During earlier permutations of the Internet, content management was a feat capable only to those fluent in coding. This is part of the reason as to why new information from sites used to be so sparse, as individuals even with moderate computer literacy were required to outsource their editing and content creation to computer science graduates. More recently however, this method of Web construction has become obsolete, as the code-heavy mechanisms for online architecture have been supplanted by more user-friendly UI, which allow content-creators full authority over their production.
CMS (Content Management Systems) are the vanguard of this new model, and has become one of the driving forces of exponential manufacture of material for website proprietors. But why has this feature been so successful for businesses, and what opportunities does it add?
The Effect of Cleaner UI
One of the clearer features of CMS is a more streamlined UI. Traditionally, the most simple alterations to a website required specific edits to endless lines of code. When utilizing CMS however, users are presented with a layout more akin to a Word document. This is immediately beneficial as by far the majority of individuals using a computer have at least a cursory understanding of Word. As such, bloggers, marketing directors and even business owners don’t have to concern themselves with engineers to update content, as they are able to do so of their own volition. Consequently, businesses that employ CMS on average witness an immediate uptick in productivity and content, as it allows for more independence for its users.
Apart from the content increase itself; minimising human interaction with code through automation is innately beneficial. The reason for this is due to the margin of error reduction that occurs as a consequence. When performing alterations with CMS, users are still susceptible to typos and grammatical errors. However, the effect is both clearly seen, and easily remedied. By contrast, mistakes in code are not so obvious, as the mildest character change can have deleterious effects beyond spelling and grammar. If for instance a mistake in coding is made that affects the web architecture itself, it could potentially lead to entire pages being incomprehensible to site visitors. Furthermore, because the mistakes of this kind are often opaque, their correction requires scrupulous examination over every line of code written. Since the coding process is largely automated through CMS, it circumvents this process entirely and saves exorbitant amounts of time and money. The only errors that exist are errors that anyone with basic Word literacy can solve.
Flexibility in Presentation
I previously mentioned the connection to Microsoft Word when referring to CMS simplicity, and while that comparison is still pertinent, CMS offers a far wider variety of features. One point of contrast with Word is that CMS recalls every iteration of each piece of content. As an example, CMS stores every draft of a blog post on its servers, and allows them to be witnessed by its users. This makes it easier to comb through preferred documents, as content does not exist as one linear immutable document.
Secondly is the mutability of different document types for the website. A beneficial feature to CMS is that blogs and text-based content are allowed to take any form that the editor prefers. For instance, data can be uploaded in a traditional blog form, on landing pages or even as localised on select pages. CMS is not limited to one style of presentation, and is in this respect very malleable.
Multiple and Simultaneous Users
Built into CMS is a kind of microcosmic community. Businesses are able to distribute accounts to their employees where they can amend the site individually. The value of this feature is two-fold. For one, a clearer record is kept of who edited what on the site. Users are denoted by their actual names, so when they publish or edit a blog post, or perform some intentional alteration on the site a record is kept. As such, user-input is easily delineated and business owners can designate and track who is producing content with greater ease. It also allows employees greater inter-dependent efficiency, as they can identify and communicate with whomever has uploaded content.
The second benefit has more to do with the ease of data management. The fact that CMS allows multiple accounts that can edit the site simultaneously grants the opportunity for production speed to be rapidly increased. Users are not required to “wait their turn” to edit the website, but can instead concurrently do so with their co-workers. With this feature, productivity is amplified by several orders of magnitude.
The Way Forward
The CMS system is a widely adopted mechanism for content creation, and for good reason. Its existence has allowed for the production of website content never before considered fathomable. Fortunately for both business owners and their employees, the days of contacting Webmasters for site editing have long since past, and have been supplanted rather firmly by this new programming system.