Monday, June 18, 2007

Build a website: Easy to Install & Manage

What is a Content Management System?

Well, its a system which enables those who aren't web developers, programmers or HTML savvy people to create web pages and alter/add content easily to a site. The application is used to create, modify, archive and remove content from/to the web. Basically its great for those who are experts in their “field” and not experts at “web stuff” to utilize in order to create professional looking sites and update them as they wish!

A CMS is great when a site has multiple people working/contributing to the site, bloggers & guest bloggers or simply would like to have a simple method which allows staff/interns to publish/edit information to the site without having to worry about any technical issues other than the article itself.

So what should you look for in a content management system?

1. User friendly interface
2. Centralized place to edit content
3. Ability to create components easily and repeatedly
4. Is it Customizable? (always great for future reference)
5. Does it have an RSS feed option? (key for readers to easily subscribe)
6. Are templates “Search Engine Friendly”
7. Blogging software included
8. Are there modules/widgets available for you to include on your site?
9. Database management
10. Is it for personal, business or community websites?

Keep in mind that if the CMS you choose should saving you a significant amount of time, effort and money, if it seems overwhelming perhaps its not the “right” one for your company/site needs.

Popular content management systems to check out:

Joomla: Open Source Application used to create websites. Free, huge support community and is satisfactory when creating personal/business websites. Joomla also has a number of different modules to include in your sites: calendars, directory services, email newsletters, form builders, blogging software, music box, data collection & reporting tools, backup and restore extension and much much more! (Platform: PHP Supported Databases:MySQL)

Drupal:Open Source Application used to create websites & Blogs; one of the winners of the 2007 Publishing "Webware 100" awards! Offers a number of unique modules (bias towards community-orientated functionality),discussion capabilities, search engine friendly templates, and translations! With over 20 different communities, Planet Drupal and Drupal talk support is always easy to come by. (Platform:PHP Supported Databases:MySQL/PostgreSQL)

Mambo: Another popular CMS system (Platform: PHP Supported Databases:MySQL)

Wordpress: Blogging software by nature but can be customized into fitting your CMS needs! Keep in mind that you would have to be able to customize the themes & templates; as well as make use of the wordpress plugins: Google Sitemap Generator, Akismet, Comment subscription and tons more! None of which is difficult to use or understand! Very user friendly and had an awesome community support group.

Keep in mind that all content management systems have their pros and cons, in many cases they will require a reasonable amount of hacking to get it just right…so making sure you choose the system that seems to be best suited is key. For the most part CMS publish: simple & complex pages, allow for layout and presentations to be manipulated fairly easily, provide dynamic information by utilizing your databases, linking between pages, blogs and online manuals/tutorials and of course any widget you feel would help your “audience” absorb your site.
If your not sure what type of "platform" your site useds? Simply ask your web host, its a common question so don't worry about "sounding silly".

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