Choosing a CMS in 10 Steps

Picture this:  you have a great website contract, a stunning design, and everything is ready to roll. Except for one little problem: which content management system (CMS) should be used?

There’s no real right or wrong answer to this question, but it can certainly cause a lot of grief if you’re battling the technology rather than being assisted by it. So here’s a couple of handy pointers to help with the decision:

1. Blog or CMS?

If the website is primarily going to handle ‘posts’ – journal entries spread out in time – then a blog is more appropriate. If on the other hand you need to organise a quantity of more structured articles, such as sales literature or support documents, a CMS is going to be your best bet.

There’s actually a fair amount of crossover between blogs and CMS systems these days, but you may as well start out with a tool that’s specialised for the task at hand.

WordPress is becoming fairly ubiquitous for blogging, with a vast range of third-party themes and plugins available.

2. Self-hosted or cloud-hosted

‘CMS as a service’, where the software is pre-installed and ready to use, is becoming increasingly popular.  Available at a whole range of price points, from web-builder type software with pre-designed templates (such as Jimdo) right up to fully fledged business solutions. 

For blogging, there are popular pre-installed choices such as WordPress.com and Blogger.com.

If you are planning to write your own modules, in a language such as PHP or ASP.NET, or require bespoke database interaction, you’re probably going to require a self-hosted solution.  Popular solutions here include Joomla, Drupal, and Expression Engine.

Cloud-hosted CMS platforms usually benefit from being very quick and easy to set up, but it’s important to check what data backup procedures are in place since you most likely won’t have direct access to the hosting environment.

3. Programming Language

For cloud-hosted solutions this isn’t an issue, but if you’re installing it yourself the language the CMS is written in (as well as the database that persists it) is going to be an important factor – especially if the client already has a server they wish to use.

Popular choices here include PHP, ASP.NET, Java, and Ruby is spreading quickly too.

4. Built-In Features

You might find it useful at this stage to draw a spider diagram with ‘Website’ in the middle, and broad technical requirements on each of the spokes.  Keep going out until you’ve exhausted every possible situation.

Which CMS seems to fit the bill most closely?  The closer the match, the better.

Here’s a couple of the more obvious features:

Allow for easy management of articles, and the publication of new ones Upload and manage images and files Customisation of templates (whether in vanilla HTML or a scripting language such as PHP) Blogging or news-posting RSS feeds Embedding of custom HTML such as YouTube video or Google Maps Contact forms Galleries Website login accounts, with the ability to set user-only content E-commerce facilities Forum SEO tools such as meta and title tag control Permissions – the ability to allow only certain users to control certain articles or features Workflow tools – allowing a logical flow to the creation and approval of content Document lifecycle tools – keeping a record of all revisions made to a particular article
5. Page-centric or content-centric

Some CMSs have the ‘page’ as the unit of content.  In others, content exists in units independent of pages, with one or more content items being displayed on a particular page.

The former method is definitely easier to grasp, and works well if the website is relatively small or the end user is not technical.  The latter is more powerful, and can support ‘content-reuse’, where blocks of content can be reused on other pages or even websites in multi-site implementations.

6. Usability

Who is going to be using the CMS on a day-to-day basis?  If they’re not particularly technical then this is a crucial point, otherwise you will be inundated with support requests.

For example, not all CMS’s allow for WYSIWYG editing, meaning the user is going to have to learn either basic HTML or a similar in order to format their content.  Are they capable?  How much training will they require, and who’s going to perform that training?

Choose a CMS which is appropriate for the end-user.

7.  Support and Documentation

This is a crucial one too – how much support and documentation are available to you as a developer while you build the website?  You don’t want to be left high and dry with important deadlines to meet.

What are the ongoing support costs from the vendor, and does this cover software upgrades?

8. Compatibility

Most CMS systems run in the browser – it’s worth checking what operating system the end-user has, and what browser they have installed.  Unfortunately some corporate users may not have administrative permission to install the browser you wish they had!

Does the CMS need to interface with any other business software – the most obvious being Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software?  It’s definitely a bonus if after filling in an online contact form, the customer’s information is seamlessly imported into their CRM profile.

Thanks to XML and web services, the CMS can work as part of a larger whole rather than being a single silo of information.

9. Accessibility

It’s a legal requirement in many countries that a website is accessible to users with various disabilities such as visual impairment.  So be sure that your chosen CMS can publish content meeting relevant accessibility legislation.

Typically this means meeting the WCA guidelines with a double-A rating.

10. Advanced Features

Is your website going to be serving content in different languages, content that is targeted to a particular geographic region, or publishing content to multiple websites?  Does the CMS support the character set of all the target languages?

This makes the CMS implementation considerably more complex, and will narrow the choices quite considerably.

Summary

There are many factors to consider when choosing a CMS, and it’s not likely you’ll find a perfect match, particularly for more complex projects.  The key is to prioritise requirements and find a solution which offers the closest match.  I hope you’ve found the pointers above useful in choosing a CMS for your project.
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Joomla Designing – Add Flexibility to Your Websites

Joomla is being touted as the most suitable and user friendly open source content management system (CMS). It is used in web development as well as various corporate applications. It is a system that you can rely on and which can be easily installed and managed even by a non-technical person.

There is no dearth of software that are used to design websites but Joomla software stands out in comparison. Jooomla designing techniques make web development easy and convenient. Now, web designers are feeling a sense of relief as joomla web designing tools give them more options to design websites and add suitable features to them.

Joomla designing techniques can be used in varied portals and newsletters, which are used to explain a company’s objectives in a very effective way. Now you can design a website that are easy on your eye and easily extendable within a short span of time using joomla. The best part of joomla designing is that websites created using this technique are easily located by the search engines.

Joomla web designing is becoming extremely popular in the online industry because online businesses are now able to get websites designed that are customer friendly. Websites created using this technique are far more user friendly than websites created otherwise.

You can easily maintain and update your website by adding or deleting new web pages, all thanks to joomla. It being an open source, you are not charged any licensing fee. Joomla’s functionality can be further extended to create anything ranging from a brochure website to interactive membership website.

Joomla templates add flexibility to websites. You can easily change the overall look of your websites without having to redo it all over again. The whole graphic design can be changed within seconds without having to make any modifications in the website content.

You can also create your websites using joomla web designing without taking help from web designers. You can load it up and see for yourself how it works. You are bound to replace all your other software with joomla if you want to create websites that are more functional and fabulous than websites designed using other techniques.
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how to move my joomla website from one server to another ? ?

hi all ,
i have an old joomla website , and want to move the site to the new fast servers i just bought, but the problem is that joomla uses database, and its not all about copying files from directory to another in the other server,,,

my question is , how exactly do i copy the database to the new server ?

i am defenitly not gonna add the post one by one !!! because there is more than 5000 posts in the website already , and this gonna take month for me if i add them one by one ..

please help me with alot of details

thanks
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Is there a joomla component for direct marketing & Affiliates?

Good evening all,

I an very new to the Joomla! Game. After much research, I have discovered that Joomla! just may be the best option for what I want to accomplish as for my site.

However, there was one thing that was missing…maybe, Direct Marketing Capability.

I am looking for an extension that would allow for upsells as well as affiliate/ppc tracking. I want to be able to pay those who are driving traffic & Sales to my site (once it’s up) for assisting me.

I also want to be able to upsell someone to the next product after they have bought one.

Is there a component out there that will do it.

I greatly appreciate all the help.

Carl
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Should I Use a Content Management System?

Once upon a time, most websites were created as a static product, one that contained different types of code that made management a total nightmare. That code – using JavaScript, Flash, HTML – was very difficult for many web servers to handle. If you were a web geek, like me, you took the time to learn all the coding techniques that, hopefully, added to you resume, thus fattening your bank account. Plus, without proprietary software and training, these documents were virtually uneditable by site owners. You had to keep someone like me “on the payroll” to make periodic updates and changes. Consequently, they were expensive to maintain so, unless a site owner could handle the task, someone with the skill, knowledge and software had to be hired to perform the necessary maintenance.

Therefore, a need existed to create a system on the “back end” where site owners could perform maintenance activities such as copy replacement, image replacement and add to the existing content without knowing any difficult coding. New technology, called Content Management System, or CMS, was developed. At the core of the system is employment of a database where the user can store content – copy and images – to retrieve and edit. Every site page is stored as simple text. The system converts this simple text into the appropriate HTML and JavaScript when a visitor lands on the page. The system also allows for the integration of a variety of features such as interactive event calendars, log ins with user names and passwords, news feeds, blogs, photo galleries and more.

If you are experiencing a great deal of difficulty maintaining a static site, it may be time to “upgrade” to one that can be controlled through a Content Management System. Here are some of the problems associated with a static website that if you recognize as aggravating, might be that sure indication it is time for a change:

Problems

-You have no control concerning updates and either need to go through your designer/host or not make any at all
-There is no search function available on your site to allow users to find specific content
-Limited features – if any – like logins, contact or request forms, forums, blogs, mailing lists, calendars ort other interactive features that elevate the level of user-friendly available content

Solutions

-Install an open source Content Management System (CMS)
-Transfer all your available content to the new system
-Learn how to use the system to perform your own maintenance (Can you use Word?)

So, what are the benefits from using a CMS?

First, you gain the ability to manage, update, change add or delete your own content. Additionally, through use of a CMS, you will be displaying content that conforms to present web standards. Which is important. Using current web standards will increase your accessibility allowing for your content to not become obsolete. Whenever an upgrade is issued for the CMS, installation is normally but a “click” allowing your site to stay in web compliance. Furthermore, CMS has embedded site search capabilities.

Ted Smolkowicz
KAT-enterprises.com
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The Upside of Using Joomla

There are a number of websites available on internet that offers to manage and control the entire content for your website and one among them that offers to manage content to the websites is the Joomla website. This software is free of cost plus allows you to create a website by offering the templates that are ready to use. Excluding this, this software also manages and controls the content of your website. This is only reason why most people are selecting Joomla software over others. If you want to know about content management needs then here goes

Here are some of the reasons why you have to prefer other than Joomla software for the content management

This CMS is available in various languages other than English. This is a great help for using Joomla all across the globe.

Other than English, this CMS is available in many other languages. Usage of Joomla with the help of other languages is of great help across the globe. Though, maintaining a website is not an easy task but it is easy to maintain the websites that are created with the help of Joomla. The website maintaining professional feels that maintaining a website is quite a task. You will be able to maintain the websites yourself with the help of functionality and application of Joomla. The Joomla can update itself and it is this functionality that is very much helpful and the need of hiring the professional to maintain the website will not arise.

If you are still confused and not able to make a decision about using or not to use Joomla then you are definitely wasting your precious time. This software can be operated very easily. This software provides Joomla user guide for the beginners. The Joomla user guide contains Joomla help and Joomla tutorials, which help the beginners to start on. You can even use the Joomla tutorials video to know more about Joomla.

Whatever information you want about Joomla, the Joomla user guide will help you. The user guide contains elaboration on concepts and step by step information that will be useful for the starters. The Joomla video can be used to learn Joomla if you are not comfortable with reading the user guide. While learning about Joomla, the video will give you an interactive feeling and if you are not a kind of self learner, you can go with the Joomla training,

For using Joomla you need to release your apprehensions around the limited knowledge that you have about putting up a website or managing your content. As the reason of Joomla being into existence is to help people putting up the website and to manage the content of the website with the limited deft around the same. It is only about an initial kick start, once you pass that stage, by using Joomla you would feel that you know all about CMS.
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How to Find a Great Joomla Host

Joomla is getting more and more popular these days, which is exactly why it is so important to find a Web host that is Joomla friendly. If you are using Joomla, and are planning on starting up a new website then one of the first things you are going to need to do is locate a good host to go with. There are a few basic things to be on the lookout for when finding the right Joomla hosting company. Here are some things to look for in any prospective Joomla hosting company. Since downtime can be a major deterent to return traffic, you’ll want to be sure that you’re going with a host that’s reliable.

Looking online at major search engines is the first thing you can do. At this point you’ve probably now found thousands of different ptotential hosts. Now you have to figure out how to narrow this list down. Well, this leads right into the next step, which is research.

Research is the most important step in the process. Keep these things in mind when doing your research.

– You should visit some forums and see what the discussions are saying. If possible, start a thread asking others on the forum about what Web hosts will accept Joomla, and then ask them if they have any experience with a good one. If you find someone who has used one that you are thinking of, post again asking them more detailed questions! They will not mind. After all, that is what the forum is for!

– Read some customer reviews. Find websites that review a lot of different Web hosts, and make sure that the ones you are looking into will support Joomla. There are a lot of Web hosts out there, and it can be confusing, so know what you are looking for!

– Avoid affiliate sites. These sites do not care about your website, they only care about who clicks on the links and earns them a couple pennies for each one. These sites will tell you anything to get you to click, so just avoid them altogether. They are not worth the trouble.
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Joomla PhP help/Backend?

I have designed every bit of graphic for a apartment rental site but do not have a back end, yet so I am not published to the internet. I am looking into downloading Joomla or something along those FREE lines that I can edit and publish my website with. But quite honestly I need to know how I can categorize apartments by their price, size, location, city, state, and have them come back in a search result. I know for a fact it is not hard and there are many free CMS programs out there. I just do not understand that entire aspect of them and web developing. I need some one to explain how I can affordably have a functioning apartment rental site. So far i have been quoted between 1,400 – 10,000 for this. Which we all know is out of control for what I am looking for. Please help me out here!
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How To Use WordPress As Your CMS

WordPress is a fantastic Content Management System, but as it is set up by default more to be a blogging platform, many users initially get a little discouraged. This article will look at how to get the most out of WordPress as a fully fledged CMS.

WordPress

WordPress started life in May 2003 as a pure blogging platform. The CMS is open-source, and comes in two forms, the hosted wordpress.com version, and the self hosted wordpress.org version, which allows any user to install WordPress on their own domain. As its primary job is to be a blogging platform much of the back end is constructed in such a way to make life easy for bloggers. Features such as quick comment replies, approvals, and managing authors, make the platform ideal for any blogger. Also new content gets added using “New Post”, or “New Page”. You will also notice that most themes default to publish content in reverse chronological order, standard in the blogging world. This is all very blogger oriented, and if you are looking to use the platform as an alternative to static HTML pages for a business website, much of this doesn’t interest you at all.

What makes WordPress a Great CMS

Well now we have looked at all the features that might discourage you from using WordPress as a CMS if you are not a blogger, lets look at some of the good features. Firstly the back-end of WordPress is very well designed and very easy to use. Everything is easy to find, and well laid out. Secondly, WordPress has thousands of free and premium themes available. This is the major strength, you can easily design a professional looking site with little to no coding knowledge. In recent times, there are becoming many more themes that are aimed at different purposed other than blogging. Many themes offer features such as category based formatting, static HTML pages, and other functionality which make it ideal for your business websites. The third benefit comes in the form of plug-ins and widgets. WordPress has literally thousands of plug-ins, many of which completely transform the platform for different purposes. So if you have a project in mind, research plug-ins and I am sure you will find something which can help you in adding valuable functionality to your site.
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Joomla CMS – Why Do People Use It?

Joomla is an open-source software that runs on a web server. It is a Content Management System, which allows multiple users to access, create and manage content. There are different Content Management Systems available, both commercial and free, and Joomla can be considered to be one of the most popular ones.

There are a few reasons why Joomla is so popular. Cost is one big factor. You can’t get it for any cheaper, because it’s free. Anyone can download and use Joomla without worrying about licensing costs. You can install it on as many servers as you like, and on as many domains as you wish. This appeals to individuals and businesses with tight budgets.

But big companies may have reasons of their own for using Joomla. Being an open-source framework means that web sites and applications built on it can be maintained and enhanced in future by anyone. This is especially true if external developers are hired to build the sites. Companies are free to engage other developers to do further work on the sites in future because there is no lock-in. There is no proprietary technology or framework to force the companies to engage the original developers again.

The versatility of Joomla is greatly increased by the usage of extensions. A Joomla extension is a software that runs within the Joomla environment to add additional functionality. Chances are, if you require a functionality that the standard install doesn’t provide, you may be able to find an extension that can do the job for you. Some of the most popular extensions are free, and if you are not able to find a free one to suit your purpose, see if you can find a commercial extension that can fit. While commercial extensions do come with a price, they are usually far cheaper than hiring a developer to build an extension from scratch for you.

If you have not given Joomla a try, now is a good time as any to do it. There is no cost to it other than your learning time. Once you have mastered the basics of using Joomla, be sure to check out what the various extensions can do for you.
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