Q: What is a Content Management System?
A: A content management system, also referred to as a CMS, is a software program that is installed on your web server and used to manage your web site. A content management system simplifies the editing, organization and publishing of content on your web site by letting you create categories, publish posts and edit the design of your site. Content management systems make it easy to redesign your site and add new content to it every day, without learning any programming languages or acquiring any special skill. With a good CMS, you can boost your productivity and build better web sites with ease. Without a content management system, you would have to upload your content manually, and you wouldn’t have the same freedom of control over the appearance of your web pages and the navigational structure of your site.
Q: How Do Content Management Systems Work?
A: A CMS is simply a software program that communicates with your web server and translates your requests and input into computer language that can be used to display content on your site. All information used or created within the content management system is stored in separate databases on your web server; by keeping all of the information separate, you can edit the appearance of your site without affecting the content or navigation, and vice versa. Content management systems are basically a medium between you and the web server, simplifying administrative tasks that would otherwise require extensive training and a great deal of time to complete.
Q: Do I Need a Content Management System?
A: If you operate a web site that requires regular updates, then you may want to consider the convenient benefits of a good content management system. Most webmasters use a CMS at one point in their career, and any novice should definitely begin learning how to use one in order to save time and improve the performance and appearance of their web site. If you have been spending a lot of time on the management of your site and you are unable to focus on other business endeavors because of it, then you may want to expedite the site management process through the use of a comprehensive content management system. Anyone that wants to have a better looking web site with less effort should begin using a content management system.
Q: What is an Open Source CMS?
A: If you have been researching content management systems, then you have probably heard the term “open source.” Open source is simply a phrase used to describe software that has an open source code that can be amended and enhanced. Essentially, open source software can be enhanced and extended upon by any developer with the interest to do so. Most content management system creators choose to make their software open source because it greatly improves the functionality of the CMS, as more individual developers create plugins third party applications that can be used within the control panel of the CMS to carry out a wide range of mission critical and extracurricular activities. With an open source software program, you don’t have to wait months for updates because there is always someone working to make the CMS better.
Q: What is a CMS Plugin?
A: A CMS plugin is simply a third party application that can be added to your content management system to improve the functionality or add new features. Most open source content management systems have a healthy library of plugins, however WordPress is known to have more plugins than any other content management system. If the software is open source, then plugins can be developed by anyone, which is one of the reasons why more popular content management systems have a larger library of plugins. Plugins are capable of greatly improving your capabilities as a webmaster, primarily because they simplify complex tasks that are often associated with administrative web site duties. If you want to make your job as a webmaster easier, more enjoyable, and more productive, then you should definitely use a good repository of plugins on each of your web sites.
Q: What is a CMS Module?
A: Content management systems are design to be user friendly, which is one of the reasons why there is such a strong emphasis placed on the development of a simplistic navigational structure. The developers of a content management system want anyone to be able to use their software without much training, so most of the navigation is self explanatory. Modules are simply the various sections of your content management system, with each one being devoted to a different aspect of site management. Most content management systems have the navigational bar on the left hand side, through which all of the modules within the CMS can be accessed. Using plugins can greatly improve the existing modules and even create new ones.
Q: What Does WYSIWYG Mean?
A: If you have been researching content management systems, then you have probably seen the phrase “:WYSIWYG editor” previously. WYSIWYG is simply an abbreviation for “What You See is What You Get.” In the past, web site editors operated using HTMLK only, which means you had to know HTML and maybe even CSS to make your site look decent, or even to upload a single web page. However, with the invention of the WYSIWYG editor, you can simply add content as you would in a Word processor, and the editor will translate your input into the appropriate programming language for it to be displayed by your web server on your web site. If you are a novice webmaster without much experience or web development knowledge, then you will definitely need a WYSIWYG editor within your content management system.
Q: How Much Does a CMS Cost?
A: Surprisingly, even though they are incredibly useful, most content management systems are free! In fact, while there are some CMS that cost money, ironically the best ones can be installed in minutes free of charge from directly within your web hosting control panel. Although the core content management system is free most of the time, it is possible to buy plugins or improvements that will enhance the capabilities of your content management system. Some CMS are included within your web hosting control panel automatically, waiting for you to perform a simple install using an easy installation tool like Simple Scripts. If you are looking for an affordable way to build and operate a professional web site, then you should definitely consider using a content management system rather than paying a web developer.
Q: What is a CMS Dashboard?
A: Every content management system has a backend interface, which is basically a control panel that is used to control your site and the CMS. The main administrative section of the content management system, through which all other modules and features of the CMS can be accessed, is known as the dashboard. The dashboard gives you easy access to your latest posts, comments, and every other aspect of your site or content management. When you log into the control panel of your CMS, the first thing you will see is the dashboard, which is also the area of the software that you will probably use the most. From your dashboard, you can make quick posts, change the theme of your site, update to a new version of the CMS, and perform a variety of other administrative functions.
Q: What are Permalinks?
A: If you have been browsing around your content management system, then you have probably noticed the permalinks section. A permalink is simply a link that is permanently used to access a specific web page on your site. Therefore, the permalink section of your content management system is used to dictate the link structure of new posts and pages. Within the permalinks section, you can change the appearance of the URL of the pages you publish using different commands and tags. Thus, using the %postname% tag would cause the name of the post to appear in the URL of the web page.
Many people use permalinks for better search engine optimization, as search engines appear to favor web pages that have their topic listed in the page URL.
If you want your site to be neatly organized with memorable URLs, then you will definitely need to learn how to use permalinks for maximum efficiency and convenience.
Q:What are Web Analytics?
A: Web analytics are basically statistics that represent various aspects of your site’s traffic levels. Within your content management system, you can install third party traffic analysis tools in order to accurately monitor, record and create reports of your web site’s traffic. Monitoring traffic is an extremely important part of being a webmaster, especially if you are trying to operate a profitable web site.
With a good content management system, you can easily track your progress and gather detailed analysis about your site traffic. Traffic analysis tools gather the IP address, referrer, operating system, and even the actions of your visitors during their visit to your site. If you want to fine tune your traffic generation techniques, then you will need to learn how to use web analytics most efficiently.
Q: What is a CMS Template?
A: A CMS template, also referred to as a theme, is simply a site-wide design that can be applied to all of your web pages simultaneously. Templates are the easiest way to design a web site with no experience because there are thousands of free templates online that are related to variety of niches and industries. The more popular your content management system is, the more available templates there will be.
Although templates change the design of your site, they do not alter the content or the navigational structure, as the aesthetic appearance of pages and their actual text is separated into different databases within the content management system. Templates can be edited with ease from directly within the editor of your content management system.
Q: What is the Difference Between a Post and a Page?
A: This is an especially common question amongst people that are using content management systems that are also blogging platforms like WordPress. When publishing content, you can create a post or a page. A post is added to a specific category or page, and when a new post is made, the previous post is moved down, and the new post goes to the top of the page.
A page is much different because the content of a page is static, meaning it will not move or change when you publish a new page. Examples of pages would be “home,” “about us,” and “contact us.” Pages cannot be placed with categories, and they are usually accessed through the header buttons of a web site, rather than the side bar. Posts are added to categories and accessed through the navigational side bar.
Q: What are CMS Permissions?
A: Content management systems are commonly used in online collaborations, in which a team of developers and writers come together to create a web site. Fortunately for the site owner and project administrator, permissions can be assigned to each user to prevent them from overstepping their boundaries.
Every contributor gets an account within the content management system. The administrator can change the capabilities of their accounts to include only the tasks for which they will be responsible. For example, you can keep your writers from editing the appearance of your site, and you can keep web developers from adding content to your site. By controlling the actions of your employees and team members, you can ensure the quality of your site and the productivity of your collaborative projects.
Q: What are Tags?
A: Tags are basically keywords that appear often throughout the content of your site. Tags are used by search engines to categorize your site when indexing it, and they are also used by visitors to find specific content on your site using a built in search function or a navigational tag cloud.
Some plugins let you choose which phrases and words are used as tags in a particular post; however, if you do not specify this information, most content management systems will create tags for your posts automatically.
Tags are an extremely important part of search engine optimization and content structuring. If you want your visitors to find the right content easily, then you should definitely learn how to use tags efficiently, either through the basic functionality of your CMS or through a plugin.
Q: What is a CMS Widget?
A: Widgets are basically modules that can be added to the sidebar of your site through the administrative area of your content management system. A widget serves a particular purpose and can be moved around the sidebar as you see fit.
For example, many sites have a calendar widget that displays a small calendar in the side bar, while other sites have a categories widget that displays the categories of their content. Widgets are basically used to modify and customize the sidebar that is viewable by your site visitors. If you want to simplify your site’s navigation and improve the appearance of your sidebar, then you will need to learn how to use widgets effectively.
Q: What is a Sitemap?
A: A sitemap is basically a document that lists the navigational structure of your entire site. Sitemaps are used by search engines to index the content of a site, which is why there is usually a special section devoted to sitemaps within your content management system. If your CMS did not come with this module, you should be able to add it through the use of a third party sitemap plugin.
Most content management systems will automatically generate a sitemap for you based on the pages you have created on your site. Once the sitemap is generated, you can submit it to several search engines for easy indexing. If you want to shorten the amount of time it takes to have your pages indexed and placed in search engine results, then you will need to learn how to use sitemaps correctly.
Q: How Much Training is Needed to Use a CMS?
A: Fortunately, most content management systems are easy to use and do not require any special training. In fact, the developers of content management systems specifically create user interfaces that can be used by anyone within just a couple of minutes. If you are trying to develop a comprehensive web site with a professional appearance and minimal effort, then you should definitely consider the countless advantages of a simple CMS.
Content management systems are designed for novice webmasters that do not have a lot of experience, which makes the learning curve almost non-existent. Fortunately, for those that do not quite understand content management systems or are not technically inclined, there are video tutorials available for just about every popular content management system on the market.
Q: Why am I Getting Database Errors?
A: Database errors are common in content management systems because the software has to communicate with your web server, which has limitations based on the specifications of your web hosting company. These limitations are put in place by commands that are already located on the server, which tell the server how much memory can be allocated to a specific task or software.
Unfortunately, when you have a lot of third-party applications running at the same time, you may exceed these limits temporarily, causing database error messages.
In some cases, you may need to change the php.ini file to allocate more memory to your content management system. Simply find the correct line in the file by looking up the exact error message. Most popular content management systems have a fix for every error posted in at least one forum on the web.
Q: How do I Create a New User Account?
A: Since content management systems are commonly used in online collaborations, it is often necessary to create multiple user accounts. Only a site administrator can create new user accounts, so you must be logged in as the admin before continuing.
In most content management systems, there is a module devoted to user accounts within the backend interface. Once you find the User Account module, you can then create new user accounts, and you can also specify the permissions of each user. By doing this, you are essentially assigning a task to a particular employee. You can monitor the activities of all user accounts, and you can control their input. As a project manager, you will need to thoroughly understand how user accounts work in your CMS.
Q: What is a Media Library?
A: When you see video being played on a web page, there are two ways it is being streamed to your computer. It is either an embedded code that retrieves steaming video data from another site and places it in a frame on the site you’re visiting, or the video is hosted on its own server.
If the video is hosted by its own server, then there is a good chance that this video exists within the media library of the content management system being utilized by the site owner. When you upload video, pictures or sound to a post or page, you can upload it to the media library in order to use it again easily in the future, as well as to facilitate quicker media posting. The size limitations of your site’s media library are only confined by your web hosting plan.
Q: Can I Backup My CMS?
A: Yes, in several ways. You can backup the settings, plugins and configuration of your CMS so that it can be duplicated instantly for another web site, or you can create a backup of your entire web site within the content management system.
Both of these options can be found within the Tools section of your content management. In this module, you will find the option to import, export and backup the databases that comprise your content management system. Once these databases have been backed up, they can be exported into another copy of the same CMS for a new web site. This means you can customize the CSM to your liking by adding plugins and adjusting the preferences, and then clone those settings for the management of a new web site.
Q: Can I Improve My Site’s SEO with a CMS?
A: Yes, there are many ways to improve your search engine optimization efforts using your content management system. In fact, there are dozens of plugins created specifically to improve your search engine optimization skills and capabilities.
Using your content management system, you can adjust the link structure of your site, build sitemaps, create tags and custom meta descriptions, and even build backlinks, all of which are necessary for strong search engine optimization. Completing these tasks without a content management system would be much more time consuming and difficult.
If you want to maximize your SEO skills within your CSM, then you need to utilize the latest and greatest SEO plugins for your content management system.
Q: What is a Category Slug?
A: Category slugs are the text strings that will represent a particular category in the URL generated by the content management system. In other words, every time you publish a page on your web site, the content management system creates a URL, or web address for that page.
Some content management systems allow you to create a slug, which is basically the string of letters that will represent that specific category within the published URLs. For example, if you create a category slug entitled “elec” for the category of electronics, then the published URL will appear as yoursite.com/elec/postname. Category slugs are usually completely lower case, and there are no special symbols involved.
Q: How Do I Install a CMS?
A: Content management systems are easy to install, and in most web hosting accounts, there is a special section devoted to installing content management systems with ease.
In your web hosting control panel, you should be able to find a section called Fantastico or Simple Scripts. Some web hosts will call this application by a different name, so it is important to consult your web hosting company to find out the specific name of the quick installation application.
Once you’ve found the name of the quick installation tool, you can locate the content management system you’d like to install. Most people start with WordPress because it is easy to use and installs quickly. Once the CMS has been installed, you will be given login credentials for the backend interface of the CMS.
Q: What are the Most Popular CMS?
A: There are many content management systems available for use, but most people are only familiar with a handful of names. In fact, there are really only three content management systems that are commonly mentioned – WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. All three of these solutions are free and very robust content management solutions, which makes them the most popular.
However, it is important to note that popularity should not be a deciding factor for you when choosing a new CMS. You should pick your CMS based on your needs as a webmaster, as there after some paid solutions that are more capable than the “big three” content management systems. Many people use other CMS like MODx, SilverStripe and Alfresco, depending upon the project they are trying to manage.
Q: What is a CMS Profile?
A: Every CMS user has a profile when they are logged in, whether they know it or not. Your profile is simply basic information about your CMS account and your preferences as a user. You can edit your profile and customize the look of the CMS when you log in. You can also create a username, as well as a name that will be displayed as your author name when you publish content. Within your profile, you can add your email address, which can be used in case an administrator needs to contact you, and you can even add biographical information. If you are a project manager using a content management system, it is good idea to have all of the team members create a detailed profile.
Q: How Do I Remove the Date From Posts?
A: The answer to this question will depend entirely upon the particular content management system you are using to manage your site. However, it is possible to remove the date from every post. Most of the time, this involves finding a specific command within the theme editor of your CMS. The best way to find the strings that call for a date or time is to use a multiple find and replace application. You can copy and paste the files contained in your theme editor into the multiple find and replace tool, and then find all strings with the phrase get_date or get_time. Remove these strings and refresh your web page to see the results in between each change. If you make a wrong change, you simply go back to the theme editor and undo your last change. Using this method, you can remove and edit every aspect of your theme through your content management system.
Q: How Do I Upload a Theme?
A: Uploading a theme is one of the most important parts of designing a site using a CMS. If you want your website to have a professional design without learning web development, then you need to install a theme. There are hundreds of themes available online, and you can even have them custom-made for you if you’d like.
You can change the theme for your site within the appearance module, which usually can be found on the left side of the CMS in the navigational bar. You can install multiple themes and change them by activating them in the themes section of the CMS.
Q: How Do I Schedule Posts in a CMS?
A: One of the biggest advantages of using a content management system is the ability to schedule content and forget about your administrative duties for a period of time. There are several ways to schedule posts in your content management systems, depending on your preferences as a webmaster. The exact procedure will differ depending on your particular content management system, but most of the time, you can find the option to schedule a post within your general options or the publishing options. Scheduling posts is a great way to save time and focus on more important aspects of web site management after the content has been created and is ready to be posted.
Q: How Do I Choose the Right CMS?
A: Choosing the right CMS can be simple if you follow an easy set of guidelines and look at certain characteristics. It is best to start with a basic solution that is popular and has a minimal learning curve. Most experts recommend something like WordPress, simply because there are many video tutorials, and the user interface is one of the friendliest.
However, each content management system has its own advantages. For example, while WordPress is easiest to use and ideal for a novice, Drupal provides the webmaster with more advanced functionality and customization. If you want a solution that is ideal for your online endeavors, then you will want to consider the individual features and capabilities of each CMS. There are many CMS review sites online that highlight the notable features of each CMS and provide honest comparisons.
Before deciding to use a CMS for an extended period of time, you should make sure you sample CMS interface by trying out each one to see which one you are more comfortable with. In the end, the decision is up to you and your needs as a webmaster.
Q: Can I Use a CMS on More Than One Site?
A:The answer to this question depends on which content management system you are using. Hypothetically, all open source content management systems can be modified for use with as many web sites as you’d like. However, only some content management systems come with this feature as a standard. If you feel as if this feature is absolutely necessary, then you should consider finding a content management system that has this feature installed automatically. If you are already accustomed to using another content management system, then you can hire a developer that will amend your CMS and allow it to control more than one web site. If you are planning to create and manage multiple web sites, then it may be best for you to have a CMS that is capable of managing more than one site simultaneously.
Q: Can I Customize a CMS?
A: Any content management system that is open source can be amended and extended to do almost anything within the capabilities of the developer. However, some CMS are specifically designed to be customized aesthetically. In fact, most content management systems give you the option to change the basic color scheme of the CMS control panel.
For example, with WordPress, each user can have a different color scheme used in the control interface. There are even some CSM that allow you to place a custom logo in the top corner of the control panel in order to brand it for clients. If you want a visually unique content management system, then you should definitely consider the advantages of a customizable CMS.
Q: How Do I Learn How to Use a CMS?
A: Fortunately, learning how to use even the most comprehensive content management system should not take longer than a week or two. In fact, most people are comfortable using their CMS within about 48-72 hours of experience.
Content management systems are designed to be simple and convenient for all users, so you should expect an easy learning curve, regardless of which CMS you choose. If you are having a hard time learning how to use your CMS, then you should consider trying a different solution. The popularity of a CSM is a good indicator of its simplicity, primarily because you can rely on a large community of users to help you with issues through the use of community forums.
Q: Can I Transfer Data From Another CMS?
A: The answer to this question depends upon the CMS you are currently using and what kind of programming language it utilizes. A content management system like WordPress that uses the PHP programming framework is very compatible with other solutions because PHP is a popular programming language.
If your content management systems are compatible, then you could possibly transfer information between CMS, however the procedure to do so would differ depending upon the combination involved in the data transfer. Regardless of which content management system you’re using, you should always backup data before transferring it in any form.