Manage your own Site – Content Management Systems

A new way to manage your website

Hyperactive Designs Content Management Systems.

Wordpress Content Management System

What is a Content Management System?

Before the advent of the Content Management System such as WordPress or Drupal, if you wanted a web site you would employ a Web Development Company such as Hyperactive Designs to design, build and implement your web site.  This site would be built with a combination of html, javascript and a server side scripting language such as php or asp.  Once built the site would be static, meaning any updates or changes would have to be completed by the Web Development company.

The downside of this paradigm are many.

  • Firstly, in the modern world of search engines and seo static content will cost you in rankings.  Your site may rank well for awhile but if the content does not change it will, ultimately, slip down the search engine rankings making your site hard to find.
  • Secondly, updates, even minor ones such as phone number changes, can become prohibitively expensive.  Each change has to be submitted to the Web Development company and coded into the site. This can take time and be frustrating both for the Web Development company and the client.
  • Extendability of the site can be expensive and difficult.  If you wish to add modules to your site such as a shopping cart or product catalog this would require the Web Development company to custom code these modules for your site.  The hours required to develop these add-ons from scratch and be prohibitively expensive.  You want your site to grow and expand as quickly as your business does.
  • Lastly, as each site is custom coded to the individual Web Development companies coding standards it can be difficult to find a new developer to maintain your site.  If, for any reason you wanted to leave your current developer and find a new one it may be difficult to find one that supports the propietary code of your original developer.

So What’s the alternative?

Well, you’ve probably already guessed it from the title of the page.  A Content Management System or CMS.

A CMS is a frame work built to provide a fully featured web site with out the expensive programming.  A good content management is Open Source and is based on widely used programming principles.  It is easy to install and easy to maintain.

The advantages of a good CMS are:

  • Content is easily edited and maintained by the client.  With the use of a simple editor the client can change or rewrite anything from a phone number to a whole page of text and images.  This means that the site will have constantly changing content which will translate into better search engine rankings.  It makes it easier for the the client to engage their own clients with new and useful information thus encouraging your clients to return to the site. For a blog or web magazine type site the advantages here are obvious but even for smaller business, new content does translate into increased sales and returning customers.
  • Site maintenance and updates will cost you nothing.  Instead of paying a Web Developer to maintain  your site, you do it yourself thus saving you money.
  • The major CMS are maintained by thousands of programmers and enthusiasts.  This makes extending and expanding your site a breeze. Want a shopping cart? Then someone has already written one.  Find it, install it, style it and its done.  Same with galleries, booking software, event calendars or just about anything you can think of.  If a plugin does not exist that meets all your requirements then it is much cheaper to develop as it can be built on standard features already built into the CMS.
  • As above, there are hundreds of thousands of users and programmers supporting the larger Content Management Systems.  This means that if you should happen to want to change developers or even change hosting companies the transition will be as simple as picking up the phone.

If it’s all so simple what am I paying you for?

Good question.  Even though a good CMS is open source and free to download if you do it yourself you will have a standard install with little or no functionality and no individuality.  What we do is completely redesign the interface to brand the site to your company. Remember, your web site is your shop front.  It is often the first point of contact your clients will have with you, if it looks cheap then you may lose them.  We custom design the site to your individual needs.  We custom code and integrate all the separate parts into s single coherent interface.  We also custom code any plugins or addons that aren’t publicly available.  We also program the site to be responsive, that means it’s mobile friendly and resizes automatically to fit tablets and mobile phones.  Remember that 70% of users are now accessing the internet through either a tablet or mobile phone so if your site doesn’t look good on these devices you may be missing out on a large portion of your customer base.

Once we finish designing and implementing your site, we train you how to use it and your expenses are done.  You can go away, maintain the site  yourself and save on expensive updates.

So What’s the bests CMS?

Now there’s a question that’ll have us computer geeks arguing for hours.  You’ll get as many answers to that question as there are Content Management Systems.  Each IT professional will have his or her preference and it can come down to which one that particular person is more familiar with.  The honest truth is that the major players are all very good and in the end it comes down to the skill of the individual developer to harness the full power of the system.

There are a few things we think are important when selecting a CMS

  • Open Source, here at Hyperactive Designs we support open source projects.  Not only does it keep costs down it ensures there are thousands of developers supporting the platform
  • PHP based.  Now this one might be a little bit more controversial but we have our reasons.  A very large portion of the internet is run by linux servers nearly all of which run PHP.  We use PHP because it is, by far, the most widely supported language in use by Web Developers.  Sure there are other languages, some better than others, Ruby and asp to name two but if you were to lose your developer for any reason finding a replacement programmer for these languages can be problematic and expensive, there just aren’t as many out there.
  • Extensibility.  The CMS must be widely supported.  it’s no good using one if there are no plugins and the system can’t be easily upgraded.  Further the bigger platforms get constant and timely security and bug updates.

Why the WordPress Content Management System?

For these reasons we do much of our work based on WordPress.  WordPress in a mature fully featured CMS that can be extended simply and easily for whatever your needs may be.  It is the most widely supported CMS on the market and even Google have admitted that WordPress has been instrumental in making PHP the defacto language of the internet.

At Hyperactive Designs we know WordPress inside and out.  We’ve gotten down to the nuts and bolts of the platform and there isn’t much we can’t do with it.  We’re not saying the WordPress is right for every project but in our opinion it is the most fully featured CMS out there.

Wordpress Content Mangement System