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Getting Your Business Online Part 5- Content Management

Posted by in Web Design / Development

Welcome to part 5 of ‘Getting Your Business Online.’

During the last 10 years, I’ve tested, installed and used countless content management systems (CMS). I’ve even been involved in the user interface design.

Like every product, they all have strengths and weaknesses. The main thing to consider when choosing a content management system is this:

“How often will you actually use it to update content?”

Now, good SEO practice tells us that we should be regularly updating our websites with fresh and relevant content. However, in reality, most people find it very hard to make the time for this.

Here are a few options for content management that I’ve recommended to clients.

1) Adobe Contribute

Pros:
• Simple and easy to use
• Minimal upfront investment

Cons:
• Limited features

Adobe Contribute software enables users to update web content without learning HTML. My favourite Adobe Contribute feature is the in-browser editor. It provides a powerful interface for editing and publishing web pages right inside your browser.

2) WordPress

Pros:
• Free ‘Open Source’ software
• Countless Themes and Plugins available

Cons:
• Steeper learning curve
• Customising requires moderate-to-advanced PHP skills

Typically used as a blog tool, WordPress has many great features that make it excellent as a content management system too. Even though WordPress is open source, you will probably be charged a nominal fee for installation and set-up by your web designer. My favourite WordPress feature is the free iPhone (or iPad) application. The application enables users to easily update their website content on the go.

Other popular open source CMS include: CMS Made Simple, Drupal, Joomla and Mambo.

3) Custom Content Management System

Pros:
• Purpose built to your specific needs

Cons:
• Large upfront investment
• Ongoing maintenance costs

Typically, I would only recommend a custom CMS to larger businesses who have very specific website requirements and who update their content constantly. As I’m writing about custom CMS in general, it’s difficult to list a favourite feature. But what I do really like is the ability to create a unique solution that can streamline processes and improve business efficiency.

4) Manual Updates by a Designer

Pros:
• No large upfront investment
• No software learning curve

Cons:
• Possible delays in work being completed

Now this may seem like a plug for web designers everywhere, but it is actually a viable option. I have clients who email me a list of changes or updates for their website on a regular basis. I do the work for them, and they don’t have to worry about learning new software or wasting time trying to get things looking just right.

Thanks for reading. Next time I’ll be covering email marketing software and a few tips on best practice.

Simon Bailey is a graphic & web designer with over 15 years experience. His business, Simon Bailey Design, is located on Sydney’s upper north shore and is dedicated to providing clients with Outstanding Design, Expert Advice and Professional Service.

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