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What is Website CMS? | Buzzword Breakdown

by Justine Pantaleo
Read Time: 13 minutes
website-cms-blog

All small businesses are at different points in their business journey. No matter if you are at the point where you need a website, or you already have one, there are always some pain points that can be addressed. Fortunately, there are solutions to every one of these pain points.

If you are a small business that hired a freelancer or an agency to build a website for you, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Have you ever been frustrated because you couldn’t make your own edits or changes to your site?
  2. Does making edits to the content on your site break the design of your website?

Or if you are a small business looking to build your first website, ask yourself these two questions:

  1. Do you need full access to your site to make content changes?
  2. Do you have a tight budget but don’t want to give up design and quality?

Depending on your answers to these questions, a website CMS could be a good investment for you. A website CMS gives you the ability to control and manage your site without breaking the design or waiting for weeks for your changes to be made. 

This blog is going to break down everything you need to know about a website CMS: the benefits, key features, and how to select the right website CMS for your business. 

 

What is a Website CMS?

A website CMS (Content Management System) is a human-friendly software interface that allows you to control and manage your site behind the scenes and bypass any complications. It enables you to simply update text and images on your website on your own terms and timeline. It’s as easy as that. With a website CMS, your website is under your control. 

If you are already familiar with Content Management Systems, check out the advantages of DirectLync’s CRM!

 

What are the benefits of using a website CMS?

If you're not a developer, like me, a website CMS is a lifesaver. It makes the whole process of adding events, writing metadata, updating content, creating forms, and more a breeze.  Most website CMS platforms are connected to digital marketing platforms. For instance, in DirectLync, when someone fills out a form on your website, their information is automatically integrated into the CRM. How amazing is that?

A website CMS enables you to go above and beyond when it comes to managing your site. Some features are:

  • Easy editing – keep your website fresh and up to date by quickly editing your page content.
  • Plug-in free management – handle forms, blogs, and events on your website without being concerned with the functionality and security of a third-party plugin. 
  • Data capture – add forms and autoresponders on your site to capture lead data that syncs directly to your contact database. 

 

What do I need to know about a website CMS?

A website CMS consists of many buzzwords, most of which are unknown to non-developers and non-designers. To be able to understand how to navigate and use a website CMS software, I have broken down the most common website CMS buzzwords, features, and functionalities. 

 

Content

Content is king! Your website won't be a website without content. Content is all the "stuff" that is on your website. For instance, it is the pictures, text, videos, GIFs, and so much more.

The content you put on your website is more important than any of the designs or fonts that you think are fun and make it look cool. Content marketing informs, entertains, educates, and offers utility.

A good site takes dedication and must have high-quality content.  A website without good content is pointless. 

 

H1/H2/H3  

These are heading tags for coding. Don't worry; you don't need to understand code to use heading tags in a website CMS. 😉 These signify the size of a heading in HTML code. Search crawlers look through the code on your website for these <h> tags. The crawlers look to these tags to determine what content is on the web page.

To make this simpler:

  • H1 – page title, large
  • H2 – new sections within the article, medium
  • H3 – sub-points, small

Heading tags are an essential part of a website CMS because they carry the most SEO value for your website. They also help you keep your content and design consistent across your website. When writing a header in your website CMS, you are given the option to select a H1, H2, H3, or up to a H6. H1s are usually used for the most important headings, such as page titles. An H1 tag signifies importance to Google.

 

Hero Area

In simple terms, the hero area is the first piece of content that catches the reader's eye on your website. It usually is a large, full-width image with a headline. A perfect example of a hero area is on Meads Bay’s website below.

A hero image serves several purposes on a website. The main goal is to capture the visitor’s attention. For example, the Meads Bay hero image above makes you not want to look away. It is the first factor that influences a visitor’s opinion of your company and plays a vital role in increasing conversions. The right hero image can establish trust among visitors and make them interested in what you’re offering, while the wrong one can create a bad first impression and drive them away.

An effective hero image may include your unique selling proposition and a CTA button. Think about the person coming to your site for the first time; your hero image should make an impact on them. I know Meads Bay’s hero image caught my eye when I arrived on their site. I was ready to dive right into their website 🏊‍♂️.

 

Hosting vs. Domain

Alright, let’s hurt our brain a little.

Hosting is where your website is stored. When you create a website, you have to pay a web host to store your website. A web host stores your files, allows others to access your site and connects your website to the internet. Think of it like a storage garage where you pay the owners to use a part of the garage to store all your goodies.

A domain is an address for your website. The domain goes after the “www” in the internet search bar and is the string of characters that you decided to make your site identity. It is usually your company name. For example, our DirectLync domain is www.directlync.com

One thing that a lot of people miss is that a domain and a host cost money. For web hosting, pricing can start as low as $2.75 per month and can escalate up to $729 or higher per month. As for a domain, depending on the name you choose, it could cost from $10 a year to hundreds. But, be sure you are educated on your options when you are selecting the right domain or web host. There are many domains or hosts that you can choose from, so do your research and decide what is best for your business. 

 

JPG/PNG/GIF

When it comes time to add images to your website, you need to know the difference between possible image formats: JPG, PNG, and GIF.

A JPG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is the standard photograph format on the internet. It can be at a ratio of anywhere from 2:1 to as high as 100:1. To simply understand it, most images are JPGs, but be careful because they reduce sections of images to blocks of pixels. 

A PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is a good option for transparency and non-lossy, smaller files. It is an excellent filetype for internet graphics. They provide beautiful crisp lines when you zoom into a photo. 

A GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) is what a lot of us know to be an animated image. It is not ideal for modern photography, nor image storage. 

GIFs are my absolute favorite, but they need to be used correctly and in the right context. For example, I would use the Monday mood GIF in a blog or email, but it is not appropriate for your website pages. Although, it does give us a good laugh! 🤣

via GIPHY

To break it down a little, you should only use a GIF for animations, a JPG for regular photo-like images, and a PNG is suitable for transparency and logos.

 

Lorem Ipsum

Yes, it’s Latin. Lorem Ipsum is used as placeholder text. When you create a website, it most likely has dummy text or Lorem Ipsum before you add actual content. It is placed on the site to show you where there should be text within the design. It's helpful because it shows you the layout of a line or a block of text. Just remember to delete the Lorem Ipsum and fill it in with your own words.

 

Responsive

Being friendly is always a good first interaction.

Responsive is another way to say “mobile-friendly.” It means that the website is easy to use, responds quickly, and is size adjustable – on mobile, laptop, tablet, or desktop. Google offers a helpful tool to ensure that your website is responsive.

Having a responsive website is crucial. You don't want to drive your audience away because your site is challenging to navigate, or your content is unreadable on a mobile phone. Speaking of mobile, ensuring your website is mobile-friendly is important! In 2019, 80% of users used a mobile device to search the internet. It will hurt your ranking on Google if your site isn't mobile-friendly.

 

SEO

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization. It is the practice of increasing the quantity and quality of traffic to your website through organic search engine results. 

Search engines are sophisticated tools that work off an algorithm in two ways: 1) crawling/ indexing the billions of documents and webpages that are uploaded to the internet daily. 2) providing a ranked list of answers based on a particular search query.

You must think about SEO when building and updating your website. It is an important aspect of a website CMS because it crawls your site and ranks your pages. When editing content, try to add keywords into your titles and text because it helps Google understand what each page on your website consists. Plus, it will help present your page when a relevant query is searched.

 

SEO is a critical way to get the most from your website.
Learn more about SEO here.

 


Sitemap

It’s exactly what it sounds like. A sitemap is a list of all pages on your website. It’s a navigation/outline/table of contents for your website. 

A sitemap is useful for many reasons. Primarily, it helps you organize the different pages of your website. We recommend that you submit a sitemap to Google as an XML file to Google and other search engines. This XML file helps crawlers to explore your site and add it to search results. 

The image below is an example of a sitemap as an XML file. It looks fun, right? 🤣

Source: StatCounter

 

UX

UX is short for User Experience. UX is the experience someone has while they are using your website. You can run UX tests, which follow someone as they navigate your website. The purpose of a UX test is to see if the content on the site is found easily, quickly, and provides value to the user. 

I recommend doing plenty of UX tests when it comes to your website. A bad user experience can frustrate users and drive them to another site.  

 

Widget/Plug-in

Just like it sounds, it’s a “widget” or a tiny gadget that you can “plug-in” as a tool for your website. It adds certain functionalities to your website that may not be available out of the box. For instance, you could add a search bar, a booking calendar, a podcast player, etc.  

 

 

Why do I need a website CMS?

Do you ever find yourself trying to contact the creator of your website to update content, and time just keeps on passing before they get back to you?

If you answered yes to the question above, a website CMS is for you. 

It’s time to stop jumping through obstacles and waiting on other people; it’s time for a website CMS. A website CMS not only allows you to update content on your site when needed but saves you time as well. Instead of waiting around all week for someone to get back to you about your website changes, you can do it in the moment. Yes, you can make the changes. You don't need to be a developer or a designer to know how to use a website CMS; most are created for the average user. Now, how great is that?! 

 

Check out how DirectLync’s website CMS made editing content so easy for Conwell-Egan Catholic High School.

 

How do I select the right website CMS?

Selecting the right CMS is a big decision for your business, so you must understand the different options. Your two main options are:

Option #1: A website you can create on your own.

For instance, Squarespace is a software that allows you to create your own website. This is an excellent option for a new business that is on a tight budget. Squarespace is inexpensive and easy to use. Keep in mind that you are limited to their templates, which can lack uniqueness. And, as your company grows, you will likely need something more robust. 

Option #2: A custom-built, professionally designed website with a CMS. 

With a custom website, you have a chance to express the vision you have for your site. Agencies create most custom-built websites. Usually, when an agency builds a website, it doesn't include a CMS. However, at DirectLync, we give you the best of both worlds! You can break through the noise with a professionally designed website that’s also built on a CMS. 

A website CMS helps you fix issues and easily update content. You are not only becoming tech-savvy with a website CMS, but you are saving valuable time. Gone is the time and money you would spend on waiting for someone else to update your website. 

 

CMS (aka Call Me Soon)

At DirectLync, we want you to feel confident about your website and that it portrays your business perfectly. With a DirectLync custom-built website, our priority is to show the qualities and uniqueness of your business. You're not just getting a website from us; you are also gaining a website CMS and other amazing marketing tools. To learn more about our DirectLync services, view our site, or contact us here.  

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Categories: Blog Posts, Marketing, Website
Justine Pantaleo
by Justine Pantaleo
Justine loves getting “inside the mind” of her audience to produce writing that reflects their needs while giving them new insights on all things digital in fun and creative ways. When she’s not creating content, you can find her eating sushi and playing volleyball (usually not at the same time).

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