What Is a Content Management System?

By Indeed Editorial Team

Updated February 4, 2021 | Published October 7, 2019

Updated February 4, 2021

Published October 7, 2019

Your workplace may provide technological tools to manage your tasks efficiently. To work with a high volume of digital information, companies in the content creation industry may rely on a content management system, also known as a CMS. Using a CMS allows multiple users to collaborate from different locations to produce digital content. In this article, we will discuss what a CMS is, what it does and how it benefits businesses.

What is a content management system?

A CMS is a software program or system of programs that allows you to organize large amounts of digital content from an array of sources. Digital content in a CMS may include photos, written copy, video, audio, maps, program code and graphics for web-based publishing. A CMS usually has two main components:

  1. Content management application: The content management application (CMA) is a user interface that allows individuals to modify content for a web page. A CMA’s ease of use generally reduces the need for a webmaster or other specialists.

  2. Content delivery application: A content delivery application (CDA) applies the users’ changes to the web page.

Features of content management systems

The main goal of a content management system is to simplify the content production process and efficiently achieve organization goals. To be most effective, a CMS typically has the following features:

Search engine optimization

Search engines operate on algorithms that ensure web searches return the most relevant pages. To leverage search engine optimization (SEO), a CMS uses keywords, coding and meta descriptions so that a person searching the internet is more likely to find your organization’s page. An optimized page can also attract readers through their searches for images, videos or academic content.


It is important to know details about who visits your webpage, when they visit and for what reasons. This information enables you to target the right readers. With CMS analytics, you can find out your visitors’ demographic information, what technology they use, the peak times for web traffic and which content is most popular. With this information, your company can develop new content to increase traffic to your page.


You can use a content management system to process a large number of different publication types. One business may need a landing page and a few subpages, but another company might want a blog, a page for news items and a section for embedded documents. CMS’ can offer several usage options to suit the needs of your individual organization.


Depending on the size of your company, a CMS could have a large number of users, all with different roles. A CMS with a well-structured workflow will make sure the proper users complete tasks in the right order. Workflow also helps ensure accountability, since you need to complete your tasks so others can do theirs.

Assigning permissions

Because a CMS supports many different users, it’s important to assign tasks to the individuals most qualified for them. Permission levels within a CMS can include writers, editors, publishers and administrators. Each of these roles will have different levels of permission to work with content in a CMS. For example, writers typically are allowed only to create content, while administrators can write and remove content from a page, assign roles and access analytics.

Version control

With so many users working within a CMS, there is a chance that content may be modified, added or removed by mistake. In these cases, a CMS allows you to restore a previous version of your content or site. Version control is also useful because it permits you to create temporary content that you can remove without having to rebuild your original site.


In addition to keeping company information private, it is also important to protect customer data as well. This is especially necessary for companies that conduct financial transactions online. A CMS with strong security will help ensure the safety of individuals or groups involved with your company’s site.

IT support

Although a CMS will reduce the need for individuals with special coding training, there are still instances when you might need technical assistance. A CMS can usually provide IT support for tasks you may not be familiar with. For instance, if you have trouble embedding an image, IT support can provide the proper direction for using the insert image feature.

Benefits of content management systems

In addition to its operating features, a CMS will also provide these benefits:

  • Collaboration: Content management systems allow you to work together with other employees to build digital content. With some workplaces using in-office and remote employees, a central CMS permits users to participate interactively in content creation and management.

  • Ease of use: When companies first started creating digital content, publishing often required the use of a webmaster and highly trained coders. However, a CMS lets you work with content no matter your skill level.

  • Cost efficiency: With a CMS, you may be able to do your job more quickly and easily, which keeps costs down for your company.

  • Deadline management: A CMS allows you to monitor the status of current tasks, more effectively manage your workday and ensure you complete jobs on time.

Jobs that use content management systems

Here is a list of jobs that are likely to use a CMS:

1. Proofreader

National average salary: $18.90 per hour

Primary duties: Proofreaders check written content for spelling, word choice, formatting and grammatical errors. Individuals in this role log their notes in a CMS to be checked by copywriters, editors and managers.

2. Copy editor

National average salary: $19.74 per hour

Primary duties: Copy editors review content from copywriters to ensure factual, stylistic and grammatical accuracy. They also send revision requests back to the copywriter before approving them for publication.

3. Copywriter

National average salary: $21.18 per hour

Primary duties: Copywriters create content for print publications and digital platforms, including advertising content, blog posts or other web articles.

4. Content manager

National average salary: $55,027 per year

Primary duties: Content managers oversee the activities of copywriters, editors and proofreaders to ensure content quality. Individuals in this role might also work with marketing teams to come up with content strategies to help achieve the organization’s goals.

5. Web developer

National average salary: $72.155 per year

Primary duties: Web developers design and modify websites based on client specifications. They frequently use a CMS to obtain the content used on the organization’s website.

6. Journalist

National average salary: $35.22 per hour

Primary duties: Journalists research and write about current events for news publications.

The web-based content creation industry holds many opportunities. It may help you to familiarize yourself with content management systems to boost your qualifications during your job search.

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