This potential advantages of an online market has created a drive for small businesses to create an online presence. Many, however, simply have a website designed, and stop there, without realising the true potential and maximising the real value their site has to offer. If you have a website, you either have a content management system at the heart of it, or you have a fairly static site. If you don`t yet have a content management system driving your site, you may wonder why you need it.
This article will help clarify a few reasons why a content management core is almost essential for keeping your online investment paying for itself on an ongoing basis.
1) Non-technical people can update content We all like to think of ourselves as super-capable people, but the reality is that there are very few people who are all round brilliant programmers, designers and content creators, in fact most people are none-of-the-above. Some try, but most fall short in at least one or two areas compared to a professional who only focuses on one of these competencies.
What this means is that your website designer or programmer is probably not your best marketing person, and therefore not the best person to maintain your website`s contents. A content management system allows anyone who can use a word processor and has some basic computer literacy, to update their website, as often as they want.
2) It costs less This may sound strange when you consider that it will always cost more to have a content management system built into your website. Of course the cost benefit isn`t the up-front development cost, its value is in not having to pay a developer to manually make changes to the site, which of course is very costly, and time consuming.
3) Separation of content from code Let`s say you design a great site, populate it with three years of material, by which time the technology used to build the site is outdated. If your content is interwoven with the site itself you`ll be throwing out the baby with the bathwater if you upgrade your website. A good content management system will allow you to completely overhaul the presentation and application logic of your site, while maintaining your content in perfect separation from the mechanics of the rest of the site.
4) Uniformity of design When you have a content management system built for you, every page it displays is always done the exact same way. In fact, in many cases, you are simply seeing the exact same “page” every time you view it, the system just displays different content in it according to your requests. This creates a consistent presentation of your content across your site. There`s nothing worse for a site visitor to have to do than have to figure out where everything is for every page they visit. A confusing and disorientating site will seldom get repeat visitors.
5) Upgradeability and maintainability Because a well-developed content management system is designed to play nicely with the rest of the site, you can upgrade the content management system, or make changes to it, without affecting the rest of the site. In fact, as long as the API (application programming interface, or protocol for communication with the site) remains the same, you can completely replace your content management system with a new one.
6) Currency of content This is probably your best benefit. By removing the technical and process barriers to creating new content, you are limited only by your desire to create content, and your motivation to do so. It should be no more or less difficult than opening a Word or OpenOffice document and getting started, just with this solution, the world gets to see your work once you have previewed and published it.
In short, if you don`t have a content management solution in place for your business website at the moment, you effectively have an online marketing brochure, possibly with some application functionality. That may be sufficient for your purposes, but a good CMS will make a huge difference to the relevance and value of your site to your customers and potential customers.
by David Malan