Published on 3 August 2012 (Updated 6 November 2023)
CMS – What is it?
CMS stands for “Content Management System“. A CMS is a tool for publishing, modifying and sharing all types of content: images, videos, articles, pages, etc…
In concrete terms, a CMS can, for example : update a menu for a restaurant owner, add a new product for a retailer, update an artist’s diary, cite new references for a service company
The CMS on the market
CMS are used to build all kinds of websites.
Today, e-commerce sites are widespread, and two CMS stand out from the competition in this field: Prestashop and Magento.
Most CMS are Open Source, which means we can freely redistribute them, access the source code and create derivative works (extensions and themes).
Benefits for Agencies: competitive rates
1 – Industrialization of the business
Today’s web agencies can develop the websites of their customers using only CMS. In effect, they can industrialize their activity, for example, for each new website, starting from an existing base and modifying and/or adding modules created for previous customers. These modules can then be customized for new customers.
As a result, the company has a solid base that becomes increasingly modular with time and customers.
2 – Maintenance
Thanks to thriving communities, CMS are always under development. As a result, many members create new extensions and report various bugs to the development teams.
What’s more, CMS development teams are constantly improving their tools, which ensures regular enhancements – but not only that! In fact, if the community discovers a security vulnerability, a CMS update is proposed within days of it being reported.
This way, development agencies can guarantee their customers’ website maintenance with regular, reliable updates.
3 – Lower development costs
Thanks to the use of CMS and industrialization, Agencies are able to offer lower rates and higher margins.
Compared to their competitors, they are more competitive, offering quality sites at a lower cost.
Benefits for developers: greater productivity!
1 – A modular, scalable solution
Thanks to CMS, developers can have access to sites that are modular and adaptable. Additional functionalities can be integrated at any time, blending seamlessly into the site’s architecture. In most cases, these additional functionalities are integrated using extensions that can be activated and deactivated completely independently.
Besides the modularity of a CMS, developers also benefit from a scalable solution that is regularly enhanced and patched.
2 – Reduced development time
The use of a CMS considerably reduces the development time of a website.
Installing and configuring a CMS takes just a few minutes, and the entire administration section is ready to use. User roles and management are available, and many other functions, such as newsletters, are natively integrated into some of them.
What’s more, developers have a wealth of extensions at their disposal, enabling them to save even more time on the specific development of additional modules.
Take, for example, the functionalities of an e-commerce site. Think of product management, variation management, shipper management, payment management, tax management and so on.
Imagine the time it would take a team of developers to set up such a solution from scratch!
3 – Improved natural referencing
From a technical point of view, a CMS facilitates the indexing work of search engines. For example, some CMS automatically create a robots.txt file, enabling search engine spiders to identify which pages should be indexed and which should not.
By default, CMS add permanent redirection of articles whose url address may have been modified by an editor. This feature means that developers don’t have to worry about “dead” links and can have total confidence in CMS, which perfectly manage this significant detail for the popularity rating of a website’s pages.
Moreover, CMSs strive to comply as closely as possible with W3C standards so they are optimized for quality natural referencing.
4 – Guaranteed support and resources
The most popular CMS benefit from an active community. There’s a support forum where community members can ask questions and find answers to their problems.
What’s more, developers have all-time access to official documentation and resources that explain in detail the functions and modules used by the CMS (e.g. the WordPress codex.
Customer benefits: 100% satisfaction!
1 – Simplified content management
The CMS gives customers freedom and autonomy. They benefit from an administration interface available from any computer connected to the Internet, from which they can intervene at any time, simply and without any programming knowledge. Customers can modify the text, images, and videos on their website.
2 – Possibility of multiple users working on the same site
CMS systems enable advanced management of users and their rights.
CMS users can be prioritized and assigned roles and permissions. For example, a contributor can write an article before submitting it for validation, an editor can write and publish contributors’ articles, while the administrator can manage everything.
3 – Lower costs
Developing a CMS requires less time than a customized solution carried out from start to finish by a development agency. As a result, the service is less expensive, and the customer’s bill is lower.
Since CMS are of high quality and can integrate a wide range of functions for the customer, the latter can indeed benefit from a very competitive price.
Disadvantages of CMS: the other side of the coin
1 – Greater competition for agencies
The industrialization of CMS by communications agencies is becoming increasingly widespread, and this is not an advantage for any of them. In fact, as they offer lower rates and a satisfactory quality/price ratio, agencies are directly competing with each other.
2 – Risk of being hacked
CMS are Open Source. In other words, the source code is visible to all, even to individuals with malicious intentions.
But don’t panic: the main security risks come from extensions developed by the community. Before installing an extension (plugin), it’s essential to check that the latest update is recent and look at the community’s comments on the extension.
In the event of a security flaw in the CMS core, an update is generally available within a few days of its discovery.
Today, our agency’s projects are released with a maximum of 4-5 plugins. We won’t hide the fact that we’ve discovered some agency sites with over 50 plugins! Site life expectancy: 1 year.
3 – Slow website loading
The major drawback of CMS remains the slow access to databases, which is particularly noticeable when pages are displayed (depending on the host). CMS use many requests to display little content.
As a result, developers need to be careful not to overuse certain resource-hungry functions and set up a caching system to overcome and mask this problem.
For a web agency, the use of a CMS is becoming an undeniable plus, allowing it to be more competitive compared to its competitors.
Finally, for customers, the use of a CMS enables them to obtain a site offering an excellent quality/price ratio with reduced development time.