A content management system, or CMS, is a dashboard for your website that allows you to customize its style and upload content. Knowledge of web design and coding isn’t a requirement, but you’ll still need it if you want to do anything really unique with your website.
For power users: WordPress
WordPress is the largest CMS on the market, and for good reason. It’s extremely flexible and powerful at the cost of simplicity.
The system works through the use of “plugins” that add functionality to your website. This system requires some understanding of web design and coding, but it also means that you have a ton of modular capability for your website. Specific plugins allow for you to track user data, moderate comments, and upload video content.
Users can download custom themes to give their website whatever type of look they want. The sky is the limit here, and you’ll always be able to find something that works with your content.
The biggest benefit of being a huge player in the industry is the sheer wealth of support documentation. There is a huge community of WordPress users out there, so it’s easy to find an answer for any problems you have while using the site. There are thousands of pages of support inquires on the official support forum, so there’s a pretty good chance that someone had your same problem in the past and posted a fix for the issue.
The site is free to use, but you’ll need to pay for features like custom web addresses and some of the more powerful tools and themes. Check it out on their main page.
For beginners: Weebly
Weebly is a smaller competitor in this space, but it’s still a very viable option. This is a great CMS for people who don’t want to bother with advanced features and just want a space to publish their content or host some light e-commerce.
This CMS offers a robust and easy to use site design tool that allows you to drag-and-drop site modules into however many pages you need. There are many pre-made themes to choose from that users can customize to their liking. You can still dig into the code and edit things on a deeper level, but the graphical front allows anyone to create a workable website.
Weebly comes with some light e-commerce tools built in so it’s a great way to host a smaller web store. It doesn’t come built in with credit card functionality, and your users will be limited to using PayPal or Google Wallet, but it can be a good way to get your store started.
For photographers: Tumblr
Yes, some people use Tumblr as their CMS, but it really depends on the type of content you’re producing or hosting.
The website’s existence as a social networking platform is both a blessing and a curse. Tumblr users tend to share content that they find interesting, but this puts a limit on the types of content that do well on the platform. Long-form blog posts can work on the site but it’s much more difficult to work with. The text-editing tools also aren’t the best, so it can be difficult to create rich and engaging blog posts.
That being said, Tumblr can be great for photographers because it helps users tune out other distractions and focus solely on your content. The site is a great place to showcase your work, but your mileage may vary with the userbase. Just be aware that it’s an option.
Are there any CMS platforms that you enjoy? Want us to add your favorite? Let us know in the comment box below!
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