CMS are widely used today. They allow you to create a website simply and with little or no computer knowledge. Depending on the richness of the content and the complexity of your website, some CMS are more appropriate than others. And as in all domains, some CMS are very popular but not practical while conversely others are little known but simple to use and perfect for optimized websites!
The word CMS comes from the English word Content Management System. We now know what this acronym means, but we don't know the main thing. What is a CMS?
Well, a CMS is a computer tool that allows you to create a website, whether it is a showcase, a blog or an e-commerce. The advantage of a CMS is that it is a tool that can be accessed online from any browser, so you don't need to download an application on your computer to use it.
The term Open Source means that the source code of the CMS is free to use. This implies that it is possible for a developer to add improvements or corrections to the code in order to make it evolve. When there is a need for some functionality, a developer can, by himself, make a contribution to the CMS.
It will allow to increase the number of modules related to the CMS to both enrich it or solve certain weaknesses.
Ergonomics, usability, security or the quality of the CMS are worked on and improved.
A proprietary CMS is a CMS that has been designed by a person or a company for personal use or to be sold to a specific client. This is advantageous for the designer, because he knows and masters his CMS perfectly. The client is therefore sure that his provider is able to create or modify the CMS according to his expectations, however crazy they may be! The designer can therefore add custom features for his customers without any constraints.
It is possible to have all the features you want and all the tools you can implement in the CMS. No need to add a plug-in, not necessarily well coded, and often expensive.
The client does not own it. On the other hand, everything that the client will do with the CMS, his website, his blog, etc. belongs to the client.
Another provider will not be able to add a feature or correct a possible bug on the CMS, because the code is not publicly available.
The site will not have any more update, no more correction of bug, no more addition of functionality and security holes can be created.
At first glance, it may seem expensive to create a website with a CMS, especially if you are a small company. But what is the price of freedom? The freedom to modify the content of your website at any time. In the long run, choosing a CMS will allow the company to :
You should also know that you can link almost all your marketing or communication tools to your CMS, either by plug-in or by custom development.
Do you know the principle of What you see is what you get? This principle was born with word processing software that allows you to see the text as it will be printed on a sheet of paper. A CMS is based on this principle. Indeed, the CMS will allow you to preview and see the page you are building exactly as it will be published.
A CMS should be easy to use with an intuitive and ergonomic administration so that anyone can use it, with or without computer knowledge.
Add functionality to connect your website to all your communication and marketing tools. In the form of a module or custom development.
Whether on the forums or directly in the developer communities, you will find an answer to your need: question, feature, bug fix...
Some CMS offer you modules and others, more specialized, have been designed and developed to meet the requirements of Google and optimise the SEO of a site.
With a CMS, you don't have to worry about the visual aspect of your site, it is done according to the template or blocks chosen. Focus on the content.
A CMS allows teams to work on a website simultaneously. It also allows you to assign roles and access permissions to each user.
The primary function of a CMS is to be able to separate the content from the layout of a page. Indeed, these are two very distinct things.
The management principle allows for a CMS page to :
It also allows you to modify the content of a page, whether it is a text, an image, a link or a video.
On the best developed CMS, you can have a version history. This allows, when you are alone or several people working on the same tool, to be able to :
With a CMS, you don't have to worry about the design, you will choose :
Once you have made your choice, you only have to add your text and visual content.
We hardly care about it nowadays, but a few years ago, responsive was the spearhead of developers. Today, if you use a CMS, you don't have to worry about responsive. The website will automatically adapt to the screen on which it is displayed thanks to :
Getting a website to the top of the Google search results is not impossible! On the CMS, fill in :
The CMS administrator can give access rights to other users depending on the actions they will have to do on the CMS. Here are some of the most common roles:
We will take the example of an editor, he does not need to have access to all the functionalities of the CMS, so we will assign him an editor access allowing him simply to add content to the pages and to save them or to place them in moderation for validation by the administrator who will be able to publish.
Depending on the CMS, you can create basic rights such as reading and modifying a page or more specific rights such as moderating users.
That's a big word for simply saying that you can connect your marketing or technical tools to the CMS. So you can connect :
Do you want to make your website international? With some CMS, it is easy to translate your website into several languages. On others, you will have to download a plug-in which can be either free or paying.
This feature is not available on all CMS, it allows you to have a search field on your site to do a global search on it.
When you add a link to a page, you can just select the page you want to link to.
But why do this? Well, simply because if you copy and paste the url of the page and then change it, the link will be broken and you will get a 404 error.
A very useful feature for a blog, you can sort and/or filter your items according to tags that you define. You can then sort your blog according to :
You are creating a page and you don't want Google to see it? Choose not to index it! It will not be visible to Google and will not appear in the sitemap of the website. This feature can be useful for legal or TOS pages.
The use of CMS is aimed at anyone who wants to create a website and wants total freedom in managing and publishing its content. As a general rule, CMS are aimed at companies that want a turnkey solution to launch or boost their business. The CMS remains perfect for :
The choice of a template should not be neglected. It must correspond to the site you want to create to have the least possible changes to make.
Add optimized images, use WebP or SVG and write interesting texts for your reader.
The preview allows you to check that the page you have created does not contain any errors. It is at this point that you can adjust certain elements.
You can now publish your page and send it to Google to be indexed and visible in search engines.
This first part is not specific to websites made with a CMS. In fact, it is not even specific to a website! You should know that working on your texts and making them pleasant to read should be a daily process, even when you send an SMS to someone.
It is important to have text on your website, but if it is not understandable or easy to read, your readers will not continue reading and will leave your website. So you need to focus on a few things:
We don't realize it when we read a text, but there are a lot of transition words that will make the reading easier. In fact, they are there to link the sentences together.
The length of the sentences you write has an impact on the comprehension of the text itself, because if a sentence is too long, the reader loses the thread and does not know what it is talking about.
Don't write what we are used to reading elsewhere or write it in a better way, write about niche or specific topics, depending on your expertise.
Images on a website will make it more attractive and pleasant to browse. However, they can have a negative effect if they slow down the loading of the web page. Some CMS's will automatically optimise images, but not all do.
In order for your images not to slow down your site, they must follow certain rules:
The advantage of a CMS in managing your page links is enormous. Indeed, you will define a mother page, your Home. Then you will add child pages, or sub-pages.
The hierarchy of your site will be done by itself. Furthermore, when you name your page urls, pay attention to the order in which they are placed.
Let me explain!
If you have to present services, you will have a Services parent page and child pages Service, Service creation, Service writing ...
Your urls should look like this:
https://www.website.com/ --> Home of your site
https://www.website.com/services/ --> Services homepage
https://www.website.com/services/prestation/ --> Services child page
https://www.website.com/services/creating/ --> Services child page
https://www.website.com/services/writing/ --> Services child page
Be clear in your urls, don't duplicate your keywords. Google likes things to be tidy.
Here is a little parallel from everyday life so that you understand. Let's take the example of a person who wants to tidy up a room, he will choose to group everything in boxes. They will therefore have a "books" box. Well, inside this box she will have novels, thrillers, biographies... We know inside the book box there are books, so there's no need to say that again.
Well, it's the same for the services in the url!
When you do a search in Google, you may come across results that visually don't look like others. Like a list, a question/answer or a carousel of images. Well, this different result from the others is obtained thanks to Google's structured data.
Display a recipe as a card with key information: image, title, cooking time, notes.
These structured data are easy to add in a CMS, moreover, some CMS have this basic option while for others, you will have to add a plug-in.
This schema allows you to present an article in a brief description as well as its author.
This schema is perfect for presenting a recipe or a tutorial for making an object.
This schema will allow you to make a question/answer game.
This diagram is to be used to present a web page, such as the home page of your website.
The most common diagram for a blog post. It is used to explain how to do something.
This is the time to put into practice all that is detailed above and to take action to boost the natural referencing and improve the positioning in the search results of the website.
Choosing the right keyword allows you to position your site on searches that people do. Targeting your website on a keyword that has no traffic will result in the site being little or never consulted.
There are many tools to see what search intentions people have, as well as their volume and degree of difficulty.
On a CMS, you can easily add your meta title and description.
It's time to take action! Here is your little shopping list of things to do.
Write text with the idea that your reader doesn't know the subject so keep it simple. Add optimized media: images, videos, GIFs. Look at what the competition is doing and do better, write more words. Structure your content and finally, link your pages to each other and to other sites.
On a CMS, you can use tools like Yoast to test your texts for SEO.
Having a blog can boost your SEO, because you will create a lot of content and a lot of links between your pages.
Here are some tips: repeat your keyword in your titles, use transition words, list elements, make a summary, add a title and a meta description with your keyword.
A CMS allows you to automatically generate your blog's homepage, grouping and pulling together all your articles.
Here are some optimizations that can improve your SEO. Like having a responsive site or reducing unnecessary code and technologies that slow down your pages. But also generating a sitemap to help search engines discover your pages.
All these technical improvements are already present on some CMS, that's why you should compare them.
In addition to improving the technical and editorial content of the site, it is also necessary to improve the popularity of the site.
And this means having quality links pointing to the site and thus improving its credibility.
To do this, you can ask your customers to talk about you or post your articles on sites with a high profile!
Your website has climbed to the top of the Google results, that's great! But now, you will have to follow this evolution in order to see the points of improvement.
Google provides many measurement tools such as Google Analytics or Google Search Console.
These tools can be added to certain CMS in order to centralise everything in one place.
It is not easy to start a blog. Indeed, to do so, you have to write a lot of content and quite regularly. In addition, depending on the subject of your blog, some areas are very competitive.
In any case, to launch a blog, it is wiser to use a CMS rather than a manually developed site. But why?
Firstly, and as we have seen above, using a CMS allows you to add and modify the content of a site yourself. This is essential for the smooth running of a blog. Can you see yourself asking your developer to correct a mistake in an article? After a while, it's not manageable.
Secondly, managing a blog without using a CMS is a real headache for the developer. When you create an article, you add visual content to it and also data to boost SEO. Also, once the article is online, we like to find it on a blog homepage that will group all the articles together. These two actions are therefore complicated to maintain for the developer, especially if you feel like publishing 2 or 3 articles a day! The CMS allows, among other things, to generate the home page of the blog and to update it automatically with each new article published.
Last but not least, on a CMS, there is a workflow and moderation system for a page. The workflow system will allow you to list the tasks to be done, within what timeframe and under what conditions. Page moderation allows you to write an article on the CMS and then send it for verification. These two systems are very practical when you work with an editor. Workflow tells the writer what to do and moderation allows the administrator to validate the writer's work.
Writing a blog post is not complicated. To do so, you need to have a certain sensitivity to writing, to know how to do research and, above all, to transcribe the information you gather. Here are the 5 main steps to write a blog post.
Who is the target and what do they want to read?
In my sector of activity, what do people look for in search engines?
How to seduce an Internet user at first reading?
What references will the article be based on? What are the sources?
How should the ideas and examples be broken down? How should the article be written?
Certain points are essential for a CMS and for its user. Here is a list of these points to check:
A headless CMS is a CMS that does not have its back-office part connected to the front-office part. In other words, the addition of data to the website is not done on the same tool as the display. In fact, with a headless CMS, here is how the uploading is done:
With this type of CMS, it is possible to display the same content on different media: computer, mobile, VR headset or even artificial intelligence.
Wagtail is a full-featured open source CMS developed by Torchbox, a leading London agency in 2015. It is developed with Django, a powerful framework for website developers.
Wagtail is evolving very quickly and has a great community of developers who will :
This CMS is meant to be simple and ergonomic, as its administration remains accessible to a person without computer skills.
Take a look at Snoweb CMS, designed with Wagtail.
Each of his articles presents and compares the current CMS and guides you in making your choice.