Why WordPress is Actually 4 Different Content Management Systems in One

Content is the star of your website, backed by a supporting cast of design elements and tools for making your content strategy available across the Internet. Quality content is an invaluable asset for building a company’s brand and bringing in business. A good content management system, or CMS, provides the tools for a seamless content creation workflow. Depending on the kind of content they create, website developers can choose among a variety of content management systems – but WordPress is actually four different content management systems in one, with features to support all the types of content your website might need.

With all the different types of content management systems out there, what makes WordPress stand out? Let’s dive in.

How Does a Content Management System Work?

Content is an umbrella term for the various kinds of informational elements that populate a website – documents, images, video, and audio, or a combination of these. These different content assets work in various ways to express the website’s message, and they’re supported by a framework of structural elements designed to display and deliver them on demand to users around the globe.

A content management system has all the tools in place to create a smooth workflow for developing and delivering content of various kinds, and these are generally designed for supporting a particular kind of content, such as the documents and text-based posts of a blog site, or the audio content of a podcast.  Some systems are intended to support not only the creation of content itself but to manage a complex production consisting of multiple writers and editors, such as in a magazine or news site.

Types of Content Management Systems

Content management systems can be classified in a number of ways according to their main functions, but generally, they fall into four broad categories:

Document Management Systems

Document management systems are designed to support content based on documents and text elements. This kind of content is at the core of websites such as personal and professional blogs, informational sites on topics such as healthcare or travel information, and professional websites intended to establish authority in a particular field. Document management systems can also support content such as a writer’s portfolio of samples, or text-based landing and sales pages.

Media Management Systems

Media management systems typically provide the tools needed to manage graphic content such as photographs, illustrations, and design assets of various kinds. Created with static images in mind, these kinds of systems include a variety of functions for editing and presenting images online. Applications for these kinds of systems include a photography-rich travel blog, an online storefront, an artist’s gallery or a designer’s portfolio.

Digital Asset Management Systems

Digital asset management systems can include media such as photographs or illustration, but this kind of CMS is generally intended to support the delivery of digital content such as video or audio files, or a combination of both, to users who access the content either online or as a download.  Digital asset management systems typically include functions for playing, editing and delivering digital content such as online courses, podcasts, music files, or instructional videos.

Web Content Management Systems

Websites with multiple users working on its content may require a different kind of content management system – one that supports not only the development of all the content the site requires but also the workflow of the people involved in creating that content. Web content management systems typically include tools for managing multiple content creators, supporting collaboration, and allowing for different levels of editing and publishing control. This kind of system might be right for magazine-type sites, or news sites with numerous reporters and contributors.

WordPress Is All Four CMS Types at Once

WordPress is the world’s most popular site builder, powering over one-third of the world’s websites. But this free and open source platform is also a powerful content management system that’s capable of providing the tools and functions of all four basic CMS types, thanks to its virtually limitless combinations of themes and plugins that add mix and match functionality to sites of all kinds.

The WordPress blogging platform consists of its source code, a flexible framework for supporting the essential components of a website, plus an array of themes that can be overlaid on that source code for different appearances and layouts. The third core component of WordPress is its system of plugins, which are small code sets that add specific kinds of functions to meet the specialized needs of individual sites. These three elements constitute all the building blocks and compelling reasons needed to put into place a content management system tailored to managing all types of content.

WordPress Supports Documents and Text

WordPress was originally designed for bloggers as a way to enable anyone to publish content online, and those text management tools still form the center of the WordPress platform.  Every basic WordPress install comes with a robust text editor, with all the features needed to produce posts and pages for the site, plus support for sharing documents such as PDF files. With many free themes designed just for blogging and plugins for adding sophisticated editing and formatting functions, WordPress sites easily manage document-based content.

WordPress is Made for Media

Every WordPress install comes with a media gallery capable of holding a variety of image and even video files for adding to any post or page. Built-in tools allow WordPress users to edit images in a variety of ways, and users can install a variety of image-based themes and WordPress plugins for adding functions such as online storefronts, slideshows, galleries, and layouts for displaying photographs and other graphic elements.

WordPress Supports Digital Assets

The basic WordPress media library supports digital assets such as video, and a variety of plugins add extra functionality for showcasing video and audio content. Free and premium WordPress website themes allow users to set functions such as subscriptions to digital content, adding audio and video-based content with the text editor, and running a podcast or video channel on the site.

WordPress Encourages Collaboration

Because WordPress can include so many different functions, it’s also effective as a general content management system for publications with multiple users on different levels.  The basic WordPress install supports an editorial calendar with scheduling of posts and tracks draft versions of all blog posts and pages for easy editing.  WordPress plugins also add functions for creating magazine formats and adding social networking, chat, and collaboration functionality to support multiple contributors to the site.

Quality content is a website’s key asset – a way to deliver value to others and make a brand stand out from the crowd.  A content management system has all the tools you need to create, store, and present your site’s best content to the world. Whatever content you create, WordPress has the tools to support it – a comprehensive content system that may be the only one you need.

Overall, there are many different types of content management systems available, but WordPress goes above and beyond. Incorporating aspects of other types of content management systems is what makes WordPress stand out from the crowd. If you have any more questions about WordPress or WordPress hosting, please visit Bluehost.com for more information!

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Desiree Johnson
Desiree Johnson | Content Specialist
Desiree Johnson is a Content Specialist at Bluehost where she writes helpful guides and articles, teaches webinars and assists with other marketing and WordPress community work.

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