Why do I need a CMS?

A content management system, often known as a CMS, is a way of managing your online content. These content systems are created to make it easier to edit your website at any time. Depending on the specific CMS, it may have been created specifically to make changing the content as easy as possible for the end user. Many content management systems are made to allow a site owner to update content and even to change the style of the site without having any prior programming knowledge.

The Benefits of Updating a Site

As a business evolves over time, its website must also evolve. When you begin planning a website design for your business, you may go into the venture believing that once the site is in place, there’s nothing else to be done. There are few businesses that never change their websites, and those that don’t end up with sites that eventually look old fashioned and aren’t in tune with what today’s readers want from a site.

As new site features are available, the standard features that people look for when they go to a site will change. The basic design strategy of a business website also changes over time. If your site is dated, people may assume that your business is as well.

Keeping your site updated with new information keeps people coming back to your site. Even if the only updating that you do is to announce big company news when it happens, your site is being kept dynamic and changing when updates are made. Fewer people are interested in a static website, and search engines are thought to rank sites better when they are updated often. A CMS makes it possible for the site owner to make these little tweaks without having to hire a Web designer to make small changes once the site is in place.

Using a CMS to Format

When a site is created without a CMS, the site’s formatting can be kept steady across each page of the website without taking more time and programming to make it so. This often lowers the cost for creating a website because it takes less time to create the site. It also means that every little formatting detail will be in sync across the site, giving the reader a consistent viewing experience.

Blogging and the CMS

These days, no matter what type of business you run, you will likely get more traffic to your website if you have a blog in place. Having a blog as a part of your website also makes your site more search engine friendly. If you want a blog on your site, having a CMS is a must. Even if you don’t have a blog when the site gets started, having a CMS in place gives you the framework to implement a blog any time you decide to add one. Blogging gives your company a personal face, and it gives search engines an opportunity to see updated content that contains many of your designated keywords.

Small Business Web Design

For many businesses, a website is the first and sometimes only impression made on customers and clientele. If your small business website design is not up to par, you could potentially be costing yourself business. Effective small business websites do not need to be big, expensive and full of flash even though many business go exactly that route.

Effective Not Expensive

Just because a small business web design costs a lot of money doesn’t mean it will work effectively with your goals. A website and the content inside needs to be clear, concise, and capable of bringing people back for more. When you pay big bucks to have a website designed by someone who has no clue what your company is all about, you will likely end up with a high-priced piece of junk that will not serve you well.

Tips for More Effective Small Business Website Design

If you are just starting out with a website concept, it is important to first consider the important criteria that should be incorporated into that design. Here are some tips for constructing a more effective web design for your small business:

Key Information

Your website must convey four key pieces of information:

• Who You Are

• What You Do

• How to Contact You

• Why People Need Your Services/Products

In order for you to answer these questions, you must first sit and think about your company and how you wanted represented to people. Draft several outlines on paper rather than just slapping your basic marketing information on a website.

Keep It User Friendly

If you use a lot of technical jargon and complex lingo, you may end up alienating visitors that give up trying to guess what it is you are trying to say. Keep content user-friendly and valuable for your target audience.

Keep It Fresh

Ultimately, if you can provide your visitors with information that is valuable, easy to understand, and informative, you can develop a reputation as the go-to site when people are seeking a solution. Provide helpful hints, current news, and information about offers your company has going. Don’t let your content turn stale by setting up your small business website and then forgetting about it in a few weeks. Make it a portal of communication that keeps you connected with your customers.

Check the Navigation

Some small business web designs are so hard to navigate users get easily frustrated and leave the site never having made a purchase or inquiry. Run through the navigation set up considering how your visitors would think. Make sure links to other pages are relevant and user-friendly. Most importantly make sure all of the links work.

Make Contact

You should offer several locations and options for your customers or clients to reach you. Display your contact phone number on the home page as well as other pages throughout your website, especially when you employ a call to action – an enticement for your visitors to make a purchase – and have a contact page set up with your location, the areas you serve if applicable, an email contact, or an automated form where visitors can reach you.

Creating a small business web design can be a good learning experience but it is also a necessity for many businesses these days. A professional designer can help with the technical end of the design process and make relevant suggestions for improving on your ideas but ultimately the design, content, and though process behind your small business website design should be preplanned by the owner who knows their business best.

Drupal Web Design

Drupal is a content management system that has an open source and is free to use. It is written in the scripting language PHP and is used for about 1.5 percent of the websites currently available. These websites range from small blogs to large and complex government sites. The White House uses Drupal web design for its official website.

Drupal uses standard CMS features to allow for maintenance, RSS feeds, user registration, system administration functions and page layout among other functions. The code can be customized to be used as a blog, as a standard website, as a site for user-generated works and for Web forums. The system is called a content management framework because it has a modular design and an extensive array of plugins.

Drupal Modules

The addons that are used with Drupal are additions that are create for the community and distributed for free. These modules, nicknamed “contrib” modules, are available by the thousands. They can change the capabilities of a website, give it new features, change the way a site looks and alter the way it behaves.

The Benefits of Drupal

As with any CMS, there are a number of benefits to using the Drupal CMS. The programming interface is a dual system that allows for a high level of sophisticated customization by Web developers as well as a basic interface that allows anyone, even without programming skills, to install a website and to run it efficiently. This makes it easy for non-programmers to keep a site running after it has been customized by a designer. As long as the user knows how to use a basic Web browser, that user can run a Drupal-designed website.

The module addons are another major benefit to using Drupal Web design. With more than 11,000 of these to choose from, a site owner or designer can find exactly what they are looking for without having to design their own addon. These modules allow for virtually any type of website to be created with this CMS. There are even modules that make search engine optimization quicker and easier, making the SEO process easier for the owner.

The addons also allow for fast updating of the website without disturbing the rest of the site’s architecture. Adding a new feature requires adding a quick module instead of a complete rewrite of the site’s coding. This allows owners to change things around as they choose and to take out items that they no longer need without a lengthy site maintenance period.

Like WordPress, Drupal has thousands of free themes available for users. These are quick and easy design templates that can be changed out at any time without creating any changes in the site’s content. These themes can be further customized to create unique designs for your website that aren’t in use by any other site.

WordPress Web Design

WordPress is well known as a blogging platform and as a blog host, but increasingly it is also being used for web design for non-blog websites. It can be customized into use as a content management system that can then be designed for any use and with any layout. MySQL and PHP both power this open-source publishing platform.

The popularity of WordPress Web design has grown steadily in the eight years that it’s been around because it’s so easy to use and to customize. It is now used on 22 percent of the websites being created today and is the most popular content management system that is currently in use.

Using WordPress

WordPress Web design can be used in a number of ways to create a website. Its plug-in architecture makes it quickly customizable, but there is also a template system that makes design even faster. The many templates available for WordPress sites allow site owners and designers to choose from among thousands and thousands of custom templates.

WordPress themes are designs that can be used and switched as needed. These allow a web designer to switch the overall design of the site quickly and to keep the content on the site. The WordPress cPanel of the Dashboard can be used by the site owner or the Web designer creating the site to switch out the themes quickly and cleanly. This is often done to take advantage of new themes that are available or to update the look of a website. To change the theme to a more customized look, the coding in the theme can easily be edited to create the desired changes.

The Benefits of WordPress

The open-source code of WordPress is an immediate advantage that attracts many web developers. Because they can see the full source code, developers can get inside it and make the changes they need to quickly and easily. There is also a lot of existing documentation about working with WordPress Web design, making any troubleshooting, changes in coding, plug-in additions and other changes easier to perform.

WordPress updates itself. Users don’t have to stay on top of the changes or buy new software every time there is an updated version. WordPress is in continual development and releases regular updates to fix small problems and security issues quickly. When there is an updated version, you are notified and can get the this update with a simple click.

WordPress installation is known for its ease and user-friendly aspect. Installing it doesn’t take a lot of time, allowing sites to get up and available to users in little time. Even installing WordPress and customizing it doesn’t take long, allowing the site owner to have the site they need without losing out on customers that would have gone elsewhere without the site available to them.

Christmas Web Design and Email Marketing

2011 has been a great year for our design team, and we’re grateful to all of our clients for our continued growth.

As Christmas draws near, we’d love to share what we’re thankful for in the world of web design and email marketing. Websites and Web marketing are so successful because of the great strides in Web technology over the past few years. Here’s what we’re grateful for this Christmas:

1. Stable Internet connections: Remember the good ‘ol days of dial-up Internet that crashed every half an hour? You may have spent a Christmas or two trying to get connected while listening to that dial-up sound over and over again. Those were dark days for Web developers. We’re grateful that they’re over.

2. An end to the glittery websites of Christmases past: All of the mouse chasers, flashing glittery banners and loud music that made websites so annoying 10 years ago are no longer around. There are no more virtual cats to chase your cursor around the screen. We’ll always be thankful for that.

3. A truly international Internet: Until a few years ago, the Internet was mostly made up of people in a handful of countries. These days, our clients can be anyone, anywhere in the world. Even if you’re in an Antarctic research station, we can help you with your website.

4. Everyone is wired: Remember when you had to ask someone if they had an email address? And even if they had one, they might only check it once a month. If this were Christmas of 1998, email marketing wouldn’t have nearly the reach that it does now. We’re grateful that everyone is plugged into their email and that your marketing can get to anyone, anywhere with such reliability.

5. That Nigerian prince finally got his money: We’d been worried that he’d never find someone to help him get his family’s millions, but apparently he finally has. Whoever it is, enjoy the millions you got as your reward!

6. Meeting new challenges: With the fast pace of Internet technology, we get to take on amazing new challenges every day. Just five years ago imagine asking for someone to create a website and to optimize it so that customers could see easily see it on their phones. In another year or two, what will we be developing for clients? We are grateful that so many amazing developments have come along to keep Web design and marketing on the forefront of new technology. Maybe someday we’ll be developing sites that have special features when you’re sitting in a Martian crater.

7. Our clients: We’re grateful to everyone who has trusted us to deliver the best Web services for their needs and to get their businesses out there in front of the public. Have a great Christmas!