5 Main Types of CMS and Benefits of Each (+ Additional CMS Types)

Over 73 million websites use content management systems (CMS).

Content management systems are software solutions that enable users to create, organize, deliver and modify different types of content (blog posts, press releases, videos, eBooks etc.) on a live website. They are quite intuitive and don’t require technical expertise to operate, which makes them a prevalent website platform solution.

In this article, we will look at the five main types of CMS and discuss the advantages of each. We will also touch upon four additional CMS types often used by online businesses.

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1. Component Content Management Systems (CCMS)

Component Content Management System (CCMS) is different from a regular CMS because it organizes content at the granular level. Specifically, instead of handling material page-by-page, it collects words, phrases, paragraphs, or images ("components") and keeps them in a single storage.

Components are only kept once to maximize content reuse. The CCMS is a constant source for information distribution across numerous devices, including mobile, PDF, and print.

Component Content Management Systems examples: Xyleme, Paligo, Documentum.

CCMS benefits:

  • Reusability: Using a CCMS to reuse content saves writing, editing, and publication time. It also lowers translation expenses.
  • Single Sourcing: CCMS allows content distribution to numerous channels, such as print, mobile, web, chatbots and more.
  • Traceability: With a CCMS, you can track who made changes in content and when & where they happened.
  • Improved Team Collaboration: CCMS enhances workflow for your content production team, particularly remote workers.

2. Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECM)

Enterprise Content Management (ECM) is a CMS system that enables businesses to create, manage, and distribute numerous forms of content. It also guarantees that information and documents are sent to the most qualified audience: an employee, executive, business partner or customer, depending on your objectives.

Employees can easily retrieve the stored content needed to fulfill their daily duties with ECM. Also, an ECM system deletes files automatically after the retention term to free up superfluous occupied space.

Enterprise Content Management examples: DocuShare, Zoho Docs and eFileCabinet.

ECM benefits:

  • Adaptability: ECM allows you to store content in any file format or file type and handle it automatically.
  • Better Efficiency: The system takes care of document management automatically. As a result, users can concentrate on creating content for increased productivity.
  • Budget-Friendly: Enterprise Content Management saves money by storing only the necessary data while deleting the rest.

3. Web Content Management Systems (WCMS)

With Web Content Management systems, users can manage digital components of a website without prior knowledge of markup languages or web programming.

A WCMS facilitates digital content and website management by providing collaboration, authoring, and administration tools. Unlike most other CMSs that handle both print and web content, a WCMS just handles online content.

Web Content Management System examples: Hubspot, WordPress, Webflow, and Duda.

WCMS benefits:

  • Automation: By publishing information automatically, a WCMS saves time and enhances workflow management.
  • Personalization: WCMS allows users to personalize a webpage's style and content.
  • Scalability: A scalable system such as a WCMS allows businesses to develop and grow without worrying about exceeding their website constraints.

4. Digital Asset Management Systems (DAM)

A Digital Asset Management system (DAM) allows you to produce, manage, store, organize and distribute digital assets. A cloud-based DAM is a centralized library that allows an employee, client or contractor to access content conveniently from any location.

DAM was initially only used to store media data such as images, movies and audio recordings. These systems now support various formats, including logos, fonts, papers, and more.

Digital Asset Management systems examples: MediaValet, Brainfolder and Bynder.

DAM benefits:

  • Second-Party Publishing: DAM systems enable the publishing of content to third-party distribution systems, portals, social media channels, and much more.
  • The First Centralized Library: DAMS saves content in a centralized repository, allowing various users to access it easily.
  • Brand Administration: Users may easily manage content and brand portals by employing DAMS functionalities.

5. Document Management Systems (DMS)

A document management system (DMS) is a cloud-based solution for managing, storing, and tracking documents that make paper-based file tracking obsolete. It offers an automated solution for uploading, processing, and distributing business documents, eliminating the need for printing, copying, or scanning.

Document Management Systems examples: Google Workspace, Dropbox, OneDrive, and iCloud.

DMS benefits:

  • Eco-Friendly: Saves paper and reduces paper waste.
  • Safety: A DMS provides multiple levels of security to ensure that confidential content remains in the hands of authorized users.
  • Mobility and remote work: A document management system allows you to access and update documents from anywhere.

4 Additional Types of CMS

Besides the aforementioned five content management systems that are usable in offline and online realms, other CM systems are widely used – predominantly on the web.

Open-Source CMS

Open-Source CMS software is available for free download. There is no need for a license, contracts, updates, or paying fees to use it. If you choose an open-source CMS for your business, you may need to make the following financial investments:

  • Required technical support during setup and installation
  • Add-ons, plugins, and templates that are compatible with your website architecture
  • Software upgrades and support that are provided regularly
  • Customization to fulfill your requirements that go beyond the CMS's standard offerings

Some of the most popular open-source CMS platforms are:

  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • Magento

Proprietary CMS

Any organization can develop and manage its own commercial proprietary CMS software. If you are considering using this type of CMS software, you should be prepared for the following:

  • Acquiring a license
  • Paying for monthly or yearly updates and support
  • Investing in continuing technical training and customer service
  • Extra costs such as upgrades and personalization

Popular CMS solutions include:

  • Kentico
  • Pulse CMS
  • Shopify
  • Sitecore
  • Microsoft SharePoint
  • Shopify

Cloud CMS

There are two kinds of cloud-based content management systems. Fully Cloud is available as a service or package, and with it, you cannot change its functionalities to suit your specific needs.

Partial Cloud, hosted at the user’s cloud-based server, has more flexibility because its functionalities may be quickly adjusted through changes to the source code or add-on modules.

This content management system is suitable for small to medium-sized businesses that can function effectively with technical expertise and continuing support.

Headless CMS

Compared to traditional CMS, Headless CMS allows users to reduce delivery time through faster iterations.

A headless CMS enables you to modify content and databases without having to integrate the front end. Once developed, the material can be spread via smartphones, smart devices, IoT devices, tablets, websites and other platforms and channels.

Headless CMS benefits include:

  • Flexibility: You can create your presentation layer with Headless CMS. Due to the lack of a predefined code structure, it allows for infinite integrations and content reusability. It also allows you to use any development language and APIs. As a result, headless CMS is entirely adaptable.
  • Cost-Effectiveness: Headless CMS is one of the most cost-effective systems because it requires minor changes to add new features. As a result, the initial investment is significantly decreased.
  • Marketing and selling across multiple channels: Headless CMS can deliver a consistent client experience across different touchpoints. It enables you to produce content and distribute it across many channels.
  • Future-proof: Using a headless CMS prepares you for the future of marketing. The display layer is kept distinct from the data and logic layers to adapt to any new and trending technology. There is also no need to make technical changes when renaming channels.
  • Improved Software Architecture: Headless CMS's architecture is separate from the backend and the published content. As a result, security and workflow management is improved. If a CMS application goes down, it does not affect web apps.
  • Resource Conservation and Utilization: Organizations do not need a large team of CMS specialists when dealing with headless CMS, which significantly reduces resources and costs.
  • Security: Safety is a crucial consideration when deciding on a headless CMS. It has multi-layered cybersecurity that safeguards the organization's valuable data and is a vital alley when looking at how to secure a website.

Takeaways on Types of CMS

Different content management system types are fit for other purposes, business sizes and objectives. They all come with distinct advantages, so knowing your long-term goals is very helpful when deciding which type of content management system to adopt.

The five main types of CMS are:

  • Component Content Management Systems (CCMS)
  • Enterprise Content Management Systems (ECM)
  • Web Content Management Systems (WCMS)
  • Digital Asset Management Systems (DAM)
  • Document Management Systems (DMS)

The four additional types, very commonly used by online businesses are

  • Open-Source CMS
  • Proprietary CMS
  • Cloud CMS
  • Headless CMS
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