Building a Foundation for your new website.
So you’re looking to build a new website for your business, but you’re unsure where to start?
The first thing to think about is how you will build your new website. This will be the foundation of your entire website so it’s important to get right!
In the past, many websites were simply hand-coded using HTML and CSS.
This leaves any web design work solely in the hands of experts who know how to code.
This is fine for the design and build of the website initially, but can prove cumbersome later down the line if you want to make small changes to your website, and have to keep going back to the web designer for help!.
Luckily times have changed! There are now various types of software called Content Management Systems which allow users to manage their own websites with greater ease.
What is a Content Management System?
A content management system, (commonly known as CMS) is software used to create and manage a website.
If you were to draw a picture on your computer you might use Photoshop (or Microsoft Paint, god forbid! 😲).
If you want to build a website, you can use CMS software to help you do it.
The key characteristics of a CMS is a visual user interface which helps reduce the amount of coding and expert knowledge needed to develop and maintain a website.
Your content such as images, text, articles etc. Are stored within a database on the CMS and managed using the visual front-end interface.
This means you as the end-user can add, modify, and remove content from a website, even with limited expertise.
Most modern CMS come packed with useful features such as:
- Visual user interface
- Publishing and text editing tools
- Content organisation
- Multimedia management
- File management
- Built-in search
- Support for addons or plugins to extend the functionality
- Support or a Knowledge hub
- Admin and settings panel
- Multiple user support
- Revision control
Why you should build your site on a CMS
Content Managed Websites (CMS) should be used for the vast majority of new websites.
They simply can’t be beaten for ease of use and long term flexibility of your site. Even as an expert coder I would also recommend a CMS for speed and flexibility of your website.
Nowadays nearly all websites are built on some kind of CMS platform, with over 60% being built on WordPress.
There are good reasons for going with the crowd:
Being the most popular platform means the best plugins and addons are developed for WordPress. WordPress also enjoys a huge support base to help with any problems you might encounter. Going with a less used CMS means a smaller user base is less attractive to developers for robust add-ons and support.
Having said that, there are a number of options out there. There are literally hundreds of types of CMS, but they are so niche that you don’t need to know about them!
The most popular CMS platforms are:
There are also CMS platforms specifically designed for E-Commerce websites to help you sell products and services online.
How to choose the right CMS platform for your website.
Here are some key things to consider when choosing how to design and build your website:
Ease of use
This is the main advantage CMS platforms offer over simply coding a website in HTML & CSS.
A visual user interface makes managing and editing your own site much easier. Your chosen CMS should have an intuitive, easy to use interface with basic text editing abilities, and some even have drag and drop functionality so you can build beautiful websites and edit your pages visually in real-time.
Most modern CMs will be regularly updated to patch and security flaws, this is where safety in numbers comes in: CMS platforms with a large user base tend to be targeted more by hackers, but they also enjoy the best developers and resources so regularly update and patch any security flaws.
Smaller CMS platforms tend to be slower with updates so when a hacker exploits a security flaw it can go unnoticed for a long time!
Most CMS platforms will allow you to install extra software to extend the functionality of your site, known as “addons”, “plugins”, or “extensions” depending on your CMS platform. Different platforms enjoy different levels of support, so make sure your chosen platform will let your business website grow and can handle the kind of functionality you want to achieve such as
- Online Booking
- User Membership
- Interactive maps
- Contact Forms
A CMS is a piece of software which runs on your hosting server and manages your content through a user interface. Creating and running the user interface uses server resources so any CMS platform will be a bit slower than an HTML and CSS coded website. But different platforms will offer different advantages in speed to the final website.
What kind of support does your chosen CMS platform enjoy?
Many CMS platforms will have online guides, or support communities where you can find answers to your questions if you get stuck. This will depend on how many active users are contributing, so make sure your chosen CMS has a large userbase to get the best support!
So now you know what to look for in a CMS platform, but before you start diving into comparisons, I’m going to let you in on a secret which will save you a lot of time!
I’ve developed sites on various platforms, and I can tell you right now, the only CMS you should use is WordPress!
Why am I ignoring hundreds of other options you ask?
WordPress is simply the best option for small to medium businesses. It’s used by the vast majority of small to medium businesses for good reason:
With a higher number of users than all other platforms put together, developers focus their time on this platform. That means it has the best plugins, the most advanced interface, the best support, the best security and the best user experience. It’s also completely free!
Getting Started with a CMS website.
If you want a website which is simple to use, easy to update, fast, secure and futureproof, then save yourself some hassle and build your website on a CMS.
At Design Hero I have years of experience building CMS sites so get in touch to start building your new website on a CMS platform of your choice!