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7 min read

The web designer's ultimate guide to CMS

Choosing a content management system isn't the most exciting part of building a website, but it is essential. Here's what you need to know.

Two web pages that show the back end of Editor X's CMS over a gradient background.

Illustration by Anita Goldstein.

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Building a new website requires a lot of creative work—you have to choose the right imagery, color system, type, and organize your website’s content in a way that communicates your message to site visitors as quickly and clearly as possible.

With so many things to do, it's relatively easy to forget to choose a content management system (CMS) that will organize and manage the content available on the website—but an effective CMS website builder can actually make the whole process of content management as painless as possible.

So in this article, we’ll answer a few popular questions website designers and creators have about CMS, like, "what is content management?" and "what is a CMS?", and explore different types of CMS and steps you need to follow to design a website with a CMS.

What we'll cover

What is a CMS?

Why use a CMS?

What are the different types of CMS?

What are some CMS examples?

How can I design a website using a CMS?

What is a CMS?

A content management system (CMS) is an application web producers use to create and manage content for a website without using code. The elements of a CMS may vary depending on the specific platform, but usually include a content database and a user-friendly interface the website administrator can use to add, delete, and edit content on a website. Many CMS’s offer intuitive content editors that allow site administrators to create a page layout and drag and drop content in specific parts of the page.

Some CMS’s also include tools for analyzing website traffic and visitor behavior, which can help site owners understand how their content is being used and identify opportunities for improvement.

what is  a cms website

A CMS website, quite simply, utilizes a visual, easily navigable back-end content management system as opposed to a website that relies on code. It has five key benefits, as highlighted above.

Why use a CMS?

The primary reason to use a CMS website design is to make the web design and site maintenance processes easier and more efficient. Here are some advantages of using the CMS:

1. It saves time and doesn’t require technical expertise

The number one reason to use a CMS is to simplify backend content production processes. With a CMS, anyone, including non-technical users, can manage website information, because they don't have to dive into code to add or edit content. Instead, they complete all operations via the CMS’s user interface, allowing organizations to focus on creating good content rather than finding someone who understands how to code.