You’re ready to take the plunge and have a new website designed for your business. You’ve done your research… found several companies to interview… and then BAM! You’re faced with a decision that you don’t fully understand. “Do you want a CMS?” Huh? Hopefully this blog post will bring clarity to an otherwise confusing subject.
Before we talk about what a CMS is… let me tell you about the two different types of websites: static and dynamic.
STATIC: A static website is one that contains fixed content. Each page is coded in HTML and displays the same information to every visitor. Static sites are the most basic type of website and are usually the easiest to create. However, because you need HTML knowledge to edit them, static websites can become difficult and expensive for clients to maintain.
DYNAMIC: A dynamic website uses programming, in addition to traditional HTML, to generate page content in real-time. When a dynamic page is accessed, the code on the page is generated by a database and the resulting HTML is sent to the viewer’s web browser.
So what does all this techno-babble mean? To solve the maintenance problem inherent with static sites, a new technology called a Content Management System (CMS) was developed. A CMS uses a database to store, retrieve, and edit the content of your website on the fly. Each page of your site is stored as text, making it much easier to edit, search, and manipulate. The CMS database also allows for additional features to be easily integrated into the website, including: user logins and passwords, events and calendars, blogs, news feeds, and much more. One of the best features of a CMS is that people with absolutely NO coding knowledge can modify, add and/or delete pages using the built-in web based editor.
Here are a couple factors to consider, and discuss with your web designer, to see if a CMS is right for you:
1. What is your budget? Dynamic websites are a much greater investment up-front, but could save you money in the long run when you don’t have to go back to your designer for updates and revisions.
2. What purpose will your website serve? Maybe your business just needs a simple, 4-page site with information and a contact form. Your web developer should be able to ask the right questions to determine the best fit for your needs.
3. How often will your content need to be updated? If you’re ready to commit to social media and blogging, a CMS is definitely the right solution for you. You’ll want to update content, post articles, etc. on a weekly basis (at least) and you don’t want to pay a designer to make those changes.
A CMS isn’t the right solution for everyone, but it does open up a user-friendly option for business owners who want to manage their own website content.