It’s forever changed how goods and services
are marketed, sold and consumed.
It’s made the wealth of human knowledge available at anytime from anywhere.
But there’s a great disparity among websites: Some take full advantage
of everything the Internet has to offer while others seem to be
as flat and limited as paper brochures.
If you’re thinking about launching or rebuilding a website, take a close look at all the sites you
visit. Notice how some are constantly updated with fresh content, look consistent regardless of
what browser is used, and allow users to interact and connect via discussion boards, live chats
and social media such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. And then there are sites that never
seem to change, are hard to find via search engines and can’t be viewed on a smartphone.
The irony is that the sites that are the most feature-rich and take advantage of all the Internet
has to offer are also the sites that are the easiest to maintain. They’re powered by a content
management system (CMS), software that takes away the complexity of building and
Here are some questions and answers on content management systems, and some of the
advantages over static sites:
A CMS site is also known as a dynamic site. Its content is usually stored in a database. When
a visitor clicks on a link, the page is built on the fly based on programmed instructions and
predefined modules. Administrators manage the content and themes of the site not through
HTML but via a user-friendly administration page. Once changes are made, they’re immediately
reflected on the site. Want to change the look and feel of the entire site? With a CMS, you click
on theme you want, and it’s applied across your site – whether it has two pages or 200pages
CMS software provides full control over the structure, content and design of your website.
Many CMS systems allow you to schedule the publication time of content on your site and set
permissions to control access. All allow you to do this without any knowledge of HTML, CSS,
scripting or programming languages.
What’s a static site?
As the name suggests, a static website is one that’s not likely to change. Why is that? Every
element – photos, videos and text – is hard-coded into the HTML, which Web browsers use
to display the page. In other words, everything your site visitors see on a page is contained
within the HTML (or points to a location on the Internet where the content can be found).
To update an image or another part of the page, simply change the HTML and upload new
elements (photos or videos) to the locations updated in the HTML. If your site has hundreds
or thousands of pages, it’s an extremely time-consuming process.
How Does a CMS Future-Proof My Site?
The content lives in a database and is not embedded in individual pages. Because of that, the
a CMS system can slice and dice the content in a variety of ways, whether for specific browsers
or computers such as PCs, Macs, tablets or smartphones. If a new browser technology is made
available, it can be supported simply by updating the CMS software. Individual pages, when
they’re served to the new browsers, will support the new features while older browsers will
continue to receive pages that they can understand. In addition, most CMS-powered websites
support Really Simple Syndication, which allows your content to be distributed to your users
via RSS readers, email clients and any other program that supports the technology. Your content
can even be shared on other websites with this powerful tool.
What about Social Networking?
Content management systems offer thousands of modules that enable all sorts of features. If
you want your visitors to be able to tweet about your content directly from the site or like it
on Facebook, just install the modules that support those functions. If you’re not ready to go
social, that’s easy too: Just don’t install the module.
The power of the Internet is within easy reach thanks to content-management systems. With
CMS technology, your website can be as simple or as complex as you want. Rather than focus
on code and laborious manual updates, CMS allows you to focus on creating compelling content
and making it available quickly to your site’s visitors.
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