Content Management System (CMS)

A Content Management System (CMS) is a piece of software that runs on a server. Typically a database application, a CMS makes it easy to publish and administrate content.

Some basic features that are common to all CMS:

Separation of content, structure and design

A CMS improves the lifecycle of your website for years to come. The "look and feel" of your site can be changed or relaunched, leaving existing content and page architecture untouched. No need to worry about copying and pasting content into another site, simply publish your new design and the CMS will pull the content into the new look.

Easy content production, no programming skills required

If you can use a computer, you can manage the content for your website. Using a graphical user interface, authors can simply create text, insert images an multimedia files, schedule content (and much more) to build and maintain a dynamic website.

Just imagine: You will never need to make another menu button again, or pay a web designer to do it for you. Each time you add or change a page, the menu will automatically update to reflect the change. Having to learn or purchasing photo editing software will not be necessary. You can upload images straight to the web from your digital camera / DV camera or a scanner.

Common advantages of a CMS:

Decentralized maintenance. Typically based on a common web browser. Edit anywhere, anytime. Bottlenecks removed.

Designed with non-technical content editors in mind. People with average knowledge of word processing can create the content easily. No HTML skills required.

Configurable access restrictions. Users are assigned roles and permissions that prevent them from touching content in which they are not authorized to change.

Consistency of design is preserved. Because content is stored separate from design, the content from all authors is presented with the same, consistent design.

Navigation is automatically generated. Menus are typically generated automatically based on the database content and links will not point to nonexistent pages.

Content is stored in a database. Central storage means that content can be reused in many places on the website and formatted for multiple devices (web browser, mobile phone/WAP, PDA, printer).

Dynamic content. Extensions like forums, polls, shopping carts, search engines, news management are typically drop-in modules. A good CMS also allows for truly user defined extensions.

Daily updates. You do not need to involve web designers or programmers for every little modification - you are in control of your website.

Cooperation. Encourages faster updates, enforces accountability for content editors via log files and promotes cooperation between authors.

Content scheduling. Content publication can often be time-controlled; hidden for previews; or require a user login with password

Although your visitors may never know whether your website is built with a content-management system or the more traditional 'static-page' form of website, the difference is something that you - as the site's owner - will notice from the word go. Here are the main advantages of using a CMS (content management system) to build and deploy your business's website:

Bennefits:

  • Non-technical contributors can edit pages and expand a site's content: no knowledge of HTML is required.

  • A separation is maintained between a website's content, its structure and its visual design; a change in one of these can be done independently of the others. A complete visual re-design of a whole site can be done without touching the site's content or its structure.

  • When new content is added, its visual appearance conforms to the design already established for the sort of content being added.

  • When pages are added or deleted, the site's menus are updated automatically.

  • Updates to the site can be made at any time by anyone with the correct permissions.

  • Requirements for image sizes can be gracefully enforced.

  • Best practice with regard to search engines can be gracefully enforced (page titles, meaningful URLs, correct metadata, etc).

  • Changes made to the content of a website can be automatically posted to major search engines.

  • Newsletter: email highlights from your website by point-and-click selecting both content and recipients

  • Role authentication: designate specific people to perform specific tasks on your website

  • Email notifications: email anyone (users or yourself) in response to any event on the site

Comon Features:

  • Advertising management (banners, etc)

  • Built-in Help files

  • Built-in site search engine

  • Build-in content syndication (RSS)

  • Create, publish, and reorder and edit articles in a click

  • Create your own publishing schedule

  • Content display scheduling

  • Completely database-driven site engines

  • Email-a-friend and Print-format for every article

  • Easy to use graphical administrative interface

  • Text editor similar to Word Pad

  • News, products or services sections fully editable and manageable

  • News feed manager. Choose from over 400 news feeds from around the world

  • Trash Manager (A "Recycle Bin" for your web site)

  • Media (images, documents) upload and management

  • Search engine friendly (SEF) URL's

  • WYSIWYG content editor support (built into the CMS)

  • Simple polls

Joomla

Joomla is an open source content management system which is used in over 40 million websites. It has been downloaded 15 million times from the official website, Joomla.org. It contains over 5,000 modules or plug-ins which make any feature possible in websites including multi-level administration, social communities, news related sites and the list goes on and on.

One of the best things about Joomla! is how easy it is to add or modify content, including images and multimedia, and organizing and managing important data.

Here are some standard features/benefits that come with Joomla:

  • Completely database driven site engines

  • News, products, or services sections fully editable and manageable

  • Topics sections can be added to by contributing Authors

  • Fully customizable layouts including left, center, and right Menu boxes

  • Browser upload of images to your own library for use anywhere in the site

  • Dynamic Forum/Poll/Voting booth for on-the-spot results

  • Runs on Linux, FreeBSD, Mac OSX server, Solaris, and AIX

  • Change order of objects including news, FAQs, Articles etc.

  • Random Newsflash generator

  • Remote Author submission Module for News, Articles, FAQs, and Links

  • Object hierarchy - as many Sections, departments, divisions, and pages as you want

  • Image library - store all your PNGs, PDFs, DOCs, XLSs, GIFs, and JPEGs online for easy use

  • Automatic Path-Finder. Place a picture and let Joomla! fix the link

  • News Feed Manager. Easily integrate news feeds into your Web site.

  • E-mail a friend and Print format available for every story and Article

  • In-line Text editor similar to any basic word processor software

  • User editable look and feel

  • Polls/Surveys - Now put a different one on each page

  • Custom Page Modules. Download custom page Modules to spice up your site

  • Template Manager. Download Templates and implement them in seconds

  • Layout preview. See how it looks before going live

  • Banner Manager. Make money out of your site.

Why Joomla for your company's website?

Based on everything I've already mentioned, Joomla web development can save you time, money, and is extremely easy to manage. Since there are already thousands of modules/extensions available, you won't need to reinvent the wheel or create something that might normally take months to develop on its own, when Joomla already has it available. Bottom line, using Joomla is extremely beneficial and is now a top source for website development.

WordPress

Reasons To Use WordPress For Your Website

WordPress enhances websites at every step of the process: our users to save money, take control over their own sites (add/edit/remove content), incorporate advanced functionality (e-commerce, mapping, user submitted content, etc.) and get better search results.  WordPress.org is simply a stroke of genius, and we take great pride in using it to make beautiful and powerful websites for our clients.  Below is a list of the top 10 reasons we believe in using WordPress.org for your website.  If you are interested in getting professional help setting up or optimizing a WordPress.org website, contact us any time.

1. WordPress is Truly Free and Open Source - Unlike other “free” and “open source” solutions that have hidden agendas, WordPress.org is completely free (learn more) for you, forever.  WordPress doesn’t start charging when you hit a certain size, nor does it close off any of its code to you.  This is one of the less tangible but probably most important elements of WordPress.org’s success.  No fees, no gotchas, no nonsense.

2. Your Site Can Grow With You - When you add up a lot of these features, you find that your WordPress site can grow with you over the years. You can easily upgrade it for new features and security. You can add a new theme (ma.tt seems to add a new theme most years) without redoing your whole site. You can add new plugins for enhanced functionality (add e-commerce if your business grows, focus more on search results, add a store finder, etc.) WordPress.org is used by millions of sites, from the simplest little blogs to huge brand names like the New York Times blog, People, Flickr, and more. See the WordPress.org showcase. 

3. Plugins Give You More Functionality - Plenty of platforms out there offer plugin functionality, but I’ve never seen a more smooth and thorough implementation than the plugin effort on WordPress.org.  Plugins allow you to add great photo galleries, sliders, shopping carts, forums, maps, and more great functionality.  There’s a searchable, one-click install directory of plugins (think App Store for WordPress).  Their code is riddled with “hooks” that allow developers to add their code to virtually any aspect of WordPress without editing the core.  Look for a few new and important WordPress.org plugins to come from the Computer Courage labs soon!

4. The Visual Editor and CMS are Outstanding - The intuitive, user-friendly backend of WordPress is probably what made it so famous in the first place.  I’ll never remember the relief I felt when I first installed WordPress after a few Drupal experiences.  I always tell my clients, “if you can do it in Word, you can do it in WordPress.”  In fact, with the Paste From Word tool, that statement is more true than you would imagine (this article was written in Word).  WordPress is continually improving its CMS, adding features such as threaded comments, galleries, revision histories, trash, custom post types, and more.  If you haven’t maintained a WordPress site yet, give it a look.

5. Easily Add a Blog To Your Site - How is this number 5 on the list you ask?  WordPress really came to fame for blogging and is still considered by many to be a blog platform.  Even WordPress itself seems to identify with blogging first, as the default configuration is for the home page to be a blog.  Aside from the amazing advances in CMS (see #4 above), the blog functionality is still the best in the business.  With categories, tags, threaded commenting, gravatars, easy theming, widgets, fantastic moderation controls, anti spam solutions, and plugin infrastructure, you can’t find a better blog solution.  Adding a blog to a WordPress site is a great way to attract and involve visitors, and to keep Google paying attention.  If you don’t need a full site, and just want a quick blog, check out WordPress.com.

6. Themes Let You Style Your Site - I tell my business clients every day that their site doesn’t need to “reinvent the wheel” when it comes to design.  We love doing custom web design for our clients, but many of them don’t need it.  We’ve been able to make very beautiful and successful sites by starting from pre-existing themes and doing customizations from there.  Because themes are open source, you can buy or download them and then modify them to your heart’s content.  I have to give special credit to the folks at Elegant Themes who make wonderfully powerful and easy to use themes at a very reasonable price.   Remember, themes are independent from your content, so you can edit or swap out themes at any time and keep your content and functionality in place.

7. It’s Easy to Keep WordPress Secure - WordPress has always bragged about its “Famous 5 Minute Installation”.  Not only is WordPress pretty easy to install (it actually takes 5 minutes if you are handy with your web servers, newbies will have a learning curve), but WordPress is also surprisingly easy to update for security and new functionality.  When a new version is available, WordPress will give you an easy link for a one-click upgrade.  Warning: Computer Courage always recommends backing up your blog before doing an install in case something goes wrong.  Look for backup plugins or techniques first.

8. Google Loves WordPress - At Computer Courage, we focus on getting new customers for our clients via Search Engine Optimization.  Ever since we started doing WordPress.org installs, I noticed a spike in search results.  Over the years I’ve used many valuable SEO plugins such as the All-In-One SEO Pack and Google XML Sitemaps.  But even without these plugins, I always felt like the simple layouts of WordPress, the permalinks, and the easy linking in WordPress would be naturally attractive to Google.  I even heard it straight from the horse’s mouth.  Matt Cutts, the other awesome Matt and the head of Google’s “web spam team” spoke at WordCamp SF 2009 and said it directly – “Google Loves WordPress”.  Edit: After saying this for the last year, I went back and checked.  It turns out I’ve been exaggerating.  He said “WordPress is a great choice” (video and slides here) but still, he goes on to gush about how much WordPress helps you get better results.  We always recommend a conversion to WordPress when doing SEO.

9. WordPress Sites are Accessible - WordPress sites are usually built on relatively simple and accessible technologies.  It’s easy to install on Windows or Linux servers.  It uses all free license server software.  The web pages render in HTML and CSS allowing them to show up on iPhones, BlackBerrys, Android, iPad, etc.  It’s also easy for alternative browsers such as text only browsers (see Lynx) which are excellent for those with disabilities.

Key Features of WordPress

  • Full standards compliance — We have gone to great lengths to make sure every bit of WordPress generated code is in full compliance with the standards of the W3C. This is important not only for interoperability with today’s browser but also for forward compatibility with the tools of the next generation. Your web site is a beautiful thing, and you should demand nothing less.<

  • No rebuilding — Changes you make to your templates or entries are reflected immediately on your site, with no need for regenerating static pages.

  • WordPress Pages — Pages allow you to manage non-blog content easily, so for example you could have a static "About" page that you manage through WordPress. For an idea of how powerful this is, the entire WordPress.org site could be run off WordPress alone. (We don't for technical mirroring reasons.)

  • WordPress Links — Links allow you to create, maintain, and update any number of blogrolls through your administration interface. This is much faster than calling an external blogroll manager.

    WordPress Themes — WordPress comes with a full theme system which makes designing everything from the simplest blog to the most complicated webzine a piece of cake, and you can even have multiple themes with totally different looks that you switch with a single click. Have a new design every day.

  • Cross-blog communication tools — WordPress fully supports both the Trackback and Pingback standards, and we are committed to supporting future standards as they develop.

  • Comments — Visitors to your site can leave comments on individual entries, and through Trackback or Pingback can comment on their own site. You can enable or disable comments on a per-post basis.

  • Spam protection — Out of the box WordPress comes with very robust tools such as an integrated blacklist and open proxy checker to manage and eliminate comment spam on your blog, and there is also a rich array of plugins that can take this functionality a step further.

  • Full user registration — WordPress has a built-in user registration system that (if you choose) can allow people to register and maintain profiles and leave authenticated comments on your blog. You can optionally close comments for non-registered users. There are also plugins that hide posts from lower level users.

  • Password Protected Posts — You can give passwords to individual posts to hide them from the public. You can also have private posts which are viewable only by their author.

  • Easy installation and upgrades — Installing WordPress and upgrading from previous versions and other software is a piece of cake. Try it and you'll wonder why all web software isn't this easy.

  • Easy Importing — We currently have importers for Movable Type, Text pattern, Greymatter, Blogger, and b2. Work on importers for Nucleus and machine are under way.

  • XML-RPC interface — WordPress currently supports an extended version of the Blogger API, MetaWeblog API, and finally the MovableType API. You can even use clients designed for other platforms like Zempt.

  • Workflow — You can have types of users that can only post drafts, not publish to the front page.

  • Typographical niceties — WordPress uses the Texturize engine to intelligently convert plain ASCII into typographically correct XHTML entities. This includes quotes, apostrophes, ellipses, em and en dashes, multiplication symbols, and ampersands. For information about the proper use of such entities see Peter Sheerin's article The Trouble With Em ’n En.

  • Intelligent text formatting — If you've dealt with systems that convert new lines to line breaks before you know why they have a bad name: if you have any sort of HTML they butcher it by putting tags after every new line indiscriminately, breaking your formatting and validation. Our function for this intelligently avoids places where you already have breaks and block-level HTML tags, so you can leave it on without worrying about it breaking your code.

  • Multiple authors — WordPress’ highly advanced user system allows up to 10 levels of users, with different levels having different (and configurable) privileges with regard to publishing, editing, options, and other users.

  • Bookmark lets — Cross-browser bookmarklets make it easy to publish to your blog or add links to your blogroll with a minimum of effort.

  • Ping away — WordPress supports pinging Ping-O-Matic, which means maximum exposure for your blog to search engines.