Content Management Systems – A Look at Drupal

It is generally held that there is a “big three” of content management systems: WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Each one of these platforms is open source, built from PHP, easy to install on a host or web server, and is extensible with themes and third-party extensions. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses, but out of the three the award for greatest out-of-the box customizability goes to Drupal. A designer or administrator that is skilled in Drupal can provide a great deal of quality and features in a relatively short time. This CMS also has a bit of a learning curve but it has much value as a flexible and powerful platform that it is well worth mastering.

Drupal started out as a message board backend made by a Belgian developer named Dries Buytaert but became an open source project in 2003. Since then it has evolved due to a very dedicated developer community. It is used by roughly 808,000 sites worldwid e, including www.whitehouse.gov.

Development and administration for Drupal does not take formal programming experience, though it may help because much can be done with a knowledge of the Drupal API and the administrator can place “blocks” that define the regions of the webpage and embed them with HTML and even straight PHP code. Anyone who is familiar with open source communities such as Linux, Perl, and Python would feel at home within the large and dynamic community of Drupal developers that are always providing fixes, improvements, and modules that extend the power of the system and reduce need for new development.

Thanks to the 20,100 modules developed by the community, common functions such as eCommerce, social media, email subscriptions, and many more can be easily integrated into a website with just a quick download and install. Better yet, the administrator dashboard for Drupal lists all dependencies and versions needed for the modules and displays which require updates. This helps with securing a Drupal site because it is easy to stay up to date with security patches.

Choosing the Right Content Management Systems For Any Site

Many sites today utilize a content management system for various reasons. A CMS can help your site get running quick; a CMS organizes and maintains data easily for webmasters and visitors; and, many systems are extensible with a wide variety of third-party plugins, widgets, and applications. With such powerful benefits, choosing to use a CMS seems standard anymore; but, which CMS is right to choose?

What is needed from a Content Management System

First it would be appropriate to know what is needed from the content management system. Does the site need to be able to provide streaming content like videos, or will content storage need to be supported by specific databases? Is there a specific language needed that the developers are more proficient? What kind of license is needed – Open Source or proprietary?

These are some important questions to consider along with any other project specific concerns. Wikipedia provides a large list of content management systems, but many sites use WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal. These three are Open Source licensed systems.

Benefits of WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal

Using a CMS that is common with many other sites gives the added benefits of being provided additional software that the community has developed. This includes themes, plugins, and other addons to extend service and performance from the CMS.

WordPress

WordPress is an easy-to-set-up, easy-to-use CMS. It is designed around PHP and allows the configuration of themes and extensions. Computerworld.com states that it has over 21,000 plugins. It has been in existence since May 2003 so has a large community of support. Development follows a hierarchy and allows quicker implementation of official decisions.

WordPress does have some problems. It’s multimedia support for videos and other media is subpar. Mobile usage is still being developed for greater efficiency and easier use.

Joomla

Joomla is another CMS based on PHP. It expands beyond MySQL databases into PostgreSQL and Microsoft SQL Server. It is more integrated for mobile device usage. The design of Joomla is to allow webmasters limited on time to create a full functioning website for many different platforms with limited needed maintenance.

Joomla may be a little difficult for some to initially acclimate. This process however is countered by another large and supportive community.

Drupal

Drupal has a more technical-based community. It is designed for larger projects with nearly 20,000 plugins. It is designed to be very flexible in the needs of site usage. The community is quite large and helpful.

This flexibility in Drupal can be a problem for some who are not as technically savvy. It can be worth though to learn how to use this software as it can be designed to work for many needs like multimedia or interactive web apps.

In summary, finding the best Content Management System for any site depends on the needs of the site and the understanding of the webmaster. For quicker and easier setups, WordPress is a great place to start. For a little more involved site for desktop and mobile performance, Joomla can provide the tools needed for the job. For sites that require a custom look and feel for visitors, Drupal can give the structure needed to begin.

What You Should Know About Content Management System Benefits

Content management systems have changed how websites are created on the Internet. In the past, in order to build a website, you have to learn coding in HTML. You had to code each page by hand. If you mis-coded a tag, it could throw your whole page out of whack. With a content management system, you do not need to learn to all that coding. A website is based on a template which you can fill out to create a page. There are many more benefits to using a content management system in creating your website. Continue to read to learn more.

As mentioned, back in the early days, websites were only built by people with skills in HTML. The task of website building often fell upon professional web developers and programmers. Any content change would need to be done by them. This was fine for a company who can have a web developer on the staff. However, for small companies who cannot afford to hire one, staffers either learn it themselves, or they contract out the job. Still, there was no easy way to do simple content updates.

When content management systems were developed, the goal was to make is easier for people to update their websites without involving a programmer. The web developer constructs the template on which the website is built. Specific people are assigned the rights to edit content. Editing content only requires filling in the template and posting the updates. This has vastly improved the efficiency of website management as content can be updated in a more timely manner, and the responsibility can be shared among many people.

Another benefit to using content management systems is that enhancements are available as modules, or plug-ins. For instance, if you want add a calendar, you can probably find a plug-in that can install that for you without needing you to do any coding. These plug-ins can be used across many websites which reduces the need to recode something that already exists. Extending the functionality of a website is never easier.

Using a content management system to build websites offers you the benefit of collaboration. Several people can be working on it at the same time. Changes are revisions are tracked so there is no fear of content getting accidentally overridden.

A website built from a content management system can easily integrate the latest social media widgets to extend its functionality even further. RSS feeds can be generated. Updates on the website can be fed to social media platforms like Facebook. This reduces time required in manually updating each different channel.

These are the types of content management system benefits that make this such a smart choice in website development. Knowing HTML is still very relevant. In fact, if you know enough HTML, you can customize your CMS-based website even more. But if you just want to be able create a page or make content changes on your own, using a content management system is the answer.

Top 4 benefits of implementing an intranet software solution for your business

One of the biggest pain-points and most overlooked issues in a business, organization, and life in general is human communication. As humans, we have the basic need to communicate with each other in order to build relationships, exchange ideas, and feel a sense of belonging. A business most important component is internal and external communication and sadly, this is where most businesses need improvement on. Think about it, when there’s a missed deadline, overlooked assumptions and risks, poor quality, unclear expectations, etc; it all stems from poor communication between stakeholders involved.

Communication improvement in a business or organization starts by improving internal communication and one great tool to achieve this goal is to implement an intranet software solution. An intranet facilitates communication between people and improves data sharing and overall knowledge base of an organization’s employees.

If you are not sure whether implementing an intranet software solution is going to help your business, please read the following four benefits that will surely enhance the overall communication in your organization.

1. Improving internal communication and collaboration.

This is probably the most important benefit your business will receive from having an intranet software solution by promoting a culture of information exchange and collaboration. The intranet becomes the central hub and starting point for all users to find information they need that make their jobs easier and save time. Different departments in your organization can use the intranet as a tool to coordinate efforts and manage projects, minimizing duplication of efforts.

2. Promoting a paperless environment.

Intranet software will help your business become more “Green” by reducing the amount of paper-based processes and documentation and also reducing the costs associated with printing and storing of hardcopy documents. Policies and procedures manuals, employee handbook, training handbooks, staff directory, and several other documents and reports can be shared electronically from one central location through intranet software.

3. Centralizing corporate content.

One of the biggest productivity drops in an organization is when employees have to stop what they are currently working on to search for information that is critical to finalize a task or project. Most of the time, employees have to find out where they can obtain this information from by searching the internet or asking around the office. An intranet provides employees with a central hub for corporate content allowing them to focus more on their jobs rather than digging for information.  Intranets improve employee productivity by acting like self-service stations and empowering users with the ability to find the information they’re after without having to rely too heavily on others.

4. Contributing to employee retention

It is critical that employees feel a sense of belonging as part of the team and the only way to do this is by improving the quality of communication. With an intranet software, you can keep your entire team updated and in the loop with company news and events. It is a fact that employees stay with companies that have excellent communication with their entire team.

What other benefits can you think of when implementing an intranet software solution?

Businesses Use Document Management Systems To Keep Their Documents Organized

Who uses document management systems?

You’ve probably not heard of document management systems, unless you work within an organization that already has one. It’s not a system that is very popular with consumers as they don’t have much daily use for it. It is, however, very integral to businesses that store files and need an easy what to management them all.

These are some attributes of document management systems. Not all systems have all of the features listed. You should verify with the solutions you are looking at.

Document imaging
Text search
Multi-user access
Backup and restore

The better DMS’s will have these features

The will focus mainly on documents, although some will be able to store other file types, such as images, movies, etc.

Documents can be grouped together.

The DMS will allow you to archive documents and even place expiration dates on them.

A very powerful feature is being able to integrate a business’ workflow into the management of these documents.

Good DMS’s will have many levels of security. It will be able to secure a single document, groups and/or folders of documents, and many other types of security.

Some DMS’s will excel at providing web page views for each document.

An important aspect to note is that there is not really any relationship among documents, not in the same way content management systems would have.

There is some overlap with other management systems, such as content management systems, enterprise content management systems, digital asset management, and document imaging. It’s important to know the difference among each one if you are thinking of adding any of them into your organization.

Image credit: Grace

Content Management Systems – The Rise And Popularity Of WordPress

WordPress owns 15% market share

15 out of 100 domains on the Internet today are powered by WordPress, one of the content management systems available on open source. That means that the code is readable. You can see the entire programming logic of how a WordPress website is built.

Advantages of an open source CMS

The great advantage to open source is that it invites any and all web developers to contribute to the code. Doing this allows the best of the best minds in php, mysql, and javascript to volunteer their time.

Additionally, there are plenty of plugins available that one can use to enhance the default WordPress setup. You can do anything from install caching capabilities, automate backups, send your content to your social network accounts, etc. The list goes on.

Ease of use result in popularity

As a result of this widespread support from the developer community, WordPress has come be accepted by the wide consumer masses. It’s very easy to install a WordPress site. You simply download the script to your domain directory. Unzip the file, create a database and add your database credentials to the configuration file.

After that, you type in the URL of your domain and create an admin user account. The CMS will do the rest and populate the database and then provide you with access to the control panel. From here, choose your theme, install your plugins, and start posting. You can do this within minutes.

Cost-effective CMS

With all that you did in the previous steps, there never was any mention to hire outside help. You were not told to look for a web designer or programmer. That’s because WordPress takes care of all of that. Creating your website is fast, simple, and free.

Web Content Management Systems Keep Pace With Users

Traditional websites vs. CMS

Websites that are not run on a web content management system (CMS) are quickly falling behind. These sites simply cannot keep up with the publishing demands of web users. If you are going to have a website, do yourself a favor and consider one built on a CMS.

Advantages of web content management systems

Content management systems have come a long way in the last 10 years. Today, these systems allow for heavy-scale collaboration. CMS’s have the capability to allow multiple users to access the same document, while maintaining revision control.

They are fast, too. Data storage and retrieval gets faster with each new update to the software. Web visitors don’t have to wait long to start viewing the content they request.

Efficiency is the key to having a CMS. The code is efficient. It loads images, text, video, audio, files, and other media formats quickly.

Additionally, CMS design can make a website completely unique from another website. Templates and themes allow for one’s personal style come out. Your brand will not be sacrificed. Instead, it will be re-iterated on all pages, because of the CMS’s ability to deliver uniform design throughout the website. Not only is your brand delivered consistently, but so are text, images, videos, and audio.

CMS’s keep pace with consumer demand

Internet users continue to demand more and more content. Content marketing on social sites is a trend that may businesses are embracing. With special code add-ons (called plugins), your site can syndicate your web content to these social network and sharing sites. You can post your content on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, web-based blogging platforms, etc.

With how far CMS’s have come, it’s easy to set up your very own web content management system.

 

Document management systems help office efficiency

In an effort to be environmentally responsible, most workplaces are going toward paperless offices. Physical filing cabinets are disappearing and workstations are replacing them.

Everything that ever went inside a folder in the cabinet drawer now goes inside a folder online for storage. Unless a document management system is in place, some – or all – of this material will be lost forever.

The Paperless Office

The time has finally come to embrace a paperless office. The numbers of people working remotely is rising around the world. Company headquarters could be miles away.

document management system would allow certain workers to access information from a remote location. Keeping this in mind, today’s paperless office will likely be tomorrow’s people-less office making document management very important.

The world is moving toward this scenario faster than ever. Issues of privacy and security are best in the hands of experts who can develop a working document management system. This is the tool that firms and companies use to organize vital information and keep it safe and secure.

On the Road to Office Efficiency

When a document retrieval system is tracking correctly from the beginning, workers with access should be able to obtain needed information quickly and efficiently. A document management operation tracks files and has ability to speed completion of projects. Office efficiency and productivity increases when information is easily accessible.

The hardest decision will be the choice of firm to change physical documents into copies. Some firms specialize in industry storage and retrieval while others employ specialists from each industry to supervise the transition process. The hiring of a firm to undertake this transition will be contingent upon the depth of security the information requires.

Meaningful Process

A document management system has the objective of environmental responsibility and office efficiency. The depth of security must match industry standards and appropriate levels of confidentiality. Certain parts of the process apply to each document:

  • Scan physical document into system
  • Devise and use a document management system beneficial to both the industry and the company under conversion
  • Name and label folders to identify documents

Healthcare and technology are two of the most vulnerable industries that demand protection. Decisions for clearance of certain individuals need thoughtful determination as to who has access to certain documents.

Additional procedures that most document management systems provide are:

  • Follow historical lineage of any document
  • Bring together individual files, form a relationship between them and establish a coded folder that is easy to find
  • Identify and link documents
  • Give new folders unique codes indicating the security level that accompanies it

System access is available to workers at various security levels and only those workers know the code for their level. CMS Crunch document management service helps to implement the system and can establish efficiency within an organization. The result is a higher level of productivity, which is evident to clients, patients or customers.

Web Content Management: Maintaining Control Over Your Pages

If you are the owner of a website, you are probably going to be posting plenty of information on that site. Oftentimes, this information is going to be similar and related since most websites are focused on a particular topic. This is why it is important that you use web content management to make sure you always know what you have already posted.

As a website manager, you need to know that there are certain limitations to how many pages you can realistically manage on your own. If you do not have some control over this, you are doomed to fail into the trap of not being able to keep the content fresh and the Internet users viewing your material. A survey taken by CMSwire writer Robert Jacoby found the following about how many web pages people believed a single individual could manage:

Responses indicated most content managers work on small or medium-sized websites. The single largest category was sites with less than 1,000 Web pages.

These are important findings because they show that most people agree that there is a limit to how many web pages one person can really manage by themselves, and that limit seems to be under 1,000 according to most people. These are good reasons to establish web content management for the websites that you manage. If the amount of pages that you control starts to get high enough, you might start to feel overwhelmed, and that is not a place you want to be.

With web content management, you are helping to make sure that the pages that you do have are not becoming so repetitive that people are not going to want to read them. At the same time, it is helpful in making sure that you are keeping fresh content on all of your pages and not letting any of them be forgotten.

Keeping Your Information Secure With Document Management Systems

Information security is a top concern for any business. Paper documents can be subject to loss or theft. It can be challenging if not impossible to secure physical paper documents. The best document management systems provide multiple layers of security to safeguard documents. Following are some of the security features that good document management systems should provide.

One keystone in a secure document management system is a structure for granting access. This means that employees would be allowed to only view or edit documents that pertain to their position. Some employees may be permitted to only view documents while others might be allowed to edit.

Another important component of a good document management system is its anti-virus, firewall and anti-spyware software. This software will provide continuous protection from internet related security threats such as computer viruses and hackers. Regular software updates will address any new security threats.

Data encryption will help to protect data as it is transmitted over the network. Data backups will ensure that valuable data can be restored in the event of a disaster.

In addition to the security features provided by the electronic document management system, there are steps that businesses can take to protect their data. Some of these are; creating organizational policies, conducting periodic security reviews and employee security training.

Organizational policies will help define who should have access to what data. As an example, a data entry person should not need access to accounts payable information. A graphic designer should only need access to photos and advertising copy. These policies should also address how often passwords need to be changed.

It is a good idea to review security procedures on a regular basis. This can help an organization to improve its security policies and protocols.

Employee security training is an essential part of a good security plan. Training should cover individual security measures such as logging out of the system when a person leaves their station. Employees should know how often to change their passwords, and how to create secure passwords. They should also be instructed not to write down passwords.

Investing in a good document management system is a crucial first step toward document security. The next step is creating organizational policies and practices that enhance security. A business that takes both of these steps will be well on its way toward protecting that most valuable asset, its data.