What is a Content Management System?

Content Strategy Development WordPress
Zackariya Lan

Understand What a CMS is and How to Choose the Right One

A Content Management System, or CMS, is a computer application that allows website administrators to manage, edit, and publish digital content (text, files, images, etc.) to a website without having to know much web programming skills. With a CMS, you can create any type of website – from a personal blog to a business website. The flexibility of a content management system allows you to build a website of any kind.

Types of Content Management Systems

You can choose between two main CMS platform types: Open source and proprietary. Both offer unique benefits, but just because a proprietary CMS works for one company does not mean that another company wouldn’t benefit from an open-source CMS. Here is a basic overview of each CMS type:

Open Source CMS

Open-source software has opened the door for free high-performance options, like Squarespace or Wix, that are constantly updated and very reliable. An open-source CMS offers a platform that is affordable and fairly customizable to most business needs. These CMS options feature source code that is constantly updated by a large community of developers, allowing for easy updates for websites.

Proprietary CMS

A proprietary CMS is developed by a company and features source code that is controlled and maintained in-house. The developing company charges for the usage of the source code, which usually only allows access to it to those who pay for a license. Typically, this type of CMS offers specific flexibility to meet complex needs that businesses might have and can be very user-friendly.

How Do You Choose a CMS?

Many content management systems are available, each with different features and benefits, such as WordPress, Joomla!, and Drupal. Depending on your needs, budget, and technical knowledge, you can find a CMS that suits your basic needs. Here are a few questions to answer before choosing a CMS:

  • What are your goals?
    With different CMS types come varying CMS abilities. To determine the best CMS solution for your needs, you can narrow the choices down by figuring out what you need the CMS to do. Are you planning on using the website to solely publish content? Do you need an e-commerce solution to sell products? By defining your goals, you’ll have an easier time choosing the right CMS that has the right functionality for you and your business.
  • Are there specific features you need in the CMS?
    What CMS features do you currently need? Will you add features in the future as your business grows? CMS features vary and include, but are not limited to, access for multiple users, navigation and link management, permission controls, search engine optimization, previews, plugins, data storage, etc.
  • What is your technical expertise?
    While there are some user-friendly content management systems that provide tools for easy updates, other content management systems are a bit more complex. By determining your technical expertise, you’ll be able to choose the right CMS that suit your abilities, helping you efficiently use your time and produce optimal productivity for your business.

Our Favorite CMSs


The one CMS that won our favor, due to its extensive frameworks and plugins, is WordPress. We recommend WordPress because we are able to develop and customize responsive templates and author custom modules to solve the specific needs and goals of diverse clients.


GearBox, our proprietary CMS, makes managing your web presence easy – no need for technical expertise. GearBox was specifically developed to be a customizable solution that fits your needs with scale and flexibility.

Learn more about Gearbox’s list of features.

Do You Need Help?

We have experience with a variety of CMS solutions, including building our own flagship CMS, Gearbox. If you’re ready to take the next step in your website redesign process, we can help. Contact us today at 253-272-2248 or message us at hello@sitecrafting.com!