CMS explained

what you need to know about Content Management Systems

What do we mean by CMS?

Spartina Design concentrates on developing what is called CMS websites – Client Managed Systems.  This is a fancy way of saying that these are websites that separate the Content from the functional and style elements.  This makes it easy for businesses that want to ‘own’ their content and to manage it without the fear of destroying the look and function of the website.

Some brief history.

HTML5_Logo_512Originally all websites were built using the original coding standard HTML (Hyper Text Markup Language) with all content hard-wired into the page.

That was fine for text and even text plus photographs, but then content became more interesting and website owners wanted a more dynamic page experience.

Hard-coded sites were helped by the advancement of software programmes that converted graphics-heavy web pages into (complex) code but the pages remained hard-wired and rely on other technologies (Adobe Flash, Javascript, etc ) to add the dynamic element.

WP_reflectionCMS web design takes the content and stores this separately from the page information. All content is stored in a database and the pages are coded to ‘fetch’ the content when it is required.  This allows content to be brought into several different locations on the website and only needs updating once and it will be updated everywhere.

CMS sites also allow the sort of control over content that hard-coded sites can only dream about.

Content can be added by the user not just the developer because the style, colours, structure and design of the site are controlled elsewhere.  This opens up an opportunity for businesses to manage all or part of the content on their site, saving money and just as importantly ensuring that the site is constantly up to date.

Joomla_LogoThe best known CMS platforms such as WordPress, Drupal and Joomla! power a significant part of all websites – in fact WordPress accounts for something like 20% of all websites world-wide.

WordPress powers some of the biggest sites in the World including The New York Times, CNN and eBay.

Here are some of the most frequently asked questions about CMS sites:

What about SEO and CMS?

CMS sites are easy to optimise and simple to set up.  There are some very efficient plug-ins that take the complexity out of the task and CMS sites rank as well as any other on pure natural rankings.

Of course, Google and other search engines rate content very highly in their ranking algorithms so any website where it is simple to update and append new content will always make search ranking easier than more hard-coded products.

Is a CMS cheaper than a conventional website?

Yes and No.

Certainly web designers that use any type of framework will have a cost advantage over those who don’t as much of the ‘heavy lifting’ is done by the framework.

However, even the most eclectic of web developer re-uses blocks of code, page frameworks and grids to shorten the development process.  There are few web developers coding everything from scratch.

The real CMS advantage is in the power of the system, the speed of development and the potential for client content management that drives out significant costs.

Finally there is the ease by which another developer can pick up the baton if you decide to move your website at any time – no difficult coding to unravel or legacy coding to understand.

Can a CMS cater for all types of website?

In the broadest terms, yes.

Some CMS are better known for their blogging legacy (especially WordPress) but they have come a long way since those days.

WordPress, Drupal and Joomla! are all used successfully to create e-Commerce sites, magazine sites, brochure sites and membership sites.  They are supported by an army of developers and coders producing themes, plug-ins and code both commercially and freely available to develop specific functionality.

Property agents, motor dealers, retailers, hotels, restaurants, property owners, manufacturers and trades can all benefit from a CMS developed website.

What if I don't want to manage my own content?

No problem, we can do that for you.

Whether that means regular blogs or news items or managing product inventories, we can help take the  burden of this away from you.

We would normally charge an hourly rate or agree a contract with a monthly fee determined by the regularity of updates and the scale of your needs.

Do you do non-CMS websites?

Yes we do, but increasingly we are finding faster and more effective ways of doing what our clients want within a CMS framework.

However for specific websites we will code in HTML and style with CSS to deliver the results you need if that is the sensible option.

What about Paid SEO?

We are not SEO campaign specialists but work closely with a couple of very effective businesses that are.

It is important to understand the fundamentals of good web development practice since failures to develop sites with optimised pages will make any paid SEO less effective.  We see this often.

Our websites will come ready built with agreed keywords and phrases built into the key content, properly assigned image titles and configurable SEO add-ons a standard.

This makes the paid SEO campaigns easier and cheaper to accomplish.