When deciding on a web designer or design company in the modern age, there are a lot of things you should be sure to look for. Among other things, you’ll want to make sure your provider offers a CMS as part of their design solution.
Website design in the past was done using software tools like Front Page and Dreamweaver. The design firm did the work, then files were uploaded via an FTP program to your server, allowing the site to go live.
The biggest problem with this was that any time you wanted to make a change to your site, whether big or small, you had to either know how to use the program to make the changes or hire your designer to do it for you. Neither of these options are the best solution.
The most common and popular solution to this problem these days is basing your website on a CMS. However, not everyone who’s been told to ask for one knows what a CMS is, or why it’s the best way to build your company’s site.
A CMS is a type of web based application that offers you the whole scope of design functionality, whether you’re a novice or a seasoned developer. Different products function differently, but they all allow WYSIWYG content development, a lot like using a word processor, and easy editing of your company’s website pages.
The most advanced types of CMS products also give you integration with a number of other functions. These may include CRM facilities, product and stock management, e-learning, credit card processing, online sales functions, managing memberships and shipping, among others.
The biggest thing about a CMS is how it takes all of these functions and integrates them into just one system that’s available to anyone you wish to allow access to it. That means that anyone on your staff can contribute new site content or make changes to the old content, without having to consult a designer and pay hourly fees.
You’ll also get to escape having to deal with clunky and confusing FTP programs when you start using a CMS. Since it can be pretty hard to train many end users to use an FTP program property, this alone will save you lots of time and money.
As we mentioned above, CMS systems have the great advantage of being usable by multiple people, and their web based status means those users could come from anywhere. All that’s needed to get in is a user login, Internet access, and a web browser.
This can really help to boost your business’s productivity. It’ll also help you save on the cost of buying specialty design programs for everyone in your business who might have to make a change to the content of your site.
Last, since a CMS is built on a central database, it has a lot of extra benefits to give you. This kind of searchable system can easily be changed in look and feel without actually affecting any of the data it contains.
A central database also makes work easier, allowing you to generate different queries to show the same information in a number of ways. There’s no more individual table or chart creation when you can just have the CMS format it correctly for you.
Before you go ahead and book your new website design, be sure that you take the time to ask them about their CMS products and get a live demo. You’ll be amazed at the benefits it offers over doing it the old fashioned way.
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by Michael J Craig