content management system

How do you manage your institution’s website? Can you make changes on your own, or do you need to contact your designer/developer? How many people in your organization have the capability to make changes?

You may be using software like Dreamweaver if you’re manually editing HTML files to make changes to your website. Then you need to use a separate program to upload your revised files to the server.  It can be very time consuming – especially if this is the responsibility of just one person.

It’s time to think about using a content management system (CMS).  This computer program lets you create and change the text and other media on your website from just one location.  A CMS has plenty of advantages!

1.  What You See Is What You Get

With a WYSIWYG interface, making changes to a page on your website is as easy as revising a Word document.  Drop in photos and videos with ease.  When your changes are ready, just hit the “Publish” button and you’re done!

2.  Design Is Separate From Content

A CMS keeps your site’s design (the colors, fonts and graphic “look and feel”) separate from its content.  Adding content and pages won’t affect the look of your site.  You won’t have to worry about “breaking” your HTML, either. And with a click of the button, you’ll save time, too!

3.  Controlling Your Website

With a CMS, you can grant access to multiple users and give them different levels of control. For example, one person may have access to changing the Calendar of Events, but you can limit their access to other areas of your website.  This not only ensures the integrity of your design, you can also spread updating responsibilities among others.

4.  Updates and Security

Most CMS programs are open source.  That means members of a community donate their time and resources to create a product. CMS programs are not only constantly updated with new features and capabilities, they are monitored for potential security issues.

5.  They Are FREE!

This is probably the best reason to use a CMS.  Even updates are free. That alone makes a CMS a great choice for your institution.

With all these benefits – ease, cost and control – you’ll have time to create more content for your website’s visitors.

To get started using a CMS for your organization, check out this blog post that compares 12 free content management systems.  Or check out this 4-minute YouTube video that explains how content management systems work.

Image credit: raywoo / 123RF Stock Photo

Susan M. Steele is a digital marketing strategist who focuses her consulting practice on nonprofits.  She has 15 years of nonprofit experience, including 7 years at The Henry Ford.  Susan has extensive experience in communications strategies, writing and editing, and branding – as well as digital media expertise in email newsletters, web site development and social media.  Visit her web site at  for more information.