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Defining Your Tech Stack: What is a CMS?

Ben Owen

By Ben Owen | Sep 12, 2022

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We all know an excellent website when we see one. It usually features compelling pictures and videos with plenty of white space, minimal text, smooth animations, and an intuitive navigation system. A well-designed, easy-to-navigate website draws consumers in no matter what industry the organization is in or what its products are. This is especially true if, beyond having a great design, the website’s content is also compelling. A good blog, strong client testimonials, beautiful case studies or portfolios, or straightforward eCommerce capabilities keep us engaged.

Building and maintaining a great website and its content can be extremely difficult and time-consuming, especially for those without coding and back-end web development skills. In cases like this, a Content Management System (CMS) can be a very valuable tool. CMSs allow people without high-level technical skills to design, maintain, and manage the content on a website and leverage tools like metadata, SEO, and more to connect with consumers.

What is a CMS?

A content management system, in the simplest terms, is software that allows a user to design and manage a website and its content without having to use coding languages like CSS and HTML. CMSs do this in two ways. First, they often provide design templates and tools that enable users to easily edit and design content without having to reference the code behind them. Users can easily and quickly make sweeping changes to fonts and colors across all web pages, build design templates for blog pages, and more.

Second, CMSs store all the content, whether it's images, videos, downloadable content, or blog copy, so it can be easily and quickly found and edited. For example, if your organization rebrands and you need to change the logo on your navigation bar, it’s as simple as uploading the new logo to the CMS and swapping it for the logo already in place. You don’t need to dig through layers of code and reformat the logo yourself.

How do CMSs and DAM Systems Connect?

The second function (storage) of a CMS is its core connection to your organization’s digital asset management (DAM) system. With the sheer amount of content that lives on even the most basic of websites today, as well as that content’s prominence on the website, managing it effectively, efficiently, and in a uniform and standardized way is extremely important.

Depending on what CMS and DAM platform your organization uses, it's possible that the two systems can integrate directly. This allows you to populate your CMS with the same digital assets that live in your DAM system, including the same metadata, file names, permissions, and more. This lets your team pull assets that live in your DAM system directly so you can be assured that the right versions and formats are always used on your website and that they are consistently on brand.

If direct integration between your CMS and DAM platform isn't available, you can make it easier for the two systems to interact by building your standards and processes for the DAM program with the CMS in mind. For example, there may be specific pieces of metadata that need to be captured to enable the CMS to work properly. Make certain that as many of your standards and processes for managing content in the DAM system are translatable to the CMS as possible.


If you or your organization need help developing standards and processes for your DAM program that are easy to use in your CMS, integrating the two systems, or understanding how a digital asset management program can unlock the potential of your whole tech stack, contact Stacks today! By focusing first on DAM, we help organizations utilize their content more efficiently across the business.

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