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What are Content Management Systems?

by | Jun 3, 2019 | Getting Started

Content Management Systems

Before content management systems, programmers would start everything from scratch.  They would learn how to program.  They would create their own libraries and ways of working.  Then they would create a method of maintaining those libraries and bits of code.  Each programmer would create their own content management system.  After a while, some of these systems went public and were designed with the untrained user – the person who did not know programming languages – in mind.

If we continue our analogy that we started in our article about domain names: if a domain is the empty lot, and if web hosting is the foundation, then a content management system would be the scaffolding, wiring, and pipes.  It is still your job to put in the walls, floors, ceilings, and furniture.  But, with a content management system, the basic design is already in place.

WordPress

Although there are many Content Management Systems (CMS), WordPress is the most popular.  About 1 in every 5 websites you visit is powered by WordPress.  Do keep in mind that Content Management Systems are a little bulky.  If you knew the programming languages, you would have more freedom.  Yet they are still very helpful.  They are constantly being improved.

The best part of WordPress website is that, if you hire someone to put it up for you, you have not lost that invested money.  There are a lot of places out there that provide you with a content management system, but, if you ever want to change to a different company, then you lose all that you have invested in your site.  However, with WordPress, you can move from developer to developer, web hosting company to web hosting company, and what you have invested in the site stays with you.  They can build on top of what you have.  You don’t have to start from scratch.

WordPress websites have two main ways of putting out content: pages and posts.  A page can be static or dynamic, but it basically has the same design either way.  It would be a destination that helps people maneuver from one place to another on your site.  A post, on the other hand, links to an RSS feed.  Wherever you place that feed, a snippet will appear and automatically update as you add more content.

 

WordPress Themes

WordPress has two major ways of changing its style.  First, is the WordPress theme.  There are many free themes (although the best are usually paid for).  Your theme determines what the layout for your pages will look like.  If you are going to purchase a theme, we are an affiliate for two companies that we highly recommend: StudioPress and Elegant Themes.  Elegant Themes uses the Divi Theme and Divi Builder Plugin.  Both of those are very useful and powerful.  If you bought that theme, you could literally renovate your entire site every two-three years without losing anything while making it look fresh.

 

 

WordPress Plugins

The other way to change the style of your WordPress site is a plugin.  Plugins can help with anything from Search Engine Optimization to Icons in the Navigation Bar – and everything in between!  Many plugins are free or have a basic form which start free.  When choosing a plugin, you would want to make sure that it is installed on a lot of websites.  If you see a plugin that only has 60 installs worldwide, there is probably a better plugin to use.

A Great Way to Get Started

Content Management Systems are a great way to get up and running quickly.  WordPress in particular can be very powerful if it is used the right way.  And what you invest in a WordPress site you can take with you.  If you have no interest in learning programming, then WordPress is probably the best choice for you.  If you don’t have a developer set it up for you, then you should definitely find a tutorial that walks you through setting up your website step-by-step.

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