In today's post I wanted to explain a bit about what a content management system (CMS) is and highlight some reasons why your website should be run on one.
A content management system is a web platform that a website can be built on that allows the owner of the website to make changes and updates to their website relatively easy. I say "relatively" because some can be very easy while others can be a bit more tricky.
Over the years there has been an ever increasing shift to content management systems of all sorts and capabilities. And for many a good reason.
But, how do you know if your site should be run on a CMS?
Well, if you have a static website that hasn't been updated in months (God forbid, years), or maybe you don't know how to access your website content, or (as in many cases) you can't get a hold of your web developer...then a CMS shouldn't be an option, it's a must.
In fact, I believe there are 5 very good reasons that you should seriously consider migrating, or moving your website over to a content management system.
While my favorite CMS, hands down, is WordPress, there are dozens of content management systems to choose from.
Some are good to use for small sites with just a few pages and not a lot of customization or functionality.
Others, like WordPress and Drupal, are perfect for blogging and websites for small to medium-sized businesses.
And there are still others, like Magento, that are extremely robust that can handle websites for even the largest enterprises.
So, really then, there is no business or website too big or too small to be built on a CMS. It's very likely that you'll find one that is a perfect fit for you.
In most cases, updating your website on a content management system can be as simple as updating a Microsoft Word document or sending an email.
Most people know how to do that, so I usually feel really confident when I'm explaining to a client how to update their site after we've set it up on a CMS.
Content management system "dashboards" are usually designed in a way for even the most novice of users to be able to update their site quickly and easily.
Because there a literally millions of websites that run on content management systems and millions of users, there is usually a lot of support and tutorials that are available to anyone through Google or any other search engine.
So if you forget how to update your site and you're too embarrassed to call your web developer for the 20th time that day...then help is usually only a search, click away.
But, once you feel comfortable updating your site, you might even consider it to be fun.
You'll be able to change up the text on your website, change and add photos, change and add videos, and even keep any "news" or "portfolio" items up to date.
The availability and popularity of content management systems adds a measure of standardization to the web.
What this means is that the framework is pretty much the same and it allows for designers and developers to customize or create other functionalities built upon the same structure.
For example, if you gave ten children a box of legos and told them to build whatever they could imagine, you'd probably end up with ten different creations or designs. But, although the end results looked different, each child had to work within the constraints of what legos were designed to do.
Similarly, designers and developers can create templates, themes, and be able to completely customize the look of your website while at the same time maintaining the integrity of the content management system.
Many CMS's even have large communities of people that offer their pre-made and pre-designed themes and templates for a price and some even for free.
There truly is a look and feel for everyone.
I'm going to have to get on my soapbox for just a second here and explain why I chose to put down Search Engine Optimization as one of my 5 reasons.
As I mentioned before, I am a big WordPress fan. And I have to say that the developers over at WordPress have done, and continue to do, a fantastic job when it comes to creating a platform that the search engines love.
In most cases, the websites created on WordPress are coded in a very search engine friendly way which makes it very simple for search engines to crawl them and index them in their directories.
And since my focus when creating a website for a client is to get their website found by the search engines and found by people, then I make sure that I am using a platform that gives my client the best opportunity to achieve those goals.
While I highly recommend WordPress there are, of course, many other content management system that are just as good.
Plugins, widgets, and extensions are usually small programs, scripts, or code that extend, or add to, the functionality of a website.
You can almost get sense of euphoria when you think of all of the plugins, widgets, and extensions that can be added to a content management system so that it can do exactly what you want it to do.
In other words, out of the box, a CMS can do some great things. But when you start adding more functionality to it...then the possibilities are endless.
Most content management systems have scores and scores of plugins available that can do some pretty cool things like adding a Facebook Like Box to your site, add a Twitter feed to a sidebar, add analytics programs so you can track how many visitors you get, and so on, and so on.
And if you can't find a plugin for what you want. Then you can hire someone to build one for you or (if you're tech savvy) you can code one yourself.
I absolutely love plugins. I like to think of them as neat little accessories that pretty-up my sites.
You already know how I feel about content management systems. But, of course, that's just my opinion.
What do you think? Do you think it's better for a client to have such quick access to their own content? Or do you think that's something that should only be left to the web developer?
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