How are you updating your website? Do you have to call on your developer every time you have a photo or text change? Are you skilled enough to change those things on your own using Dreamweaver or Visual Studio? Or do you have a content management system (CMS)?...all the glory of having more control over your own website without having to rely on anyone else to get the job done! But, not all CMS platforms are created equally. Let's talk...
Essentially open source means the code is available for free and you can do with it as you wish. There are generally a lot of support forums and updates available because it's free and so many people use it. Some open source CMS that you may be familiar with are Joomla and Drupal.
The downside? We all know that free isn't always better. Some of the open source platforms can be difficult to use because you generally log into a complicated back end and have to update everything using modules. This can be extremely frustrating as you may update a piece of content that looks nothing like it does after you view it on the site. You may even find yourself so annoyed with the back end system that you hesitate updating your site.
So what now?
Well...there are plenty of custom CMS platforms out there, but today let's talk about c80, protocol 80's own CMS. After all, this is our blog right, I think we have the option to promote some of our own stuff sometimes. ;)
First, Understand This
I want to preface my discussion with the fact that I am not a website developer. I use our CMS like an end user would for the most part. I am the SEO guy...so while I understand some HTML stuff because I have been in the industry for 3 years, I think and use the CMS more like you and think about it from a user perspective more so than a developer would.
I would be foolish to not start with the most important aspect, search engine optimization. We preach to all our clients and readers that creating great content will help your long term SEO efforts dramatically. Yes, the content can be on your blog, but you can't forget about your website.
With our content management system you have the ability to create pages on the fly, when you have that great idea. Maybe industry terminology changes, or you have a new cutting edge service, or just find inaccuracies...you can change it while it is top of mind. We understand that SMBs are usually spread thin and if you don't do something right away it get's pushed back, including something as simple as asking someone to update the website. With a CMS you have the opportunity to create great content on the fly while providing your users with the most accurate information at that point in time.
Other options that our CMS gives the user is control over a few SEO elements such as the page title, file name and meta description (for click-through performance). Yes, their is still a meta keywords box available for the people that don't believe me that keyword meta tags mean essentially nothing. Another element that you can add is a goal for the page. No one but you sees this goal, but it helps you stay on track for the purpose of the page.
So while you don't have control over every element of SEO, you have enough for the end user. We do provide tips for titles, file names, etc. in the CMS, but if you are an ongoing SEO client we will also do some training for you prior to setting you off into the real world.
Reuse and Recycling of Content
To understand this you need to understand that your content is completely separate from your design and structure of the website. Each piece of content is stored as that, a piece of content. You will have the ability to use the content across the site with without having to recreate it.
Why would you do that? Well let's take your navigation for example. We can make your navigation, whether it is your top, left, footer, sub-navigation and so on pieces of content. This means that not only do you have control of your navigation, you can put it where it needs to go with minimal effort and without having to call someone.
Another example might be a piece of content you want removed from your site, but want to use it again in the future. That piece of content is saved, so when you are ready for it again you insert that piece of content and use as is or modify as needed in a matter of minutes.
Your content is saved in a database, so you can be assured that you are getting the quality backups you deserve. We provide backups for all of our hosting clients, db or not, but not all providers are as generous with backups. They are probably something you don't think about until it's too late.
This is often one of the reasons many of our clients go to a CMS. All of the website updating responsibility does not have to remain with one person at the company. Different departments/specialties can maintain their own content. They would have their own user name and access to only the content desired by the administrator. Generally people can write more remarkable content when they are passionate about the subject and know what they are talking about.
You might be saying to yourself, "That's great, but Hank in the sewing department doesn't know anything about websites." He doesn't have to!
Do You Understand Microsoft Word?
Working with the c80 CMS you do not have to be proficient with website editing. Modifying or creating content is almost as easy as Microsoft Word document. Pictures, fonts, alignment, bolding...it's all pretty much the same. We can limit any features so you don't end up with 15 different font sizes in a rainbow fashioned scheme by user or overall. Bottom line is you do not need to be a developer to work with the CMS!
Browse the Website Like a User
With c80 there is no complicated back end like you see with many of the open source platforms. If you are logged in editing a piece of content is as easy as clicking the edit button. Fix what you need to fix and you see your changes right away. To help out we make our WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor actual WYSIWYG by making your edit box the same size as the actual content. If you are editing a column of content that is only 400 pixels wide but your editor opens up to 900 pixels it won't look the same when you save it.
I could go on...
There are many reasons to go with a CMS and we have seen a recent upswing in small businesses asking about them. You may be shopping around and looking at functionality, price, ease of use and so on and we definitely recommend that. In the end you want to be happy and comfortable with what you are using to update your website. Look around, ask for a demo, then choose. We'd be happy to talk to you more about c80.