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What is a CMS?

How a Content Management System can help your website

What is a CMS?

Stay organised and in control of your web content with a CMS

Keeping your website up to date is an important task, it can also be very time consuming. Using a CMS can help you keep on top of your web pages and allows you to edit the content of your pages even if you know nothing about coding. If you can write a post on Facebook then you can run a website via a CMS!

Need help with any of the terminology in these articles? Check out the Website Terminology page for definitions of many key terms.


If you have thought about creating your own website then you might have heard of WordPress, Joomla or Shopify. These are all well known brands of CMS or Content Management Systems. A CMS is an online organising system that allows you to run an online shop, a blog, or any other sort of site and edit or update the content on your website, all without any knowledge of how to code. All you need is an internet connection and you can create a new news article or blog post, hey, I’m doing it right now! Several of the CMS platforms are free to use and you can install them on any website, provided your host plan provides you with everything you need.

What do I need to add a CMS to my site?

Adding a CMS to your site is straightforward, you can add a CMS to an existing site or if you are creating a site from scratch. There are a few things that you will need from your hosting plan in order to add the CMS, the following is a general guide:

  • Has PHP enabled
  • Allows for the creation of a database, either MySQL or MariaDB
  • Although not strictly a requirement a SSL certificate is highly recommended

The majority of modern web hosting plans will provide the first two items as standard, some hosting plans will charge extra for the SSL certificate. Several hosting providers now also provide once-click installation of some of the more popular CMS brands, though you may pay a premium on your monthly hosting costs for this.

How does it work?

Once the CMS is installed you will be able to access the dashboard via the internet, this is where all the action happens behind the scenes. From here you will be able to create new pages, blog posts or add products to your shop. The image below shows a typical dashboard layout for a WordPress website. The process is exactly the same as editing a text document, if you can type an email you can update your website!

A WordPress Dashboard

What is the catch?

So all this sounds great, I can run my own shop online and I don’t need to fork out cash to a web designer or a webmaster, how are these people still in a job? The problem with the majority of CMS is that they use a very restrictive set of layouts called themes. If you have a vision of exactly how you want your website to look then forget it, there are typically only a handful of themes you can choose from. A step up from that is to buy an off the shelf theme, this will give you a wider selection to choose from but once you have bought it you won’t be able to make any changes.

It might be that if you are only running a simple blog or basic information website then the standard free themes will provide you with everything you need, chances are though once you start expanding or trying to do more things with your website you will run into a restriction somewhere quite quickly.

How can No Lesser Panda Help?

If you want a website that looks distinctive and is laid out exactly the way you want it then I’m here to help. I can build custom themes for your website from scratch or I can tweak an existing theme to get it looking how you want it.

Want to find out more? You can get in touch at [email protected]

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