The old method of doing business included opening up a physical store front that would have a valuable chunk of space taken up by bulky filing cabinets storing thousands of important business-related documents.

Today we’re in an increasingly digital world where many businesses are primarily represented by an online presence that includes relaying hundreds if not thousands of digital files in the form of text documents or multimedia files. In a digital business environment it becomes crucial to have an efficient content management system that allows your small business to collect, manage and publish your business information.

Content Management System Benefits for Small Businesses

Content management systems (CMS) are designed for internal/external website management that cater to a range of business needs from workflow production to document management. While a plethora of businesses benefit from CMS, from educational to scientific-based businesses, the bottom line is how seamlessly CMS allows businesses to have an online presence in the first place.

Content management systems far excel their competitor HTML systems because they are cheaper and user-friendly. A small business with limited disposable funds can easily afford a functional CMS website as opposed to more expensive HTML-based versions. These systems are also highly user-friendly, allowing small business owners to be in direct control of their website and affiliated documents, without having to give up money and control to a web specialist. Additionally, CMS also allows for direct access to thousands of documents, which lets small businesses be more efficient in business-to-business and business-to-customer relationships by no longer having to search through physical files for important documents. This ability to respond quickly to your core clientele sets a successful small business apart from those who succumb to first year failures typical of many small businesses.

Top CMS Software for Small Businesses

The top three small business CMS software include Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. Most small business owners are familiar with these names but may not be aware of what their functions and benefits are. These three CMS software types are used across the board by many smart small businesses who know that investing tens of thousands of dollars into a website isn’t the smartest move for a small and still growing business.

Regardless of your business needs, whether you simply need an online face or would like to host thousands of documents at your fingertips, these top-rated CMS systems are easily adaptable and grow with you. Continued versatility, cost effectiveness, easy use and great control are what have turned these once-budding CMS systems into industry giants.

ExpressionEngine Leads the Way in Smart CMS Software

But there’s a world of content management system software beyond Drupal, Joomla and WordPress. Winner of the 2011 TopTenReviews Gold Award, ExpressionEngine is a competitive CMS software that allows web publishing, has a powerful template engine with 22 add-ons and over 100 plugins. It also has member management, spam deterrents, a well-developed communications platform, data caching, security features and an invaluable tracking feature that justifies its just under $300 price mark.

Regardless of what system you choose to use, there’s still a level of education that comes into play. Small business owners need to take a step back and evaluate each system and weigh it against their needs before deciding which CMS software they should invest their time and money in. Even though some of these systems are free, it would greatly benefit small businesses to invest a conservative amount in contracting a designer to create a “skin” or website “face” for their CMS. At the very least, allow a designer to give your final CMS a polished look that makes potential customers and vendors want to do business with you.