What are Content Management Tools?

Content management tools, also known as content management systems, are tools that allow non-web designers to easily manage the content of a website. They effectively separate the design, interface, and content of a website so that all three parts of the site can be handled differently and by different people. Usually they have simple interfaces for content updaters, so that even those with no real web experience can update the core of their website.

Blog tools are a well-known set of content management tools, designed for a specific structure of website. Pre-built templates handle the design side of things, and can be manually edited by those with coding experience. But those without can simply log into the blog interface and input new posts in special fields. Usually fields exist for things like titles, as well, and simple point-and-click buttons let users make text bold or italic, or insert hyperlinks or images and other media. This means that almost anyone can set up and manage their own blog, without having to have any specialized knowledge.

Many large-scale enterprise sites have custom content management tools built just for their websites. They are built around their specific structure, and often have interfaces for different personnel to log into. Certain accounts might just be able to update a blog side, for example, while other accounts might be built to add or remove products from an online store, and still others might have access to updating a news feed. In this way, different departments of the company can all update their own sections, without having to liaison with the web design team first. This can be very liberating for business sites, and allows them to have content updated much more frequently than it might otherwise be, giving the site a more dynamic feel.

Designers can find content management tools useful as well, especially for large sites with many designers working on the site. If the designers are spread around the world, with each working on different portions of the site, it can be difficult to keep the look and feel consistent throughout as changes are made. Content management tools are useful because they can limit things like the palettes of colors that designers can work with, so that they are all working with the same colors, or automatically fill in font choices and change them site-wide when they change, or have a repository of common images.

There are hundreds of different sets of pre-designed content management tools available, built to run on different structures. For example, there are many that run on PHP, with two of the most popular being the Drupal and Joomla systems, with Drupal being a slightly more complicated, but more robust, solution, and Joomla being suitable even for relative beginners of content management tools. The blog system Movable Type is one of the most well-known content management tools, and runs on Perl, and the Typo tool set runs on the popular Ruby on Rails. Some proprietary structures include Site Foundry for PHP, DotNetNuke for ASP.NET, and SharePoint Serve for .NET.