Content Management Systems (CMS)
A Content Management System, or CMS, does exactly what it says on the tin. It's a system for managing the content of your website. It's basically additional software that's added to your website that allows you to make changes to the site yourself.
You simply log into a private area and edit text much like you would in MS-Word. This is especially useful for sites with frequent updates, heavy content or multiple users. There are a few things to keep in mind about Content Management Systems:
- Larger upfront cost vs. a plain old HTML site
- There is a small learning curve
- The CMS software and any add-on components may require upgrades and security patches as they become available
But don't let that scare you off. Nearly all of the sites that South Island Design creates these days are built on a CMS platform. It just makes things a whole lot easier for whomever will be maintaining the site in the future. If you're serious about posting blog articles, developing new content and growing your site, then it's hard to avoid using a CMS.
South Island Design specializes in Joomla and Wordpress, which are free to download, user-friendly and web-based, so you can log in from anywhere. Both are supported by a huge community of developers that have a collective interest in software security and are always creating new add-on software.
Open Source vs. Proprietary
One thing everyone should know about Content Management Systems is the difference between an open source and proprietary system. Open source software is freely available and your web developer can customize it to his (or her) heart's content.
Proprietary software is owned by the web development company you hire to build your website. This means you're relying on the development company to keep their software up to date, secure and bug-free. You're also tying yourself to them for all future maintenance to your site. If you want to use another development company, you'll have to start over building the website again because you don't own the software that the site was built with. Think of it as a pre-arranged marriage and only your future spouse is allowed to write the prenup.
South Island Design would never use proprietary software to build your website. We believe in doing what is best for our clients, even if it means losing a project. We'd rather be known for a quick, "can-we-still-be-friends" break up than a long, messy "they're-not-getting-the-house-too!" divorce.