Content Management System
Back in the early days of the internet, the way you created web content was to get out your favorite text editor, write HTML code from scratch and upload your .html files through your FTP program. And the really hard part was when you wanted to make site-wide changes. You would have to spend hours updating, or “find and replacing” snippets of code and re-uploading your files again.
Fast forward to today, and manual website updates are much easier thanks to content management systems.
A Content Management System is:
Website software that makes it easy to create, edit and organize your website content.
There are hundreds (maybe thousands) of solutions available. Here are some of the globe’s favorites:
We highly recommend WordPress because it’s incredibly easy to use. However, it’s regularly hacked (due to it’s overwhelming popularity) and has some SEO issues that should be resolved upon installation. Call us for help with SEO optimization of WordPress.
Note: A slightly confusing thing about WordPress is that there are two types of WordPress blogging platforms. One is the online version at WordPress.com. WordPress.com allows you to sign up for a free WordPress.com blog and they host the blog. The second version (Self Hosted) is WordPress software, where you download .php software and install it on your own web hosting. Self hosted WordPress software is 100% free.
From a search engine and online marketing perspective, we prefer the self hosted WordPress option because it gives you more control of your own website.
- The WordPress Website: wordpress.org
- WordPress Download: Download WordPress here.
- Plugins: The real power behind WordPress are the thousands of plugins that are available that allow you to do just about anything. From simple contact forms, to Facebook and Twitter share buttons – this is the main reason to choose WordPress: you can get a website up and running and almost any functionality you need has probably been solved by a plugin. Most plugins are very easy to install. Visit the WordPress plugin webpage here.
We’ve found that Joomla! is fairly easy to use and pretty malleable. However, since it’s not as popular as WordPress or Drupal it is harder to find plugins and good support. Joomla! is also 100% free and requires you to download it and install it on your own web hosting.
Drupal is a beast. There are very few instances where we would recommend Drupal. It’s not very intuitive and requires high level developer support. The good thing about Drupal is that it can do anything. Meaning it can act as a heavy duty eCommerce website or function as a simple blog.
I’m sure people will fight tooth and nail over Drupal. But time after time, we have seen development teams get burnt out on Drupal and quickly realize WordPress would have been a much easier choice.
OScommerce is probably the internet’s first open source shopping cart software. Despite it being “ancient” it’s does the job for those who need a shopping cart. However it does require a lot of developer support. Early versions are quite hard to make SEO friendly.
Since OScommerce, hundreds of eCommerce solutions have been developed.
We highly suggest before you invest time, money and energy into an eCommerce system, to see how far you can get with Paypal Buy Now buttons. Paypal Buy Now buttons are very easy to use and are the perfect solution for light eCommerce or small selections of inventory.
Immediately after OScommerce was released, people realized that there MUST be an easier solution for open source ecommerce software. A group of people branched off to make Zencart.
PHPBB is a free open source bulletin board (forum) solution. It is one of the first and longest running forum solutions.