CMSContent Management System

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!

presentation cms
chapter 1

What is a CMS?

Definition of a CMS

définition cms

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.

What is the purpose of a CMS?

You should know that there are two types of CMS, the Open Source CMS like Wagtail and the proprietary CMS like Wix. But what is the difference between the two?

Open Source CMS

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.

Large developer community

It will allow to increase the number of modules related to the CMS to both enrich it or solve certain weaknesses.

Continuous improvements

Ergonomics, usability, security or the quality of the CMS are worked on and improved.

Proprietary CMS

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.

Development of custom features

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 CMS code belongs to its creator

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 can not intervene on the code

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.

If the creator of the CMS stops his activity, your CMS will not be maintained

The site will not have any more update, no more correction of bug, no more addition of functionality and security holes can be created.

cms propriétaire
chapter 2

Why use a CMS to create a website?

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 :

  • Modify the text and image content of their website whenever they want
  • Add new pages to their website without the need for additional development
  • Translate the website into several languages
  • Add classic features such as a newsletter, online appointment booking or a pop-up at no extra cost
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.

chapter 3

The advantages of a CMS

SIMPLICITY

A CMS should be easy to use with an intuitive and ergonomic administration so that anyone can use it, with or without computer knowledge.

FEATURES

Add functionality to connect your website to all your communication and marketing tools. In the form of a module or custom development.

COMMUNITY

Whether on the forums or directly in the developer communities, you will find an answer to your need: question, feature, bug fix...

SEO

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.

RAPIDITY

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.

TEAM

A CMS allows teams to work on a website simultaneously. It also allows you to assign roles and access permissions to each user.

chapter 4

The basic functions of a CMS

First of all, a CMS is used to work on the content without the form

cms content

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 content is stored in a database. That is to say that when you modify a data in the CMS, it will then modify a field in the database. For example for a button, in the database, there is a field "button text". When I add the button text in the CMS, it will automatically fill the "button text" field in the database.
  • The layout of the page is defined in a page block. This block will then group the css style of the page like the location of the text zones, the choice of colors or the choice of typography. But it does not only contain that, it also groups the structure of the data and the links between the elements. For example, how and where to place an image and to which link it will point.

The features that a CMS must have

Writing and editorial management

The management principle allows for a CMS page to :

  • Create
  • Modify
  • Publish
  • Delete

It also allows you to modify the content of a page, whether it is a text, an image, a link or a video.

Writing with a CMS

Page version history

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 :

  • Go back to a previous version
  • Have a trace of the modifications made
  • Know who has modified such or such content

Design of your web pages

With a CMS, you don't have to worry about the design, you will choose :

  • A template or page model
  • Page blocks
  • Your colors
  • Your typography

Once you have made your choice, you only have to add your text and visual content.

Design with a CMS

Responsive web page

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 :

  • Responsive templates
  • Responsive page blocks

SEO

Getting a website to the top of the Google search results is not impossible! On the CMS, fill in :

  • Your main keywords
  • Metadata: title and description
  • Structured data or Google schemas
SEO with a CMS

User permissions

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:

  • Editor
  • Manager
  • Administrator

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.

Interoperability capacity

That's a big word for simply saying that you can connect your marketing or technical tools to the CMS. So you can connect :

  • Your calendar
  • Your CRM
  • Your ERP
  • ...

Multilingual management

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.

Internet search engine

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.

Links between pages

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.

Sort and filter your items

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 :

  • Date of publication
  • Author
  • Theme
  • etc.

Choice on the indexing of a page

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.

Who are CMS for?

Who are CMS for

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 :

  • Artists, designers or craftsmen who need to present their work and add new content regularly
  • People who want to create a blog and who will go to the CMS daily to edit and add content to their posts
  • Agencies, freelancers or small businesses who want to create a showcase site to present their activity and who, in the long term, want to diversify
  • Company managers who want a solution that will be managed online by several people. And who want to grow the site internationally
  • Traders or designers who want to create an online shop window and who will regularly add new products and manage orders

How to use a CMS?

Choose your template or page model

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 your textual and visual content

Add optimized images, use WebP or SVG and write interesting texts for your reader.

Preview your work

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.

Publish your page

You can now publish your page and send it to Google to be indexed and visible in search engines.

How to use a CMS
chapter 5

How to optimize your website with a CMS?

Making texts more readable and understandable

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:

The use of transition words

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 your sentences

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.

The originality of your texts

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.

Adapting photos to suit their use

Optimized images

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:

  • Optimal resizing. Some CMS will automatically resize your image according to its use. It will therefore not have the same size from one block to another and from one screen to another. And above all, it will not be the same size on a computer as on a mobile phone.
  • An appropriate format. There are several formats for images today and depending on the content of the image, it is worth choosing the right format. However, some of these formats are not read by all CMS. Here are 3 examples of formats:
    • If your image is an illustration, a logo or an icon, choose the SVG format
    • If your image needs transparency, such as for the background, use the PNG format
    • If your image is very heavy, compress it for the web with the WebP format
  • A CDN. But what is it? A CDN will allow your image to be distributed all over the world, so that no matter where the Internet user is, he can load it quickly.

Managing the website's internal links

website's internal links

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!

Understanding and using Google's structured data

What is the purpose of Google's structured data?

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.

Search for a recipe

Display a recipe as a card with key information: image, title, cooking time, notes.

Adding structured data simply on a CMS

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.

What are the most common structured data?

Article schema

This schema allows you to present an article in a brief description as well as its author.

Recipe Schema

This schema is perfect for presenting a recipe or a tutorial for making an object.

FAQ Schema

This schema will allow you to make a question/answer game.

WebPage Schema

This diagram is to be used to present a web page, such as the home page of your website.

HowTo Scheme

The most common diagram for a blog post. It is used to explain how to do something.

the most common structured data
chapter 6

How to create your natural referencing with a CMS?

SEO

How to create a CMS strategy?

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.

campagne seo concurrence

Choice of keywords

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.

campagne seo structure

Creating your pages

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.

campagne seo redaction

Write a blog

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.

campagne seo liens

Optimise your site technically

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.

campagne seo contenu media

And many other criteria

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!

campagne seo positionnement

Measuring your actions

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.

chapter 7

Why create a blog with a CMS?

The advantages of a CMS for a blog

The advantages of a CMS for a blog

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.

How to write a powerful blog post?

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.

  • Subject

    Who is the target and what do they want to read?

  • Keywords

    In my sector of activity, what do people look for in search engines?

  • Title

    How to seduce an Internet user at first reading?

  • Documentation

    What references will the article be based on? What are the sources?

  • Screen

    How should the ideas and examples be broken down? How should the article be written?

chapter 8

Which CMS to choose in the current market?

What are the points of comparison between CMS?

Certain points are essential for a CMS and for its user. Here is a list of these points to check:

What kind of website can you create with it?
Do you need computer skills to use it?
What features do you need?
What future developments do you need?
Do you want to have control over the design of the site?
Do you want an easy to use and ergonomic administration ?
What is your budget to create your website?

What is a headless CMS?

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:

From the back-office of the CMS we add the content
The content data are stored in a database
Using an API, the data will be retrieved from the database to be injected into the front-office
From the front-office, the data will be displayed on the screen. And this is where the power of the headless CMS comes in.

With this type of CMS, it is possible to display the same content on different media: computer, mobile, VR headset or even artificial intelligence.

cms headless
chapter 9

Example of a CMS

Presentation of Wagtail CMS

bloc wagtail gif

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 :

  • Bring in new features
  • Develop related modules
  • Fix bugs
  • Improve the product

This CMS is meant to be simple and ergonomic, as its administration remains accessible to a person without computer skills.

Wagtail allows you to create any type of website

presentation cms
  • Showcase site : To present an activity
  • Portfolio : To present your achievements
  • Blog : To publish articles
  • E-commerce : To sell products online
  • Documentation : To help users

Example of website creationwith a CMS

Take a look at Snoweb CMS, designed with Wagtail.

I wish to be accompaniedto create my website with a CMS

Don't look for the most trendy CMS or the one your neighbor advised you! Start with a CMS made for you. A CMS that adapts to your needs.

blog postsDiscover all our articles on CMS

Each of his articles presents and compares the current CMS and guides you in making your choice.