web Content Management System that easily supports multi-language channels. A multi-channel delivery not only makes this job much easier but, it also empowers local brand and content managers to run localized campaigns. Especially, on the channels best suited for their markets while maintaining the global brand identity.
2. What technologies does the CMS need to support or integrate with?
If your company already uses a CRM, ERP, or web analytics program, you’ll need to consider a CMS software that integrates easily with your other existing online marketing software. Also, you should consider how easy it’ll be to create and edit your content.
For one thing, the larger the company, the more removed the end-user of the CMS software will be from the person who implements it. Ideally, the system will be easy to use and intuitive, with features like a WYSIWYG editor.
Making sure your business is secure from cyber attacks is incredibly important also. Not only do attacks interrupt the continuity of your business, but they also cost you huge amounts. Luckily, most CMS software — like WordPress, comes with a fairly robust set of security features. Such as advanced authentication, strict permissions, firewalls, and protection against malware attacks.
3. Is the Web Content Management System User-friendly?
Empowering your employees to support your globalization efforts starts with simplifying the process they use to do so. It’s, therefore, good to use a content management system that is intuitive for the end-user. And that allows employees to quickly re-use branded components too.
Such as images, designs, and experiences. And for sure, this will greatly encourage teams to take ownership of the local experience — especially if it also allows all users to use the system in their preferred language. A system that supports straightforward approval workflows will make the lives of brand managers easier too.
It’ll also, in turn, support continued effort and excellence in the globalization process. More so, to further support your global teams in their localization of the brand into new markets, it’s crucial that they can quickly evaluate the results of their efforts. And then take autonomous actions based on this feedback.
The easiest way to do this is to ensure that the CMS/WCM you use has built-in experimentation capabilities. Allowing for easy testing of content and experience elements — whether on desktop, mobile, or other channels.
4. What about Personalization, Analytics, and Scalability
I would also strongly recommend a WCM system that allows you to automatically personalize digital experience elements too. Like promotional campaigns, graphics content, or product artwork grids to provide more agility to global teams. Why? For they can easily create variants of the site experience from one global system.
It will also allow businesses more control over the global brand, supporting globalization at scale. And that reminds me, you should also use a content management system that has a built-in analytics engine too. So that your marketing teams, content creators, and brand managers can easily spot visitor trends and opportunities.
Particularly, for improvement in the digital experience based on local visitor data. Also, businesses that run their WCM in the cloud will be able to scale their globalization efforts much faster. With development teams able to roll out updates to the digital experience worldwide with just a few clicks.
5. How many different groups of users will there be?
One consideration will be the various different levels of administration privileges that are required. In this case, you’ll need to consider the various user roles. Including the role of managers in reviewing scheduled content.
Likewise, is the platform SEO-friendly? If SEO is important to your company, you will want CMS software that automatically handles basic on-page optimization tasks. Such as title tags, URLs, alt tags on images, and a sound internal linking structure.
And then as an addition, how large is your developer community? Some of the CMS platforms, particularly WordPress and Drupal, often come with very large developer communities. The advantage to a sizable community is the amount of online help and documentation you will find on most aspects of customization.
It’s even better if the system can provide this information per persona. Giving you much more precision in optimizing the content served to your visitors around the world. While taking advantage of the uptime and continuous improvements offered by cloud providers.
Headless CMS vs. Traditional CMS
On one side, traditional CMS software systems are known for bundling many features into a single offering, with marketing automation, asset management, and e-commerce often included. On the other side, headless CMS software systems offer a best-of-breed approach.
It focuses on providing the best solution to produce and deliver content. Whilst, promoting flexibility, agility, and the freedom to choose any technologies or services to address the other aspects of your digital experience. With that in mind, let’s learn why companies chose Headless CMS over Traditional CMS.
Consider the following:
- Freedom to choose your technology stack, content models, and services to create any online experience
- Flexibility for Marketers to focus on content while Developers focus on building engaging experiences
- Headless CMS focus on delivering best-of-breed content production and delivery
- It offers agility to reuse content across websites, channels, and devices
- Benefits modern technologies, such as Software-as-a-Service, microservices, and static site generators
Basically, in order to further compare traditional and headless CMS, we can consider Kontent by Kentico as a great example. It’s the only headless CMS that focuses on the needs of enterprise business users. While also enabling developers to build engaging digital experiences.
This approach empowers more employees to partake in their company’s marketing efforts, leading to better content, more engaging experiences, and improved outcomes for their customers. Let’s now learn how to build a website with a Content Management System. So, do you want to build your own website with a content management system?
If so, the general process looks something like this:
- Purchase web hosting and a domain name
- Install your content management system of choice on your web server
- Configure the content management system to dictate how your site looks and functions
- Start writing content using the content management system’s interface
It’s actually surprisingly simple. And hosts like Kinsta can even help install the content management system for you (WordPress, in this case). So that you can jump straight into building your site without any technical setup.
Examples of Popular Content Management Systems
In the first lace, WordPress, which I showed you above, is the best example of a popular content management system. Of course, there are certainly other content management systems in existence. But of them all, the WordPress market share maintains over 42.4% on websites with a known content management system.
Note that when I mention “WordPress”, I’m not talking about WordPress.com. Instead, I am focusing my attention on WordPress.org as the main CMS software for webmasters. After all, which is the website where the actual open-source WordPress content management system is stored.
Beyond the self-hosted WordPress software, other popular content management systems that you should know about too. As well as other less well-known content management systems that target themselves to large enterprises (with an expensive price point to match).
Best Self-Hosted Blogging Platforms:
Best Hosted Blogging Platforms:
Among those, as I listed above, which is your Best Blogging Platform for your site? Well, in my opinion, it highly depends on your intention with the blog. The best option who want to create a personal blog is probably a free hosted solution. Let’s say, like WordPress, Blogger, or Medium.
Having just a Digital Strategy — used to largely start and end with a website? Well, those days are gone — now than ever, our digital strategy needs to include creating content and processes for a plethora of platforms.
Sure, we still have a website, but we also have apps, social platforms, IoT, and smart devices, to name just a few. All of these outputs need to get their content from somewhere, and CMSs have evolved to fill that need.
By definition, Content as a Service (CaaS) is one of the best cloud-based — content-first approaches — to all content management. With a highly configurable and sophisticated architecture. Your content team creates, approves, and publishes content that could be used anywhere in your digital ecosystem.
From your website, apps, social, etc. The idea here is that the content isn’t intended for a single website page. And with that in mind, your CMS now becomes a hub for all that content. Now that it can feed any modern system to move that data around.
That gives developers and data architects the freedom to use your content in their tools. This includes DevOps, which means the sophisticated process for bringing together and integrating all of the pieces that make up your digital properties.
This is what has replaced the monolithic website build process. It means that these, tools, which by definition have to be highly interoperable to work in a DevOps pipeline, can be reused over and over. And in more new ways too — as your digital strategy evolves.
But, CaaS is just one part of a digital ecosystem that includes many tools. Most of which can be swapped out and replaced with new ones. This ability to evolve and grow allows the ROI on your content investment to increase as the scale of your content strategy expands too.
That’s all for now. However, you can share some of your additional thoughts, contributions, suggestions, or even questions in our comments section. You can also Contact Us if you’ll need more help or support on traditional CMS software and others.