CMS – Content management system

CMS - Content Management System

An example of a content management system back in the day was Front Page. It allowed users to instantly update a site using installed software that required the hosting service to have extensions for it to work. I never used Front Page. I had always created my web sites from scratch. Most of them were static sites. Static means the web site did not have a database or any programming language other than html and java-script etc.. When a customer of mine wanted a dynamic site, which of course uses a database, I created from scratch a php site that fit their needs. Most dynamic sites which uses php and a database (mySql), requires a back-end administration. This administration was the most difficult to create because it had to be user friendly and account for many actions like, Add pages, edit pages, delete pages, dynamic menu (menu automatically creates itself) etc.. Forms were also time consuming because it required a lot of repetitive work especially if it was a long form. Creating a site in php from scratch is time consuming and of course costly to the client. Most web sites especially an e-commerce site started at $8000 or above. A lot of smaller businesses did not have that kind of money to get what they needed.

In the last decade a lot of open source communities have developed web content management systems like WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla. WordPress was the first big CMS, but it really started out as just a blog site. Actually Drupal came out first in 2001 but WordPress (2003) has grown to be much more of a favorite for most people. WordPress has a very easy to use back-end administration and a nice updating module. I would suggest WordPress to anyone who is starting out and is new to it all. I personally like Drupal. I like Drupal because of the unlimited ways to modify it. In my opinion Drupal is more advanced than WordPress or Joomla. It has a lot of contributors that develop almost any module you need. Drupal can do anything and its very easy to write custom php code to do a task without modifying the source code or any other code that might get over written due to an update. The back-end is also very customizable. I don’t recommend Drupal to a novice user. It is difficult to update and requires a lot more knowledge to set it up correctly. I only recommend Drupal for larger scale projects that require a lot of custom scripting. At last there is Joomla (2005). A lot of non-profit organizations use Joomla especially church groups. Joomla also has a lot of extensions and modules. I believe the back-end is also as easy to use as WordPress. I personally think Joomla‘s back-end is easier than WordPress, but many people would argue that. I like Joomla and  WordPress because of the vast selection of templates that are available. This site is WordPress and I did use a template. I customized it a little but the majority of it is standard.

There are a lot more CMS open source programs. You can go here to see a complete history of the top ones. Most Cpanel‘s on shared hosting servers will allow you to install these CMS open source programs very easily. There is Fantastico and also Quickinstall. These programs automatically create everything you need including the database. I don’t recommend adding the dummy content because it’s a pain to get rid of. They all come with default templates. You can spruce it up by editing the default images or you can install another template you found on the internet. Either way, it is not that difficult to get your web site up in running in no time with very little cost. That’s why I am hooked on CMS open source programs. I can now offer my clients dynamic content managed sites for very little cost. It is also very easy to add e-commerce to the solution. Drupal uses Ubercart and Joomla uses Virtuemart. Both are very good e-commerce solutions. Basically the only cost I impose on my clients are customization’s to whatever CMS they want. I can do simple graphics or complete custom templates using a psd (Photoshop) graphic. I make custom home pages and sub-pages and of course I can do custom php scripting if necessary. If you don’t have the time to learn one of these CMS solutions, please contact me. If you want to have a stunning site that doesn’t look like a template, again give me a call.

I do a lot of work for companies in the area and of course they mark my cost up to allow for profit. Most of the time it is double or triple what I priced them. I will give you the same price I give the companies I do work for. It pays to cut out the middle man. It is not always cheaper or even better because your using a big name company. All big name companies uses people like me. As far as hosting goes, I charge as little as $100 per year and it includes Cpanel with all the bells and whistles. Contact me if you need hosting that includes the free CMS installs as talked about above. If you are interested in SEM or SEO  then I can include the web site with the monthly cost. Monthly cost depends on what you want and I try to keep it as low as possible.

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