What are Content Management Systems?
Content Management Systems (CMS) are software that make it easier to create and manage content with little to no requirements for technical understanding. CMS tend to be database-driven and handle a lot of the related data transactions that can be complex to the average user such as capture, storage and some manipulation. The data being stored in a database make it reusable and gives dynamism to the site as stored data is reusable (e.g. tags). Of course, advanced tasks can still be performed for those who are more technical but increasingly there are add-ons that take care of even that, from those that assist with configuring the look and feel of a site to those that add technical and even specialist functionality to the core features of a CMS.
The concept of CMSs took website owners a long way from creating bespoke solutions from scratch, creating single points of failures and potential product maintenance costs associated with limited choice of product support, interestingly so, in spite of the fact that a lot of those are open source and therefore are reliant on the good will of independent and unpaid developers for support and maintenance.
The fact that WordPress is the most used Content Management System in the world is a good reason for adopting it if you want to follow fashion. We have nothing against that approach, we just believe that we need more substantial information to create a solid base for a website that we assume should be around for years to come. There are reasons for its success though: WordPress is one of the easiest system to set up, use and manage and it has among the most plugins (especially free ones) written for it.
I started with Joomla, a powerful CMS that I still valued more than WordPress. Yet the ease of maintaining websites (upgrade, transfer, backup, restoration and more) completely won me over and I am now specialised in WordPress although I still do the occasional work with Joomla for some clients. Joomla is amazing, robust and clean and I am talking about the latest versions from 3 onwards, but it is not easy to learn for the average user, it is a pain to upgrade from previous versions and there are not many free working plugins for it. WordPress, I suppose, attracted the user who believed they were entitled to be part of the Internet oyster as the revolution was happening, here and now.
To sum up…
So why use CMS? Because they make web development easier for the regular diy user and even for the user who might get their website developed by another but will still have an opportunity to add content and manage their digital presence.
Why use WordPress? WordPress is the CMS that most epitomises the concept described just above, which is probably the reason why it is the most popular CMS in the world.
And how to use WordPress? A lot of the articles in this blog aim to help you out with this.