Content Management System (CMS) Interview Preparation Guide
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CMS Interview Questions and Answers will guide us now that a Content Management System (CMS) is a collection of procedures used to manage work flow in a collaborative environment. These procedures can be manual or computer-based. Learn Content Management System this brief and comprehensive Content Management System Interview Questions with Answers guide

30 CMS Questions and Answers:

1 :: What is a content management system?

Well, funny you should ask. A CMS is a web application you run on your web server to help facilitate creating a website. A good CMS should be flexible, unobtrusive and help you to make a great site. It should provide you with tools to help the layman keep track of content, while letting more experienced webmasters handle look and feel. It should also provide tools to make repetitive things less repetitive. Like, for example, News entries.

2 :: What is the purpose of Content Management System (CMS)?

► Allow for a large number of people to contribute to and share stored data
► Control access to data, based on user roles. User roles define what information each user can view or edit
► Aid in easy storage and retrieval of data
► Reduce repetitive duplicate input
► Improve the ease of report writing
► Improve communication between users

3 :: What are the benefits of CMS?

Many people using existing CMSs just assume that this is how all sites are updated. But without one, the above example would involve manually changing several existing pages (the homepage and archives), and creating a new page from scratch for the story itself. Then if you wanted any other page to link to the release – such as a list of latest stories in the sidebar of pages – you’d have to change all those manually as well.

A CMS drastically speeds up these cumbersome steps, and decentralises the site updating process, freeing up the technical people (assuming you have any) to do other work. And it means the people who know the content are the ones who can update the website.

4 :: I am sold, how much will it cost?

How long is a piece of string? You can get a CMS for nothing, or spend up to several hundred thousand euros. It really depends how complex your site is, and what you need it do. What’s often overlooked are other essential costs: training, customisation, and ongoing support.

5 :: But the expensive ones are better, right?

Not necessarily. The sales staff of the large enterprise content management vendors might be slicker, and their list of features longer, but to our minds the 80/20 rule applies to CMS very strongly: most people will only use the the most basic features most of the time.

A CMS that does the washing up and doubles on sax might appeal to the IT department looking for a single solution to keep the marketing department off their backs, but if it confuses people and never works well, it’s not worth the money.

A simple (and free) system like Wordpress or Drupal might well be all you need, even for a relatively complex site. And affordable paid solutions like ExpressionEngine, MovableType or CityDesk offer even more functionality and flexibility without what could be huge amounts of unnecessary expense.

6 :: Are not many of those products blogging tools?

Your boss is unlikely to be happy if your corporate site starts talking about Tom Cruise’s love life or the latest Mac gossip, but from a technical standpoint a blog is little more than a website that’s updated often, almost always with a CMS.

So the functionality of a product like Wordpress could well be exactly what you need (including added features like RSS feeds). The press release example above would be meat and drink to any blogging software, and you can completely customise the design to make your site look nothing like a blog.

7 :: So how do I decide CMS?

Requirements gathering is crucial, to make sure you buy on what you need, not on the shiny features that look good in the demonstration.

Another important factor is how easy the system is to use – most likely, the people you’d like to update the site won’t be that technically comfortable, so the best solution is one that has solid usability.

8 :: Once I have settled on a CMS, that s all my content problems solved then?

Er, no. That is the biggest myth of CMSs. Most of the time, the real issues in content creation are around people and processes, not the technology. You need to manage your content creation like any other project – with a clear workflow and timetable, and enough people—with the right skills—to handle what you need to create. The CMS will help you get the content on to the site, but the much more difficult challenge is creating it. And computers don’t write very well.

9 :: Do CMSs produce standards-compliant pages? Or accessible ones?

This can be a real problem. As you saw with Laurence’s article on WYSIWYG editors last month, the standard of the code produced by text editors can be patchy at best. CMSs then drop that material into templates that control the layout of the rest of the page (navigation, header, footer), and often these templates are also suspect.

However, there’s no reason that many CMSs can’t produce clean pages. Wordpress, for example, is exemplary in this, but the real issue is often an awareness of standards-compliant and accessible coding in the people setting up the CMS, rather than any inherent limitation of the tool itself. That said, do make sure to do due diligence on the quality of output before going too far in a purchasing decision.

10 :: But once all thats squared away, I can let my staff loose on the system?

Almost invariably, no. As we saw above, the usability of CMSs varies widely, with the majority weighing in at the frustrating end of the scale. If you want people to use a CMS, you have to make sure they’re trained properly, and that it’s as simple to use as possible. And this consideration is even more critical if you’re hoping to involve staff who are not tech-savvy at all (which we see a lot).