Content Management Systems
If you maintain a website, a content management system (CMS) can make it easier to add or update information, whether it has 10 pages or 10,000 pages. Read on to learn what a content management system can do for you, and which CMS is right for your site…
What is a Content Management System?
A content management system is a program that helps you to manage the pages that make up your website. A CMS program will help you to create, edit, publish, update and archive your website's content. Good CMS programs also will help you to layout your website so that it is more functional and easier to use for your visitors. If you make frequent updates to your website, then a content management system could make your life a lot easier.
The AskBobRankin site uses a CMS called Movable Type (MT), which makes it very easy to add new articles, tag them with categories, and allow for user comments. When I want to add an article page, I call up a web page where I can enter the headline, choose a category, and then input the text of the article.
One click later, MT pours my words into a template, publishes the article on my site (with a search engine-friendly URL), adds a link to that page on the AskBobRankin home page, and updates the related category pages. It also automatically inserts links to related articles, adds the entry to my RSS feed, and pings a couple blog search search engines so they'll know that new content is available for indexing. When comments are entered by readers, MT prompts me to approve them, and then appends them to the article. It even creates new comment pages when the number of comments exceeds ten on a page.
All of that happens like magic, allowing me to focus on content, and taking the manual drudgery out of maintaining a website.
Content Management Systems for Non-Techies
If you are a non-technical person, if you are a web novice or if you have a smaller website to manage, then there are several basic CMS programs that you can either download for free or buy for a reasonable price. These programs are generally easy to use and come with free tutorials and templates. Some of the programs you may want to consider for your site's management are listed below:
- Joomla is a free and open source CMS that has been developed to be user friendly, even for non-programmers. It's good for corporate and small business websites, non-profit organizations, schools and churches, even online magazines and newspapers. Newer releases allow programmers and web designers to use a layout feature, to create their own templates. Joomla aims to help non-technical users add or edit content, update images, and requires only basic word processing skills to operate.
- Drupal is another free CMS programs that you can download. This program works great for bloggers, corporate sites and community sites. It is relatively easy to use, and there are a lot of great tutorials and templates already posted online to help you navigate through this program. Drupal is developed by a large community of online users and developers.
- Immediacy is another easy to use CMS, aimed primarily at businesses with medium to large websites. This program is easy to use and can be managed by people with limited technical capabilities. If you don't like the templates provided by this CMS, you do have the option of creating your own. Immediacy has a broad UK customer base, and an active user community.
Content Management Systems for Techies
If you are technically savvy then you have the skills to turn just about any CMS into something functional for your website. However, there are some programs that are more web developer friendly than others. These programs include: Mambo, Movable Type and Word Press.
- Mambo is a great CMS that is easy to use. Most functions can be accessed through a central menu bar. Templates and the main platform can be downloaded from the Mambo website, however, if you are a web developer you have the option of creating your own templates.
- Movable Type 4.0 seems to be the CMS of choice for techies. It features customizable templates, many built-in text processing functions and a WYSIWYG editor that lets you position text, photos, and other media types. The Pro version offers professionally designed web site templates and advanced customization features. As I mentioned earlier, I use MT 4.0 to manage this website.
- Word Press is another very popular CMS, especially amongst bloggers. It comes in both a basic free version and a more advanced pay to use version. The free version is very easy to use and more suitable for non-techies. The pay to use version allows you to alter the domain name, customize your CSS, provides you with more storage and offers you unlimited private blogs. You will need technical skills to create unique templates in this program and to integrate it seamlessly into your website's overall design.
If you're interested in any of these content management systems, go to their website and read about each program's features, costs and support. After completing your research you will be in a much better position to select a CMS that is right for your technical capabilities and your website. Do you have a favorite CMS? Post a comment below and tell us why you like it...
This article was posted by Bob Rankin on 18 Mar 2008
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Article information: AskBobRankin -- Content Management Systems (Posted: 18 Mar 2008)
Copyright © 2005 - Bob Rankin - All Rights Reserved