“CMS” stands for “Content Management System.” A more descriptive term would be, “Website That Is Easy to Update and Manage Instead of a Huge Hassle,” but that’s a little long. The goal of a good CMS is to make it painless, even a little fun, to add and manage the content on your website. No matter which CMS you choose, it’s extremely helpful to understand a few basics about how they work.
Think About Content, Not “Pages”
When we “browse” the Internet, we generally think of ourselves as moving from “page” to “page”. Each time the screen reloads, we’re on a new “page.”
This analogy to books has some good points, but you’ll have to drop it if you want to wrap your head around making a website. Books and websites are incredibly different technologies.
In most books, almost everything on each page is unique. The only repeating elements are the header and the footer. Everything else is the content. “Writing a book” ultimately means assembling a single stream of words that will start on page 1 and end at the back cover.
These elements are separate from the content. Imagine if you had to recreate the menu separately on every page!
Make Many Paths to Your Content
With that goal in mind, most books don’t need to offer many paths to the same content. You have a table of contents, and sometimes an index. Maybe some cross-references. But most people are going to read the whole book, so these aren’t the focus.
A Good CMS Makes Life Easy, But You Do Have to Learn a Little
I hope you have a sense of all the complex, tedious tasks a CMS tries to save you from doing. (And I haven’t even mentioned letting people leave comments.) A CMS is an astounding labour-saving device.