Content Management Systems – Editing your Website


Okay, so we’re gonna have a look now at Content Management Systems. So, first of all, why CMS? CMS is just the initials for Content
Management Systems. So, okay, why CMS? Well, what a CMS does,
what a Content Management System does, is allows you to make edits to the
content. Now, there’s a lot of talk around CMS, so
I’m guessing that you’ve already come across the term, and most people
assume that they definitely need to have the ability to edit their own site. Now what I want
to do in this section is actually question that, so if you do need CMS, you know exactly
why you’re going to use CMS. Okay, so it gives you the ability to edit your own site, we’ve understood
that, but who is going to actually edit your
site? See that’s always the first question for
me. You know, we assume all we need the ability to do it, but actually have
you really though that through? So have you got the manpower? Have you
got the time to actually make those edits yourself? And remember a CMS, however good they are, you’re gonna need a
certain amount of knowledge to use them. So therefore have you got the time not
just to go and edit the pages, but to learn the Content Management System? So you’ve
really gotta way that up, don’t assume that somebody’s gonna
build something, give you a CMS and immediately you can dive on in there
without any learning curve, and just start editing pages. In fact if
you do try and do that, the chances are you’re gonna mess up the
site. So let’s talk about messing up the site. Okay you’ve got a
Content Management System and that means you can make all of those edits, but do you have a backup plan just
in case you make an edit that’s wrong? So you’re still gonna need a Web Developer
or your own Web Development skills in order to do that. So there are a couple things you need to
think about around whether to use a CMS just from a time
point of view. Okay, so what about a Bespoke CMS? Or maybe a platform based CMS? So what do I mean by those two? First of all, a Bespoke CMS. Now this is
where your Web Developer will build you a Content Management
System, all of your own which would actually be
very easy to update content. But it restricts you, and it deliberately
restricts you. It does all the formatting, all of the clever stuff for you, so that you just go in and
change words, or maybe add pictures. But you do it for a very
restricted system. Now there is a good reason for doing it that
way, so don’t think the restrictions as maybe being a negative thing, they’re all just different options on
what you are going to be most comfortable with. So, if you have a system whereby it’s
very restricted, the chances are you’re not going to
knock out all the formatting, and your Website is going to remain looking
as good as it did on the day it went live. And that’s got
to be a good thing. But of course you might not want those
restrictions, so what restrictions am I talking about? Well let’s say its a news section, and you
decide on day one that you’re gonna have one picture
per news item. Well if that’s what your Developer builds
you, a system so that you can add a picture to a news item, then that’s
what you’ve got. The day when you decide you want to add
two news pictures to a news item, suddenly then you fall
outside of the parameters of the Bespoke CMS system. So then you looking at a Platform based
Content Management System. Okay, so a Platform base will be
something like, WordPress and Joomla and Druple, I could carry on but forget the names
because they will come and go, as one thing becomes more popular, the other
one will subsided etc, but they are what’s called Platform
based Content Management Systems. Now these will give you a greater degree of
flexibility, in fact you can even go into them and
add in your own HTML code. But go back to the first thing, have you got the time to learn all of that
code anyway? And should you have the time to learn all
of that code? What is it that you’re good at, that you’re not doing whenever you’re
doing this learning curve? Okay, so we’ve got to look at whether it’s a
Platform base, well that’s going to be one of the popular systems, thats probably another easy way to think of
platform based because you will have already heard of the name or other people will of heard of the
name and they’ll be speaking about it, so if you do a Google search lets say for Content
Management Systems, these are the ones that are gonna come
up, and you’ll be able to read about them, they’ve got Forums, and help and all the rest of it, so is that the platform for you? Where
you really delve into their HTML and so on, or do you
want a Bespoke one? It limits you, but it makes sure all of
the formatting is right. Okay, now when we’ve looked at Platform or
Bespoke, we also need to look at HTML Editing or Database Driven. So let me explain those two terms. HTML obviously, is the code that creates Web
pages. And the best Websites produced HTML code. However, to add functionality, quite often we use Database Driven
Applications. So databases hold all of the information on
when you entered the Website, it’s at that
point that the database and the program put all of their information together, and deliver you a page. Now, the benefits
of having a Database Driven Content Management System are that they’re very very easy to update. So they’re easy to update, all the
information is stored in a Database. Let’s say you want to change the theme of the Website, well that’s easy
because the theme in other words what it looks
like, and the actual data, the content on the page, are stored
separately and then merged at the time when a
visitor comes to your Website. So that’s a good thing about
Database Driven Content Management Systems. And systems
such as WordPress, and Joomla and Drupal that I mentioned earlier, that’s what they do. Okay, but
they don’t create the best HTML code, and part of your strategy, could well be that you need good Search
Engine Optimization. And Search Engine Optimization requires
good HTML code. So what can you do? Well, for a start off, it doesn’t mean you can’t use Content
Management. But, what you might want to consider is
an HTML editor type Content Management System. Now I’ve put a link on this page to Cushy
CMS and there’s plenty of others. Now what they do is they put a really friendly
interface over the top of your HTML pages. So they
allow you to edit those pages without you having to
learn the raw HTML programming that
somebody has used to build your pages. Now they’re probably not as
flexible and as involved as the WordPress type editors, but they’re giving you simple control. So
they’re almost like a step in between building the HTML stuff yourself and
having a full on Content Management System that
runs on a Database. But the point is they provide really
good clean HTML code if that’s what you’re Developer
created for you in the first place. So you need to think about some HTML type Content Management System if you need
good quality clean code. Okay, so let me try and put them back into
some perspective for you. First of all time; have you got the time
to get really involved with Content Management? Because you’re gonna need the time if
you’re going to manage the pages yourself. So you need to consider that one. What about the platform? Should it be
Platform based or should it be Bespoke for what you need? Well Bespoke obviously as I said, that keeps it a
lot cleaner and it helps you with the formatting, makes it simpler and quicker for you, but
it doesn’t always give you as much flexibility. Or do you need a system where you gonna have to learn
how to use it, but it gives you that added flexibility? And don’t always just go for that one.
I know when you start building your Website
you’re thinking “I really need control of this”. Well don’t always go down that line, it
might not be the best thing for you. So, and then finally Database Driven or HTML type editing. As I’ve already said,
HTML type editing gives you cleaner code, Database Driven
again it’s a more powerful kind of system and it will allow you to add a lot
more features and functions etc. Okay,
so I hope that really gives you a good introduction to
Content Management and the Content Management Systems that
are out there, obviously go away and do the worksheet. That’s going to help you to work out whether you’ve definitely got the time and maybe what type of
system we should use , have a look at some of the links that
we’ve put across there so that you can have a look at some of these
Platform based, Database Driven and HTML type Content Management Systems.

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