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Your Website is a Living Thing: How Content Management Systems Make Dynamic Websites Possible

content management systems

If you frequent our blog, you know how we believe that content management systems like WordPress are fantastic tools for managing website content. But it wouldn’t be a surprise if some of you asked, “Is a Content Management System (CMS) really necessary for a website?” The short answer is yes, and always yes.

It all boils down to the content on your site and how frequently it gets updated. If you would never need to update your website once it’s launched, the site could forego using a CMS altogether. Your website would simply exist as a collection of code files in folders. However, it would be a hassle whenever you needed to change something on your site as it would require updating code. Not only do we discourage this option, we don’t even offer it! This is because the limitations of such a system (or lack thereof) and the hassle of updating content would make a poor experience for your professional website development team and your business team.

Think of your website as a living thing: it grows, adapts, and changes with your business. Your team is responsible for updating its content, whether changing address information or publishing a blog post. Unless your business is fixed with the same services/products, same contact information, same policies and pages forever, you’ll likely have to make at least one update to your website after it’s launched.

Content management systems are the solution. Instead of asking a developer to update your website content, you can update it through the CMS. The CMS does the hard work of updating the website code for you.

A content management system’s greatest strength is its ability to handle dynamic content. But what is dynamic content? To better understand this term, we first need to explain the two different types of content.

#1: Static Content

Static content is precisely what it sounds like: content that doesn’t change. Static content is the content you imagine for websites: the text on the homepage, contact details, policy information, etc. The “static” in static content is attributed more to its delivery rather than the content itself. Static content means that the content is always displayed on the page as-is. The part of the page that contains it doesn’t change, nor does the content itself change much. The delivery of the content from the backend (where the content is managed) to the frontend (the part of the site where it’s displayed) is straightforward. Add text to a page and the page displays the text. Your website developer will make portions of the website centered around static content, and it will largely remain the same from development to launch to post-launch.

#2: Dynamic Content

The websites that consist mainly of dynamic content include blogs, online stores, news sites, social media platforms, and forums. These sites’ posts, products, and articles are considered dynamic content.

Just like with static content, the “dynamic” in dynamic content refers more to the delivery of the content. Dynamic content is still very much made by a person, but how it’s viewed is what’s generated by the website. Unlike static content, delivering dynamic content from the backend to the frontend isn’t so direct.

Where static pages with fixed content are manually created, dynamic pages for changing content are not. Trust us when we say nobody creates every single product page for an online store by hand! Websites with dynamic content typically have templates that are used for such content. Templates give the structure and design of a page and a place for the content, but the content inside the templates is never fixed. The content inside depends on what’s being requested to be viewed.

An eCommerce site will have a template for its product page, product collection page, cart page, and other related shop pages. A blog will have templates for its blog post page, archive page, search results page, etc. These templated pages will have their content generated by the website code to display the content that a viewer requests, whether a particular product or blog post. This type of website requires specific code to ensure the appropriate content is displayed in the right places. Because blogs and online shops need to update their content frequently for new posts or products, it would be a better experience for developers and users if a system could manage the content.

Enter content management systems like WordPress.

Content Management Systems: WordPress and its History

WordPress, the most widely used CMS, didn’t start as a CMS. It began as a platform to create and publish blog sites. Blogs need management systems since they require specific features to browse posts and update content frequently. Dynamic blog features include:

  • Blog post pages
  • Blog post listings, usually sorted chronologically
  • Date, author, category, and tag archives
  • Search feature
  • Comments

Such intricate features would require much technical knowledge and code to be written from scratch. A platform with those features could leave the blogging part of blogs to its users. WordPress does precisely that, and for free! Over time, WordPress gradually gained new features to become the full-blown content management system we know and use today.

WordPress isn’t the first or last blogging publisher or content management system. It’s simply a popular one due to its open-source, free-to-use nature and how easy it is to set up and manage a site with their system.

Many sites, even ones that primarily contain static content, use WordPress for its ease of use and fast setup. Because WordPress was initially created to make it easy to manage dynamic content, updating even static content is a breeze. This is why using a CMS is beneficial and precisely why all our sites are built on these systems.

Do you have a terrible time trying to update your website? It might be time for a change! Contact us to get started on your dynamic site today.

    Angeline Manabat
    Web Developer

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