Website content management system or WCMS is a software system, which assists in website authoring and collaboration while providing users with various administration tools. These administrative tools are particularly helpful for website developers who do not possess specialist knowledge of programming languages. They facilitate easy creation and management of content on a website. Therefore, WCMS is basically a website maintenance tool for non-technical workers. It enables them to modify a webpage with little or no training.
A good WCMS provides basis for collaboration, therefore enabling users to manage documents for multiple author editing. Metadata, page content and other information assets are stored in a content repository or a database while a presentation layer is used for displaying the website content to visitors. To enhance performance, server side caching is used by most systems. This is workable where the WCMS is not modified frequently but visits frequently happen. Although some systems may require “fat client” for administration, browser-based interfaces are typically used. A typical WCMS may consist of the following features:
Automated Templates – It creates output templates that can be applied to web content, thus changing their appearance from a single central location.
Access Control – Website content management systems support the division of users into various groups. This allows privileges and restrictions to be enacted for different users e.g. access to a particular page may be restricted to a user group.
Scalable Expansion – Modern WCMS provide this feature which enables to expand a single implementation across several domains. Therefore, WCMS websites can create micro-sites and web portals within the main website.
Easy Editing – If content is isolated from the visual presentation of a website, it is easier to edit. For non-technical users to create and modify content, WCMS software includes WYSIWYG tools.
Feature Sets – Most website content management system software includes plug-ins and modules to enhance a website’s functionality.
Upgrades – Most systems are able to receive frequent updates to keep the WCMS up to date.
Collaboration – It allows content retrieval so that several users can work on it simultaneously.
Document Management – It enables collaborative management throughout the lifecycle of a document.
Content Visualization – WCMS software may enable each user to work with a virtual copy of the entire website, document set or a code base. Thus changes to several interdependent resources can be viewed and executed before submission.
Multilingual – There is usually the capability of displaying content is several different languages.
Versioning – Most WCMS software allow “versioning” so that pages can be checked in or out of the system. This assists editors in retrieving earlier versions and proceeding working from a particular point. Versioning is helpful where content changes over time and needs updating.
Workflow Management – This feature enables an editor to edit and the chief editor to approve content prior to publishing.
Content syndication – Website content management system often helps in distributing the content by generating RSS and Atom data feeds to other systems. As part of the workflow process, they also email users informing about the availability of a particular update.