Australian Web Sites

Why do I need a CMS for my website?

Why do I need a website?

That is no longer a question that needs to be answered.
Everyone, from the Corporate CEO to the typical business entrepreneur is aware of the importance of having a web presence.

The question that needs to be answered these days is Why do I need a Content Management System (CMS) for my website?

So, you want to get a website built for your business.

You have found a web design company that you are pleased with, and you are anxious to see the results of their work. If everything goes smooth, you will go through the following steps:

Get the design proposals;

Chose the one that you like best and fits your business like a glove (of course, you should be able to ask for modifications on the selected one);

Have the design turned into a real website

Launch the website and tell everyone about it.

Everything sounds perfect, just the way you planned it. But, at some point, you will need to make ongoing changes to your website. These can vary from very small ones (changing the phone number, directions to your office, adding new pieces of information), to more complicated ones - adding new pages, new products, replacing some old ones, news, articles, etc.
You might still like the design, it is just the text that you need changed.

Most website owners are typical business entrepreneurs who don't have the time and energy to chase down their web design company for some minor updates that can cost a small fortune.

This is exactly the purpose of a Content Management System ( CMS ): to allow you, the website owner, to make all the content modifications that you need.

Definition:

A Content Management System (CMS) is a software program [application] used to manage the content of a website. A CMS allows the content manager or author of the website, who may not know HTML the programming language used for the web, to create, modify, remove and organize the information and pictures on their website.

In other words:

It offers you a simple, non-technical way of updating your content.

It is done via a password protected web-based interface, so you don't need any FTP software.

It has a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get.) integrated into your website that works much like Microsoft Word does. Just type the new words, hit save and your website is updated.

It applies the same page layout and appearance across the website's pages.

Menus and other navigation are also automatically produced.

It gives you the opportunity to concentrate on the content, and not on technology. All the technical details are simply handled by the CMS, allowing anyone to manage and update the site.

One of the greater benefits is that you no longer depend on the web design company to make modifications for you. Changes can be made any time they are needed, day or night.

Here Are Typical Features Of Our Content Management System :

Add / Remove / Edit pages.

Add / Remove / Edit Buttons in Navigation Menu.

Update content within each page.

Add images where needed.

Update contact information.

Frequently Asked Questions manager.

Here are some features that you should ask for, before deciding on the Website Content Management System to use.

1. It should have an easy to use administrator interface. You don't want to spend a great amount of time trying to figure out how the system works, and what to do to edit the content.

2. A Content Management System, beside it's practical value, forces the website's design to be a bit more rigid than if you would have had a hand coded website. You should search for one that doesn't limit the designer's creativity too much. So, it should allow an unlimited number of templates in the system (in a site there might be one or more layout styles). Having this feature, you can set some different pages, or different site sections, to have different headers, backgrounds, colors and graphics.

3. You should be able to have a unlimited number of Editable Zones in each template (i.e. Main menu zone, left column, main content zone, second content zone, footer, etc). You shouldn't be forced in using a flat style like most of the dynamic websites have. Meaning some header, Navigation menu in the right, Content Zone, and a footer. You should be able to have - on certain pages - the ability to place the content on 2 columns and another large zone in the bottom, or any other content spreading style. This should be limited only by your imagination.

4. It should have integrated a good WYSIWYG HTML editor. This way you would be able to easily mark the bolded or italic text, select certain font styles, add images within your texts, without knowing HTML at all.

5. You should be able to define your own Content Objects. Those can be a few lines of text, some links, some contact information, etc, that you can place anywhere in the content of any page. This is very useful if you have some pieces of information that you want shown on several pages. The advantages of this feature is that you won't have to type that information over and over again, and, when you want to update it, you will modify once and it will change on all the pages.

6. One of the most important features is that your website should generate Search Engine Optimized pages. You should have total control over every page's meta tag settings (title, description, keywords). It should generate Search Engine Optimized content - usage of H1, H2, H3 html tags in article titles is a must. It should generate Search Engine Friendly Links. Of course Search Engine Spiders read dynamic links (i.e. index.php?category=38&product=94) but, you will notice that in Google search results the first pages are the ones that have valid filenames (e.g. my-category-name.html). So, this is how you should have it. With the CMS editor you will.

Another important aspect when you chose a Content Management System is the availability of additional plugins.

Of course, having the possibility of updating the website's content is great. But, you might need a Photo Gallery, or an Events Calendar, or even an Online Products Catalog. Going further on this idea, let's say you are a real estate company. To have an updated website would mean that every time you have a new house in your offering you could create a new page, or every time you sell a house you could delete a web page. That can be a real pain. You should be able to add new houses on your website by simply filling out a form, and uploading some images. And on the website the listings should be shown in an elegant way, sorted by categories, location, etc. A search page for your Real Estate Website would also be a very useful feature. So, in this case, you would need a Real Estate module for your Content Management System.