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Content Management System: An Ultimate Guide

Traversing Content Management System: The Beginner’s Gateway To The World Of Content Management


The image states about the Content Management System


Management is a word that is used almost everywhere in almost every aspect of life. Looking from a philosophical standpoint, just living our life can be looked upon as managing ourselves in relation to our surroundings.


Switch to the digital standpoint and we see content everywhere. Nothing in this world lasts after creation unless it is managed and content is no exception. Where do all these content reside and how are they managed? All hail the Content Management System.


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Content Management – The Introduction


Content has been part of our lives since times unknown in various forms. As per the current trend, content exists everywhere in the form of online content. Regardless of the business or purpose, content is the grass-root level medium through which communication happens. From just written words years ago to all the modern types like videos, gifs, and images, online content has come a long way.


With such evolution comes the need for management and online content is no exception. The pace at which online content has developed has brought along significant challenges like retrieving specific content, creating and modifying content, and other content-related activities. This has resulted in the need for a robust system to manage online content at our convenience. Keep reading to witness the solution to these challenges.


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Content Management System (CMS) – The Definition


Every discovery in existence has arisen due to the need for convenience. Relating this to online content, you needed to know how to code a website to create a website and publish online content during the initial days of the digital era. This in turn proved highly difficult for people who were not coders-cum-writers to put up their content online. This need for convenience kick-started the evolution of the saviors named CMS.


A CMS is nothing but software that allows you to create a website using pre-designed templates and other web features. To explain it in even simpler terms, let’s say you have a button on one of your web pages that takes you to the next article.


Without a CMS you would need to write code instructing the website to navigate to the next article. Instead of using a CMS, you just need to place the button on your webpage and specify where to redirect upon clicking on it. The CMS will take care of the corresponding coding part for your actions.


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Types of Content Management Systems (CMSs)


It can be classified based on different kinds of parameters. One of the parameters would be to classify them based on the type of usage. A CMS can also be classified based on its licensing and platform. Let us look at the categories of a CMS based on the above-mentioned parameters.


Based on Type of Usage


  • Web Content Management Systems (WCMSs)
  • Digital Asset Management Systems (DAMs)
  • Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECMs)
  • Document Management Systems (DMSs)
  • Component Content Management Systems (CCMSs)
  • Mobile Content Management Systems (MCMSs)


Based on Licensing and Platform



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Web Content Management Systems (WCMSs)


Web Content Management Systems are specifically designed for all content activities related to a website. It helps content creators with zero or minimal programming knowledge set up their own websites to market their content. A WCMS comes with various features like writing, editing, website authoring, indexing among many others to cater to your content needs.


A WCMS is a low-cost investment with easy-to-use interfaces and workflows. It consists of various templates and plugins for providing you with an optimum web design experience.


Digital Asset Management Systems (DAM)


A Digital Asset Management System is a type of CMS that is intended to provide an asset-focused service. It is mainly used to store, share and modify digital assets like videos and photos. The size of digital assets tends to increase as more and more content is created, creating a lack of space for the assets to be stored. A DAM is meant to resolve this issue.


Apart from this, the DAM, like other types of CMSs provides storage capabilities, workflow automation, search functionality, and so on. The only difference is that it is aimed at digital assets. It also provides metadata and watermarking features.


Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECM)


This is mostly aimed at managing an organization’s documents and other digital assets. Companies are slowly moving out of paper usage for their documents and adopting online methods. This is where an ECM comes to your rescue.


An ECM provides complete content management for digital documents and assets of companies. Apart from storage, it has search options to retrieve necessary documents and workflow features for linking documents to the right people at the right time. An ECM makes digital content management extremely efficient for unstructured company documents and assets.


Document Management Systems (DMS)


A Document Management System is almost similar to an ECM. But it differs in the sense that it does not aim to provide a complete content management solution like ECMs. A DMS is meant for specific tasks related to documents and does not include the management of other digital assets.


The DMS more specifically deals with structured documents like word documents, PowerPoint presentations, etc. DMSs are generally preferred over ECMs where the document management needs are limited to reduce the cost of implementation.


Component Content Management Systems (CCMSs)


As the name suggests, it manages content as individual components rather than storing them as whole documents. It stores and tracks content in the form of a paragraph, a table, an image, and other types of individual components.


These components are stored only once thus there is no issue of duplication and the trust factor for the content is high. These individual components may be used as part of whole documents through copy and paste or other methods. Due to the content being stored only once, the documents in which they are used also tend to be consistent. Updating and modification also happen quickly due to changes only in a specific content component.


Mobile Content Management Systems (MCMSs)


As handheld devices started becoming an omnipresent part of our lives, the world of CMS also had to adapt to these changes. This type of CMS aims to provide content and data management capabilities through hand-held devices like mobile phones, tablets, and PDAs. These systems may not necessarily be a stand-alone application and may exist as one of the features or part of another CMS.


As of now, many shortcomings plague a mobile CMS like small screen size, smaller storage, relatively weaker processors, and varying device compatibility. But it is on its way to becoming a full-fledged mainstream CMS.


Just like the usage, let us take a sneak peek into the classification of CMSs based on licensing and platform.


Cloud-Based Content Management Systems


These are those types of CMSs where the content is stored and managed on cloud hosting. The major advantage of this type of CMS is that the cost of setting up a CMS from scratch and that of the labor force needed for maintenance are done away with.


A cloud-based CMS follows a Software as a Service (SaaS) type subscription method where the charges are levied based on per-site or per-user criteria.


Open-Source Content Management Systems


These are CMSs that are developed by a community of developers rather than a single organization. The source code of such a CMS is available to everyone. Hence this type of CMS is highly customizable as per the user’s needs.


An open-source CMS would have many developers across the world contributing to it and hence updates are quite frequent. Switching over to another alternative web development agency is also relatively easy as the new agency can straightaway access your existing CMS.


On the other hand, these CMSs are susceptible to higher security threats.


Proprietary Content Management Systems


As the name suggests, a proprietary CMS is developed and owned by a specific organization. To use the CMS developed by them, you would need to pay for the CMS according to the subscription plans available with them.


One of the major advantages of a proprietary CMS would be that you have one specific organization responsible for the correct functioning of the whole CMS. You know whom to reach out to in case of any problems that you may encounter with your CMS. This type of CMS is also beneficial if you have a very specific need and do not require lots of customization.


The proprietary CMS also has its share of drawbacks. The level of customization is limited to the product. Moving to an alternative CMS is also difficult and expensive.


Features of a Content Management System


Any CMS needs to have multiple and diverse features to satisfy your overall CMS needs. Though the features available differ from one CMS to another, some of the functionalities are similar across any CMS. Let us understand some basic CMS functionalities which are listed below:


  • Content Creation and Management
  • Workflows and Automation
  • Content Organization and Retrieval
  • Multilingual Content Support
  • Multichannel Compatibility
  • Personalization Flexibility and Performance
  • Metrics and Analytics
  • Security
  • Integration


Content Creation and Management


The very basic purpose for the existence of a CMS is content. It is critical for a CMS to have user-friendly options for the creation of content. Apart from content creation, a CMS must also have options for the modification and deletion of existing content. The entire content cycle should be simple and easy to use.


Workflows and Automation


Workflows are a necessary aspect of a CMS as they lay out the procedures on how to use the CMS in an intended manner. Well-built workflow options result in the creation of well-defined workflows for the CMS, which in turn translates to efficient usage and productive outcomes.


Workflow automation is necessary to aid you when you have tasks that need to be performed on a repetitive basis. These save considerable time without having to perform similar tasks from scratch again and again.


Content Organization and Retrieval


The more the quantity of content, the harder it becomes to search through them. A CMS addresses this issue by providing ways to organize content based on various criteria. A good content organization would include highly customizable and relatable conditions to avoid chaotic scattering of content throughout the CMS.


Robust search functionality is also needed to retrieve the exact content that is needed quickly and with precision.


Multilingual Content Support


The world is filled with a slew of languages which automatically leads to the creation of online content in multiple languages in accordance with the region. The best way to connect to your audience is through the language that they speak. Communicating with your audience in their language helps establish an emotional connection with them.


Apart from these, different countries might have different content laws that might require content to be in their local language. A good CMS addresses such concerns with aplomb.


Multichannel Compatibility


Gone are the days when online content was accessed only through personal computer systems. The new digital age has spurred a number of alternative platforms like mobile phones, tablets, among various others. Your audience would also want the content to be accessed at their convenience through the devices that they have. Multichannel compatibility is necessary if your target audiences operate different types of devices.


Personalization Flexibility and Performance


A CMS needs to allow you to perform various functionalities as per your needs. A flexible CMS would provide you support for a wide range of access to multiple devices and channels. The CMS should also be able to handle content efficiently upon scaling and expansion of the business.


Metrics and Analytics


Tracking is one of the foremost activities involved in content management. But you would need proper data to analyze how the whole content management process is moving forward. Analytics and metrics are set of data that provide various statistical information regarding various parameters and functioning of the CMS, for example, the number of views for content or any other data to analyze the impacts for the organization.




Anything online has the threat of being breached and misused by miscreants. Therefore security is of utmost importance for any kind of online data. A great CMS would have highly secure authentication techniques to protect your valuable content and related data. It also blends well with third-party security providers that you may choose to have.




Apart from performing a great job by itself, it also has the capacity to work in tandem with other software and resources to bring out the best possible results. It has smooth integration functionalities with other aspects of business like eCommerce and social media. United they stand out. Divided it falls short.


Frequently Asked Questions:


  1. Does WordPress have CMS?
  • It is a popular CMS and it is open-source.


  1. How many types of CMS are there to manage content?
  • There is a total of five types of CMS that we use.


  1. Is Shopify a CMS?
  • It is basically a digitally marketing platform.


Popular CMSs


There are various CMSs that are providing exceptional content experience to their users. Listed below are some of the much-acclaimed CMSs:


  • WordPress.org
  • WordPress.com
  • Joomla
  • Wix
  • Drupal
  • Shopify
  • Squarespace


Do all these concepts seem exciting to you? Are you urged to create your own content and promote it online but have no idea where to start? You could use a bit of help through the following courses offered by IIM Skills:



It is up to you now to decide on what your net path would be. Everyone has their own journeys and we hope you have had good productive takeaways to help you along with the rest of your journey. We wish you the very best to make use of your content to lead a life filled with contentment.

I am Vinay Karthikk S currently pursuing an internship at IIM Skills as a content writer. I had previously worked as a Software Quality Assurance Engineer at Freshworks Technologies based in Chennai. My interest in content creation and the desire to turn it into a satisfying career has brought me to IIM Skills.

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