For some customers, maintaining their content is not a priority or they simply don’t want to learn. No problems, at Flashburn Design we maintain web content for many customers by simply publishing articles, images, products or services for them, but for those who wish to do it themselves it becomes a whole lot easier with the use of a Content Management System (CMS). The customer becomes empowered with the skills they need to maintain their own site.
Unlike a traditional website which is usually a structured collection of static (HTML) pages, a CMS is an organised collection of articles sorted in categories. These articles and other content are stored in a database. As a user views the website, pages are generated dynamically. The content can be displayed in a whole range of formats using what are called Cascading Style Sheets to maintain a consistent set of fonts and colours. Generally, articles are categorized into common groups such as News or Promotions and displayed on your site in the order they were produced. You can set the start and end dates for your articles to be published which is great if you are having a special for a month. Even if you are too busy or forget to remove the article, it will automatically 'unpublish' itself on the date you specify.
There are many other features and advantages of using a CMS. Like the ability to specify different users, each with different passwords and different levels of access. Create parts of your site which can only be viewed by registered clients who have to log in first. Upload images to your site directly from your web browser. And because the administration of your site is entirely web based, you can administer your site from any location in the world.
So what Content Management Systems are available?
There are many Content Management Systems available, some cost thousands of dollars and some are free. Your requirements will ultimately determine which solution is right for you but for the small to medium sized websites perhaps one of the best solutions is the Open Source Joomla! CMS. As Open Source software Joomla! is essentially free software developed by the very people that use it. The benefit of being Open Source means that there are many add-on components and modules which can be plugged in to your site depending on what you need. From image galleries and scrolling news feeds to event calendars and advertising banners. There is a large online community of people and forums to call on if you need assistance and the system is undergoing active and constant development and improvement.
Flashburn Design recommends Joomla! for:
• Small Businesses who need a cost effective web solution that they can manage.
• Larger organisations who need to allocate different levels of access to staff.
• Non-profit organizations, community groups and schools.
• Online businesses who need an integrated ecommerce system.
So, if it's so easy then why would I need a web developer?
Managing a CMS is very easy. Setting one up on a web server and customising it to suit your requirements is somewhat more difficult and requires a web designer with knowledge of HTML, CSS and PHP to build a system for you. Often, to get a specific look or functionality which is not available out-of-the-box, means editing the core program files. The good news is once it’s complete you won’t need the web designer any more! The management of the site will be in your hands.
To find out more or if you would like to discuss setting up a CMS for your business please contact Flashburn Design.
Andrew Jackman is the Managing Director of Flashburn Design, a web development, marketing and web hosting company based in Melbourne, Australia, specialising n Content Management Systems and e-commerce websites.