Benefits and disadvantages of web content management systems

Benefits and disadvantages of web content management systems

5 minute read

Benefits and disadvantages of web content management systems

5 minute read

Benefits and disadvantages of web content management systems

Afoma Umesi

GatherContent Contributor, Writer
More and more people are creating, managing, and publishing content than ever before. According to Statista, the global content management software application market hit $43.5 billion (USD) in 2020. And it’s projected to pass $44 billion by 2023.

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Web content management represents only a fraction of those earnings. But with millions of blogs on the internet, that number is growing. As a result, many content managers are looking for ways to create, edit, publish, and update content more efficiently.

However, the big question is: are web content management systems sufficient for every content production phase? Or is there a better, more seamless way to create content on the web?

First, let’s consider some common system types within the broader realm of content management. Then, we’ll cover the purpose, pros, and cons of web content management systems specifically, and what their future looks like. Not to mention how they help you execute the content-specific aspects of your digital marketing strategy from end to end.

5 types of content management systems

Any content creator will tell you that there are several types of content. Similarly, there's a variety of content management systems.

Here are some types of content management systems you use in your personal and work life:

Web Content Management System (WCMS)

WCMSs help users create, edit, publish, and update web page content without needing web development skills or markup languages.

Without them, we’d all need to be proficient HTML users to write and publish website content. (I couldn't do that. Could you?) These systems allow us to create front-end content easily while they handle the back-end code.

Popular WCMS providers include WordPress.com, Joomla, and Drupal.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) System

Digital asset management systems enable users to upload, store, organize, and share digital assets. Companies use them to store logos, videos, audio files, presentations, documents, and even digital content for sale.

These DAM systems allow for regular updating, backup, and syncing across the organization. Admin users can also set permissions, grant, deny, or revoke access to their assets over time.

Examples of DAM systems are Aprimo and Adobe Experience Manager Assets.

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) System

Enterprise content management is a company-wide management solution. Organization and distribution of assets and content are at the core of this system type.

Technically, DAM is a type of ECM. An organization’s ECM is how it manages all content, from product data and inventory to digital assets and documents.

Popular examples of enterprise content management systems include Microsoft and IBM.

Component Content Management (CCM) System

This form of content management is among the more complex systems. A CCM system manages content at the word, phrase, and paragraph level instead of recording pages and pages of content.

CCM systems use extensible markup language (XML), which is a bit like HTML, to manage content.

One common CCM system is DITA CCMS by IXIASOFT.

Document Management System (DMS)

Document management systems store digital paperwork and other files in the cloud. (You can also store images and videos here. But these platforms tend to manage smaller files such as documents better.)

Many of us use a DMS like Google Drive or Sharepoint every day.

What is the purpose of web content management?

Content management, especially at organizational levels, makes life easier for everyone involved in production and distribution. But do web content management systems achieve the same feat?

Most do not. Web content management and related systems should ideally provide an efficient system for:

  • Planning web content: Content management systems should include or allow for the integration of an editorial calendar.
  • Creating content for the web: Using an established style guide, especially for written content, allows for consistent website content quality. A good CMS should provide a platform that hosts both the style guide and the content draft for ease.
  • Editing or collaborating on content: Many CMS platforms only allow one editor at a time; simultaneous edits are impossible. You shouldn’t have to keep popping in and out of a post to allow another user to edit.
  • Publishing content: At this stage, most content creators finish up SEO tasks and schedule or publish.
  • Updating or refreshing published content: This last step keeps content fresh and maintains optimization for search engines and readers.

Now think, how many web CMS platforms allow for all of the above processes? It’s tough to come up with any names, which brings us to some of the downsides of using CMS platforms.

Disadvantages of using a WCMS

Where do many web content management systems fall short? There are a handful of areas.

1. Most CMS platforms aren’t for content management

When most of the top CMS platforms barely include half the functions above, it’s time to face a harsh truth. Most CMS platforms aren’t actually for content management. They’re designed for publishing content.

Content managers typically create content plans and take inventory with a tool like Google Sheets. They write content and edit on Google Docs. They organize images in Google Drive. And, finally, they copy and paste to the CMS where they’ll only schedule or publish.

2. Adoption isn’t always easy

Many CMS platforms also have a bit of a learning curve. New users sometimes need training in managing plugins, loading content, and publishing. Some members may even need basic HTML knowledge to configure extra functionality.

3. Some systems introduce challenges and limitations

One great thing about “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) systems like WordPress is the wide range of available plugins. Even though they extend functionality, plugins have their downsides too.

"Discerning customers will find themselves making compromises because ‘that’s just the way this particular plugin works.’ Others might choose to build or customize their own. But, at that stage, you’re inheriting other limitations of the platform itself.

If you wish to customize heavily, you might as well start with a custom platform."
Cameron Lang
Managing Director, TBA Digital

And there can also be difficulties with scaling.

"A WCMS can be barebones, so it’s user-friendly but complicated to extend if your needs grow. Or flexible in terms of functionality but complex, leading to bloat, slow speeds, and confusion if not implemented and optimized properly."
Louise Findlay
Web Developer and Technical Writer, Spyrath Dev

Plus, some web content management systems:

  • Can be costly depending on the themes, add-ons, and plugin subscriptions you want
  • Require ongoing updates to keep your site from breaking or becoming an easy target for hackers
  • Are so templated that it’s challenging to set your brand presence apart from other companies or organizations

But there are significant benefits to using a robust CMS that intentionally limits these issues.

Advantages of using a WCMS

What are some of the pros to balance out the cons above?

1. A WCMS can boost efficiency

Speed and ease of use are among the top benefits that come to mind. A good CMS makes getting your site up and running—even with a few customizations—easy. It simplifies the process of publishing and updating content according to your editorial guidelines. And that’s not all. Louise, mentioned earlier, added:

"A WCMS separates content from code and more easily allows collaboration and version control. Revisions can get messy if using a version control tool such as Git, which is very powerful but designed for software development rather than writing."
Louise Findlay
Web Developer and Technical Writer, Spyrath Dev

A platform that makes it simple to manage content solo and collaborate with others is a huge asset.

Good to Know: GatherContent features templates, content workflows, embedded guidelines, and more to boost your efficiency.

2. You can control permissions

Not everyone needs visibility into your CMS. And, even out of the people that do, not all need unrestricted access. For example, the latter could be true of internal subject matter experts whose forte isn’t writing. You may want them to review and comment on a piece of content for accuracy but restrict them from directly making changes.

Most web content management systems allow you to adjust a person’s access. You can identify them as writers, contributors, commenters, editors, or administrators.

3. There’s a reduced margin for error

WCM systems are a safety net, especially from a search engine optimization standpoint. Cameron explained why:

"The various optimizations and tags required to keep technical SEO factors in check are often overlooked when code is manually published. They need to be consistent and meticulously maintained. This is one thing that (well implemented) CMSs excel at."
Cameron Lang
Managing Director, TBA Digital

As you can see, there are good reasons to use a WCMS, provided that it’s actually for content management.

Learn More: Get the free content strategy guide for more insights on creating and managing content effectively and sustainably.

What does the future of web content management look like?

Web content management tools should do what their name says: manage content creation from start to finish. Not just handle publishing.

Thankfully, more content management platforms are stepping up to make content management less of a juggling act. GatherContent is at the top of the list. Here’s how GatherContent simplifies web content management:

  • All-in-one content hub: GatherContent takes you from planning to publishing without having to switch platforms! Talk about seamless.
  • Real-time collaboration: Assign projects, edit, and leave comments on projects, even as your teammates work on them. You can also set due dates and create content workflows, so everyone knows their role in the content creation process.
GatherContent For Content Collaboration
Collaboration is easy (and enjoyable) on GatherContent
  • CMS integration: Done writing and tweaking? GatherContent is a headless CMS that integrates using API with popular CMS platforms like WordPress and Drupal. It also supports automation using integrations with tools like Zapier, making it easy to ship content.
  • User-friendly design: If you’re used to Google Docs like most content managers are, GatherContent’s user interface will feel especially intuitive.
GatherContent User Interface
GatherContent's user interface is similar to Google Docs –no new training necessary!
  • Built-in style guides: Include your style guide and even add checklists for writers to follow as they create content.
  • Article templates: Set up templates using drag-and-drop functionality, so no one has to bother formatting their article every time they need to write.
GatherContent Content Templates
Create as many content templates as you need

Using the right WCM system can revolutionize the way you create and manage content, making you faster and more productive. But how can you identify the right one? Checking out an in-depth comparison of GatherContent vs. other WCM systems can help you decide.

Good to Know: Ready for a content management system that actually manages your content? Start your GatherContent free trial today. (Your team will thank you.)

Web content management represents only a fraction of those earnings. But with millions of blogs on the internet, that number is growing. As a result, many content managers are looking for ways to create, edit, publish, and update content more efficiently.

However, the big question is: are web content management systems sufficient for every content production phase? Or is there a better, more seamless way to create content on the web?

First, let’s consider some common system types within the broader realm of content management. Then, we’ll cover the purpose, pros, and cons of web content management systems specifically, and what their future looks like. Not to mention how they help you execute the content-specific aspects of your digital marketing strategy from end to end.

5 types of content management systems

Any content creator will tell you that there are several types of content. Similarly, there's a variety of content management systems.

Here are some types of content management systems you use in your personal and work life:

Web Content Management System (WCMS)

WCMSs help users create, edit, publish, and update web page content without needing web development skills or markup languages.

Without them, we’d all need to be proficient HTML users to write and publish website content. (I couldn't do that. Could you?) These systems allow us to create front-end content easily while they handle the back-end code.

Popular WCMS providers include WordPress.com, Joomla, and Drupal.

Digital Asset Management (DAM) System

Digital asset management systems enable users to upload, store, organize, and share digital assets. Companies use them to store logos, videos, audio files, presentations, documents, and even digital content for sale.

These DAM systems allow for regular updating, backup, and syncing across the organization. Admin users can also set permissions, grant, deny, or revoke access to their assets over time.

Examples of DAM systems are Aprimo and Adobe Experience Manager Assets.

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) System

Enterprise content management is a company-wide management solution. Organization and distribution of assets and content are at the core of this system type.

Technically, DAM is a type of ECM. An organization’s ECM is how it manages all content, from product data and inventory to digital assets and documents.

Popular examples of enterprise content management systems include Microsoft and IBM.

Component Content Management (CCM) System

This form of content management is among the more complex systems. A CCM system manages content at the word, phrase, and paragraph level instead of recording pages and pages of content.

CCM systems use extensible markup language (XML), which is a bit like HTML, to manage content.

One common CCM system is DITA CCMS by IXIASOFT.

Document Management System (DMS)

Document management systems store digital paperwork and other files in the cloud. (You can also store images and videos here. But these platforms tend to manage smaller files such as documents better.)

Many of us use a DMS like Google Drive or Sharepoint every day.

What is the purpose of web content management?

Content management, especially at organizational levels, makes life easier for everyone involved in production and distribution. But do web content management systems achieve the same feat?

Most do not. Web content management and related systems should ideally provide an efficient system for:

  • Planning web content: Content management systems should include or allow for the integration of an editorial calendar.
  • Creating content for the web: Using an established style guide, especially for written content, allows for consistent website content quality. A good CMS should provide a platform that hosts both the style guide and the content draft for ease.
  • Editing or collaborating on content: Many CMS platforms only allow one editor at a time; simultaneous edits are impossible. You shouldn’t have to keep popping in and out of a post to allow another user to edit.
  • Publishing content: At this stage, most content creators finish up SEO tasks and schedule or publish.
  • Updating or refreshing published content: This last step keeps content fresh and maintains optimization for search engines and readers.

Now think, how many web CMS platforms allow for all of the above processes? It’s tough to come up with any names, which brings us to some of the downsides of using CMS platforms.

Disadvantages of using a WCMS

Where do many web content management systems fall short? There are a handful of areas.

1. Most CMS platforms aren’t for content management

When most of the top CMS platforms barely include half the functions above, it’s time to face a harsh truth. Most CMS platforms aren’t actually for content management. They’re designed for publishing content.

Content managers typically create content plans and take inventory with a tool like Google Sheets. They write content and edit on Google Docs. They organize images in Google Drive. And, finally, they copy and paste to the CMS where they’ll only schedule or publish.

2. Adoption isn’t always easy

Many CMS platforms also have a bit of a learning curve. New users sometimes need training in managing plugins, loading content, and publishing. Some members may even need basic HTML knowledge to configure extra functionality.

3. Some systems introduce challenges and limitations

One great thing about “what you see is what you get” (WYSIWYG) systems like WordPress is the wide range of available plugins. Even though they extend functionality, plugins have their downsides too.

"Discerning customers will find themselves making compromises because ‘that’s just the way this particular plugin works.’ Others might choose to build or customize their own. But, at that stage, you’re inheriting other limitations of the platform itself.

If you wish to customize heavily, you might as well start with a custom platform."
Cameron Lang
Managing Director, TBA Digital

And there can also be difficulties with scaling.

"A WCMS can be barebones, so it’s user-friendly but complicated to extend if your needs grow. Or flexible in terms of functionality but complex, leading to bloat, slow speeds, and confusion if not implemented and optimized properly."
Louise Findlay
Web Developer and Technical Writer, Spyrath Dev

Plus, some web content management systems:

  • Can be costly depending on the themes, add-ons, and plugin subscriptions you want
  • Require ongoing updates to keep your site from breaking or becoming an easy target for hackers
  • Are so templated that it’s challenging to set your brand presence apart from other companies or organizations

But there are significant benefits to using a robust CMS that intentionally limits these issues.

Advantages of using a WCMS

What are some of the pros to balance out the cons above?

1. A WCMS can boost efficiency

Speed and ease of use are among the top benefits that come to mind. A good CMS makes getting your site up and running—even with a few customizations—easy. It simplifies the process of publishing and updating content according to your editorial guidelines. And that’s not all. Louise, mentioned earlier, added:

"A WCMS separates content from code and more easily allows collaboration and version control. Revisions can get messy if using a version control tool such as Git, which is very powerful but designed for software development rather than writing."
Louise Findlay
Web Developer and Technical Writer, Spyrath Dev

A platform that makes it simple to manage content solo and collaborate with others is a huge asset.

Good to Know: GatherContent features templates, content workflows, embedded guidelines, and more to boost your efficiency.

2. You can control permissions

Not everyone needs visibility into your CMS. And, even out of the people that do, not all need unrestricted access. For example, the latter could be true of internal subject matter experts whose forte isn’t writing. You may want them to review and comment on a piece of content for accuracy but restrict them from directly making changes.

Most web content management systems allow you to adjust a person’s access. You can identify them as writers, contributors, commenters, editors, or administrators.

3. There’s a reduced margin for error

WCM systems are a safety net, especially from a search engine optimization standpoint. Cameron explained why:

"The various optimizations and tags required to keep technical SEO factors in check are often overlooked when code is manually published. They need to be consistent and meticulously maintained. This is one thing that (well implemented) CMSs excel at."
Cameron Lang
Managing Director, TBA Digital

As you can see, there are good reasons to use a WCMS, provided that it’s actually for content management.

Learn More: Get the free content strategy guide for more insights on creating and managing content effectively and sustainably.

What does the future of web content management look like?

Web content management tools should do what their name says: manage content creation from start to finish. Not just handle publishing.

Thankfully, more content management platforms are stepping up to make content management less of a juggling act. GatherContent is at the top of the list. Here’s how GatherContent simplifies web content management:

  • All-in-one content hub: GatherContent takes you from planning to publishing without having to switch platforms! Talk about seamless.
  • Real-time collaboration: Assign projects, edit, and leave comments on projects, even as your teammates work on them. You can also set due dates and create content workflows, so everyone knows their role in the content creation process.
GatherContent For Content Collaboration
Collaboration is easy (and enjoyable) on GatherContent
  • CMS integration: Done writing and tweaking? GatherContent is a headless CMS that integrates using API with popular CMS platforms like WordPress and Drupal. It also supports automation using integrations with tools like Zapier, making it easy to ship content.
  • User-friendly design: If you’re used to Google Docs like most content managers are, GatherContent’s user interface will feel especially intuitive.
GatherContent User Interface
GatherContent's user interface is similar to Google Docs –no new training necessary!
  • Built-in style guides: Include your style guide and even add checklists for writers to follow as they create content.
  • Article templates: Set up templates using drag-and-drop functionality, so no one has to bother formatting their article every time they need to write.
GatherContent Content Templates
Create as many content templates as you need

Using the right WCM system can revolutionize the way you create and manage content, making you faster and more productive. But how can you identify the right one? Checking out an in-depth comparison of GatherContent vs. other WCM systems can help you decide.

Good to Know: Ready for a content management system that actually manages your content? Start your GatherContent free trial today. (Your team will thank you.)

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