Product? Check. Website copy? Check. Design? Check. Launch, go!
Wait a minute, hold your horses. Are you forgetting one of the biggest issues with websites from the very beginning? What happens if your business takes off and you suddenly need to add hundreds of pages to your website or make dozens of changes to all of the existing ones?
Believe me, going back through your website to make changes, manually, can be mind numbly dull and anti-productive. Your time is best focused on the future; not on the technical slog of keeping a website up-to-date.
Enter: Content Management Systems
Content Management Systems, in a way, can be seen as a dynamic website build that gives you unlimited flexibility over the design and development.
CMS’s use a robust catalog of web development technologies and coding to give you full access to make changes, across the entire website, from a single action – rather than doing manual edits for each page.
Compared to a static website or landing page, here are the benefits of using a CMS:
- Flexibility of the platform to make dynamic changes across the entire website with a single change to the template.
- Bustling communities of developers that are always creating new features and widgets for websites that run on their respected CMS platforms.
- Wide selections of free and professional themes that add a whole new level of design flare to your website without the high costs of web development.
In the easiest terms, you can think of a CMS as a platform which your website sits upon; your changes to the upper layer of your website cascades throughout the site; so, for example, if you wanted to add advertisement to your sidebar than you can simply place a widget with the ad and it will be shown throughout the site without manually adding the code to each page.
Of the available choices for content management systems, you have a great selection:
WordPress is the most popular choice for a CMS; it’s installed on millions of domains ranging from personal websites to full ecommerce shops. The appeal of WordPress is its open-source nature; anyone can make edits to the platform which has created entire industries of theme and plugin developers that extend the flexibility and function of the core platform.
In fact, AffiliatePrograms.com is built upon WordPress. When things need to be added, such as a new blog post, a simple log-in to the dashboard gives you a simple-to-use page (with editors) to add each post, tag the content, categorize the topic, and add multimedia elements without the need to learn HTML and CSS code.
The other incredible benefit of WordPress, for your website, is the wide selection of themes available, for free or paid, from thousands of different developers; these can be found on theme marketplaces or commissions through freelance. Once applied, the theme instantly changes the design and function of your WordPress installation to however you see fit.
Likewise, plugins developed for WordPress can add many features you may be seeking such as forms to capture visitors on your email list, advertising management, call-to-action buttons, tables, and other design features that help with conversions.
Drupal is another major contender for content management systems. There is a lot of blur between the functionality and features of Drupal in comparison to WordPress but the biggest thing Drupal brings to the table is its easy integration of community features such as forums and member registration.
In affiliate marketing, your ability to create a community and keep users engage creates an incredible opportunity to increase your profits because it builds a mentality of repeat business for your members. The features in Drupal that add these community features could easily allow you to setup forums and membership areas of your website that keeps visitors active and coming back time and time again.
Joomla is another content management system worth noting on this list because it comes only second to WordPress but that doesn’t mean that it lacks any of the features you may be seeking.
Joomla has a massive development community working on the platform to build it the best it can be. There are thousands of free and paid extensions to the platform that add many of the features you’ve just read into the basic installation. Joomla is excellent for websites that require multiple users such as a community driven website or if your business blog has multiple authors from within the company.
The security features of Joomla also makes it very appealing to larger businesses where as WordPress often comes under fire from malicious attacks due to its popularity; in this case, the second choice in CMS’s could help you avoid massive headaches in the future.
Many, Many More
Of course, these three are only the tip of what’s available for content management systems. Other CMS’s are built for a variety of reasons such as ones specifically meant to be light-weight and fast, some focused more on the community elements of a website, and a wide variety made for flexibility.
A few of the notable choices include:
- Expression Engine
- Radiant CMS
The list goes on and on; the most important decision is simply choosing one and getting your projects underway.
Which is Best for You?
This question isn’t easily answered because it ultimately depends on the direction of your website and your personal needs/skills.
For tech-savvy individuals, content management systems like Joomla and Drupal may be appealing because there are a lot more code-heavy features that can be edited. On the other hand, WordPress is extremely appealing because of its flexibility and large resource pool created by its extensive community.
From AffiliatePrograms.com perspective, WordPress is generally the best option for starting a new website at this time. The large access to WordPress themes, plugins, and tutorials make it an ideal candidate for building websites that are extremely flexible, easy-to-use, and have the ability to expand in the future in the event you wish to begin offering your own products or change direction.
WordPress is extremely easy to setup with the built-in tools provided by your web host. A few minutes and you’re up and running. An hour later and you can have the structure, design, and much of your web copy on the site. Skilled developers and web enthusiasts can have a fully-functional WordPress website up and running within a day’s time.
However, this choice in your CMS is completely yours; it all depends on what you need and where you’re going with your website.
Hopefully you’ve got everything you need from this article about content management systems. It’s less about the platform, when starting, and more about simply taking action to get the ball rolling; get at it.