How Much Effort does Web Content Management Save?

There was once a time when a “web presence” may have meant a static HTML site with a few dozen links, a few banner ads, and a guest book. Now with the rich capabilities of modern devices, high speed internet and wireless networks, and a web economy that is based on traffic as much as it is based on direct sales, a website must be as dynamic as the modern online world. The number of technologies for building web technology (Javascript, Flash, MySQL, CGI,  PHP, Perl,  XHML, Python, JSP, JSF, Ajax, the list goes on and on)  is quite staggering, but the commonly occurring needs of an organization or a web business are usually centered on serving up pages or descriptions of items complete with imagery to the visitor. Furthermore, the explosion in social media has led to a need for greater networking and plug-in capability with the large well known sites. Let us break down what it would take to achieve a developer from scratch what is achieved by a web Content Management System (CMS).

A static website, one that simply displays text or images, is very easy to build with just knowledge of HTML or CSS, and more advanced websites can be created with Dreamweaver and other software suites. Updating these pages can be done manually, but doing so gets extremely time-consuming as a web page grows. A combination of PHP, JavaScript, and other technologies can make the user experience more interesting and cut out the ease of updating, and plugging into a backend database system such as MySQL can give the site much more value and cut down the cost to maintain given some initial development time. This is essentially the work that a ready-made CMS provides, and most can be installed with a single click and can take an experienced designer around $300 and a week of work to into professional shape.

However, there are circumstances in which a site developed from scratch may b e preferable, such as when the site provides an interesting and unique service that can’t be built easily with the templates offered by a CMS. In this case it could take months to develop a system similar in complexity to what a CMS provides. However, the issues that really make a CMS system shine through are maintenance and search engine optimization (SEO). Security, updates for the latest operating systems and mobile devices, and plug-ins for improved features and social network support are all developed by third parties, allowing the web developer and content manager to focus simply solely on maintaining the content. The cost and time savings during the operation of the site could be enormous and there should be as little down time as possible. As far as SEO is concerned, the techniques are numerous and a designer who chooses to work from scratch must be aware and able to implement all of them, but web CMS platforms are all pretty much optimized for SEO as far as th e design and framework portion of it is concerned.

Is a CMS the right web solution for you?

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