Website Design & CMS

CMS – Content Management System

A Content Management System is a back-end interface that allows you, the client, to control all your websites content and how it appears. Lets say for a moment your website is a car. The CMS would be the engine. Its the thing that makes it go, it holds all the content and provides the essence of what your website is there for, its raison d’etre.

Creating Pages

When the CMS is all uploaded to your own domain and hosting package (covered in Tutorials section) you now have to start making your pages. So if you are Florist who wants to sell Flowers online then you’ll need pages on Delivery Info, Package Deals, an Online Shop, a Gallery, Testimonials…etc. And then probably some more common pages like Contact, About and Help. Making the pages themselves is easy, but now the task lies in how you present that content. That is as equally important. Its often best to get the designer to start you off by adding all or most of  the content for you, then you can take over and use the pages as templates.

Google Search – Dynamic Content

Google is where everyone who needs to find something goes, so your site has to be easy to find by this massively popular Search Engine. Luckily most CMS’s are streamlined to be good at this, but we still need to make sure your site has been optimised to be found by the right people, this is linked to your Marketing and involves keywords as well some other neat tricks. However, Google also likes pages that change and are updated often so making the most of this (wait for it) “ever-changing, update-able, dynamic content” is one of the the most enjoyable things about using a CMS. It provides the ability to have a blog, so you can “write” down your most random and relevant thoughts for your budding customer base to read. And when connected with Social Network sites like Facebook and Twitter creates an instant community.

Using Custom Post Types to Conquer the Universe

An added bonus of those simple blog Posts is that they can be jerry-rigged to be useful in other ways. Using categories and some cunning coding you can have selected posts appear with different styles on other pages creating even more changing content. An example of this is Fred who wants a website with a Blog section for personal news, a Company News section and a Clients section for recent clients, and all fully or partial viewable by his sites members. This is all achieved using post categories. And yes you read that right, you can even have site members registered and connected, or simply have members use their Facebook accounts to interact with the site…It all depends on your needs.

There is still a place for static page websites, like for eNewsletters and micro-sites, but with the advancement of the internet and its demands they are woefully inadequate. Ever-changing, update-able, dynamic content is how you make your presence known on the interwebs, and for that you need the heft of a CMS behind you.  One of the main benefits of using a CMS over static pages is that the back-end environment or “Dashboard” can host many other tools and plugins all geared to helping your business be more successful. One of the most valuable of these is the “Stats” system. It will track and record every single click locally on your site so you can see just who’s been visiting and how they found you, and the best thing is, its subscription free. Which means acres and acres of marketing data which you can use to focus and hone your content and products, so you can ultimately sell more to a wider range of people.

Your website’s purpose is to deliver and communicate content, so a good CMS allows the designer to create a beautiful and functional website then hand over the entire lot to you. In our car comparison he would be the Mechanic, he, (me) fixes you up and allows you to be able to drive to where you need to go, in other words, he makes the website functional. After this when it is gently ticking over we can start to think about how it looks.

Web Design

So now our car needs some modelling and a nice coat of spray-paint. But now that we know what kind of car we’re making, be it a 4×4 or a speedy roadster, we know what kind of look and feel to head towards. The design of your site is quite personal so meeting face-to-face is often the best way to communicate exactly what you want. It also gives me a chance to figure out in more technical terms how best to approach the design, and provide a quick turnover for your site. I’m keeping this section short on purpose, because like Art, I like to think Design speaks for itself so check out my Folio and Clients.

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