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WTF is a CMS?


Whether you're directly involved in handling marketing or not, the chances are you'll hear these acronyms frisbeeing around your workspaces on the regular. You'll notice it cropping up amongst the business-marketing communications.

If you're not a CMS whizz, or your specialism is far from the land of web development, then it can get a bit confusing.

And while you don't need to be fluent in code to understand the gist of CMS, it's pretty useful to know how it works.

Here's a clear guide to what it all means.

What is a CMS?

CMS stands for Content Management System. It does exactly what it says on the tin. It manages your content and handles your website’s functionality.

However, it’s not quite as simple as three letters. A CMS is quite a complex web of moving parts that all contribute to your website.

The chances are (if you've outsourced your marketing,) there’s a team of experts handling your CMS for you. However, it's still worth going over the basics of CMS so that you can harness its power to optimise your content and scrub up on your knowledge all-round.

What are the features of a CMS? 

A CMS should essentially have all the features you need to build a website. 

Normally, a web developer would take care of the coding intricacies of CMS and its inner wiring functionalities.

WordPress is the most popular CMS, but some easier CMSs are designed to be as user-friendly as possible. Think Squarespace. 

A CMS contains all the fundamentals for directing content towards your lead. It will fundamentally consist of...

  • Content toolkits
  • Publishing tools
  • Themes and templates
  • Analytics
  • SEO
  • Security features
  • Extensions

Although different CMS software will differ in their functionality, each one will contain these fundamentals. Choosing which one depends on your business, budget, and your marketing plan.

Content toolkits

Your website is like a theatre - it will have on-stage and off-stage departments which contribute towards the performance. The CMS will have a back end: dedicated to the nuts and bolts of the website, how it works and how everything links together. 

The front end is more concerned with how the pages look from the exterior. 

It is the template for your whole website, compartmentalised into on-stage and off-stage. 

Publishing tools

A good CMS will have a WYSIWYG. No, we didn’t headbutt the keyboard. WYSIWYG editors (What You See Is What You Get,) are an easy way to edit and refine content on the front end. All of your writing and editing tools are right there in front of you, which allows you to republish errors or make changes immediately. 

Update company information with a couple of clicks, change the price, edit a typo, add an FAQ that keeps cropping up.

Themes and templates

Themes and templates provide the look and feel of your website.

It’s not only designing the User Experience (UX design), but it’s how your website will come across through the screen on the receiving end.

SEO tools 

Your CMS will have in-built SEO features. That means you can add metadata to your web pages (essentially, you’ll be able to tell Google what each page of your website is, so that it can match your customer's search queries).


Built-in analytics tracks user behaviour and provides insights into content performance. This section will give you reports of web traffic, user engagement, and other relevant metrics.

In most cases (but depending on which software you've subscribed to,) your CMS and CRM will cross over - meaning your analytics data will be transferrable to your customer management.

Security features

The internet can be a bit of a scare maze if you're not protected properly. Customer data needs to be kept safe, and you'll want any transaction details to be tightly locked.

CMS platforms include security measures to protect against vulnerabilities and unauthorised access. This may involve features like user authentication, SSL encryption, regular software updates, and security plugins.


CMSs support extensions or integrations with third-party services and tools. This allows users to extend the functionality of their CMS with features like e-commerce, social media integration, email marketing, and more.

CMS feature

What it does

How this helps your content marketing

Content toolkits

Front-end and back-end content management allow you to change your content.

Manage your workflow in two sections:
1) Back-end content management 2) Front-end publishing tools
Gives a clear overview of content

Publishing tools

Editors which allow you to make changes to your live content in a few clicks.

Allows you to update content quickly (e.g. change a typo, company updates, seasonal promotions).

Themes and templates

The look, feel, and layout of your site.

Makes your content look polished and on-brand.

SEO tools

Add keywords and metadata (search tags) to your website.

Ranks your website on Google, so that your customers can find you.


Tracks customer interactions with your site.

Allows you to gauge how customers are engaging with your content.


Keeps your website safe, secure and legal.

Protects your customers and your business.


Allows you to 'plug-in' other marketing platforms (e.g. social media feeds).

Creates a marketing multi-platform which allows customers to switch between contact points.

What’s the difference between CRM and CMS?

CMS isn’t to be confused with CRM. Both are integral to your marketing strategy, but they do different things.

Where CMS is concerned with content, a CRM is Customer Relationship Management. 

CRM is all about nurturing relationships. A CRM will track all your customer engagements with your website. It records everything your customer does on your site and flags any patterns that emerge in customer behaviour.

It goes far beyond just analytics - it segregates all the data for you. This information is gold dust: It's the closest you'll ever get to watching your customer interact with your digital marketplace.

Both a CRM and CMS should interlink and overlap with one another. The results of the CRM should inform the CMS, and vice versa.

Exhibit A: HubSpot CMS

HubSpot has its own CMS hub, which fits into your HubSpot CRM better than Cinderella's glass slipper.

It's an all-in-one sales, website, and marketing solution. It's everything we like to see in a CMS; it's flexible, and it has a user-friendly interface for marketers.

CMSs are infamous for being complicated. While they're not always the simplest thing in the world, HubSpot's CMS is powerful for both developers and marketers. Ultimately, it provides your customers with a smooth and optimised experience with your website. Winners all round.

We know a thing or two about CMS...

As you're here, it's a good time to tell you that we've got some resident CMS experts among us at Method.

Method is a well-rounded bunch of marketing and creative gurus, and we know a thing or two about CMS.

Not only do we understand the inner wiring of CMS, but we can help tailor it to your business. So, if you're looking to renew your current site, or perhaps you'd like a chat to further discuss what on earth we're talking about - don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

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