For those of you who don’t know by now, a Content Management System (CMS) is simply a web-based platform which allows what would otherwise be end-users of the web design and development industry to manage the content published on their blogs or websites. Social media platforms can also be categorised under the CMS umbrella, because at the end of the day what you are indeed doing is managing your content via a Content Management System, albeit it’s an integrated one.
Exploring the advent and evolution of CMSs makes for some interesting reading, especially from the point of view of those publishers and even developers who now use the likes of WordPress, having previously operated as hard-coding web designers and developers.
Many people at the end-user level might point to the likes of Google’s Blogger as the genesis of Content Management Systems as we know them today, but it goes a bit further back than that. The earliest forms of CMSs are those which were custom built by some web design and development agencies whose clients specifically asked them to do so, so that they don’t have to keep going back to them and paying for so-called website updates.
For this point of view it’s understandable as to why some end-users of CMSs don’t fully appreciate their power, since they don’t really understand what goes into the making of a website the original, hard-coded way.
Let’s make no mistake about the fact that Google played a major role in ushering in the era of Content Management Systems, with their introduction of Blogger (.blogspot) blogs. The Blogger platform almost immediately demonstrated the limitations of the earliest forms of CMSs though, with users basically only having a choice from a limited selection of templates offering very little customisation.
At best, the customisation was offered through the colour schemes and the actual content published on the blog.
WordPress running away with the market
At some point in time WordPress seems to have grabbed a bold of the CMS market and it has since run away with it. Not too long ago, numbers around the 25% mark were being thrown around in reference to the percentage of website which make use of the WordPress CMS platform.
Spare a thought for those purist web designers and developers who get called up by clients who specifically request a specific WordPress theme for the design of their website!
One thing WordPress got right was opening the development spheres up to the world’s talent-pool of developers, which has led to some of the best-looking templates which are now leading the way in shaping design standards. WordPress appears to have beaten the likes of Joomla and Drupal, among many others, to the punch, firmly establishing itself as the go-to CMS platform. Plug-ins have gotten so advanced that you can pretty much run something like an entire e-commerce website on a CMS that is powered by WordPress, something which would have otherwise cost thousands of pounds if it was developed for you by a web design and development agency.