CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEMS (CMS)
Today there are many content management systems (CMS) available—from do-it-yourself installations to hosted software-as-a-service solutions. Amidst these solutions, some are opensource and some are closed-source.
The right choice balances considerations such as the functional needs of your website, the project budget, available in-house resources, your licensing perspective, and considerations for the future 'portability' of your website (allowing reassignment between hosts and/or developers).
Using a CMS will greatly increase your ability to respond to your customers needs, to market changes, and your own inspirations.
Some CMS are focussed on being an 'all-in-one' solution, while others are deliberately simple.
I can usually recommend a particular system once I have had a good discussion with you, and can weigh up the aforementioned considerations.
The most common systems I use are:
- Adobe Business Catalyst (an all-in-one software-as-a-service offering)
- WordPress (highly popular and OpenSource)
- BareBones CMS (my own deliberately simple offering)
While I also use other systems, these three tend to fulfil the needs of most of my clients.
During our briefing I can demonstrate the use of each of these CMS as appropriate.
Self-managing your website content
Not that long ago, the only way a website owner could professionally manage or update their content was to either learn the technical coding skills themselves, or by employing a designer/developer (usually at hourly rates) to do the work.
This situation was usually not a practical option for either party. Maintenance invariably took a long time for the designer/developer to get onto, and the costs to the owner were often high and repeated.
Both parties recognised the need for a website content management system (CMS). These CMS would allow website owners the freedom to manage the website content by themselves, without the need for highly technical training, or high dependence upon the designer/developer.
However, a common criticism of many CMS is that they are too complex for the average needs. Personally, in 2005 I still could not settle on a system that I felt comfortable promoting to my clients, so I set about making my own—the BareBones CMS—which aims to fulfil the most common authoring requirements of a small website.
The needs of each website are different, and I will demonstrate the different CMS as appropriate for you.