Customizing Content Management Systems

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Web Sites can never be considered complete. Regular content updates are necessary if you hope to benefit from the existence of your web site.

It becomes difficult to keep going back to your designer to get content updates on your web site and if HTML is definitely not your cup of tea then you should consider using a Content Management System also known as CMS in the digital world.

There are two options available to you when you are looking for a Content Management System. One is that you have your web designer create a Content Management System for you. The other option is that you pick up a ready-to-use content management system and make some changes to customize it to your requirements. Most small to medium sized businesses choose to use a ready-to-use Content Management System so that they can keep the cost of development within limits and be ready to use the software within a couple of days.

Most ready-to-use content management systems are simple to implement and require some changes to make it match your web site. Customization of an existing Content Management System can be done by your web designer and once this is done, all it takes to make changes on your web site is access to the system. Making changes becomes as easy as editing a simple Word document. Listed below are some of the web design elements, which need customization when using a ready made Content Management System.

Look and Feel of all the pages, which are delivered by the Content Management System. One of the first things which need to be customized is the look and feel of the content management system driven pages. This can be done by adding a customized header and footer. One of the disadvantages of ready-to-use content management systems are that they do not allow for unique graphical display. Most of them are restricted to certain layouts and color schemes and you need to conform to that.

Link structure or navigation structure. The link structure needs to be customized as per your web site and once this is done, you can just choose the page for which you would like to make changes to and do it with the Content Management System. The navigation structure should also allow you to add pages under a specific link as well as add a new link to the web site.

Administration set up for easy management of the Content Management System is required to be done at this stage so that you can assign permissions to different groups of people to manage the web site. You can also choose the type of editor (HTML or plain text) which you would like to use when creating the content and updating your web site.

Most people prefer HTML editors as they are very simple to use and are also known as WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors. Before customizing a Content Management System, you need to review the various modules available with the provider and choose the ones, which are most relevant to you.

Some Content Management Systems may also provide additional modules such as a shopping cart system, newsletter management system, user tracking system, advertisement tracking system etc.

Content Management Systems are sure to enhance the value of content as delivered on your web site and if you are tired of a web site which is as old and as the hills; it is time you upgraded yourself and got a CMS for the web site

Popular Content Management Systems for your web site Choosing an off-the-shelf Content Management System requires a close evaluation of the ones which are available today. There are two choices here as well: you can buy one which is well known for its quality of service and overall product quality is good or you can use one of the free CMS’s which are available. The problem with free or open source Content management systems is that you cannot be sure about the trouble shooting aspect of the work and you can never be sure about the longevity of the company.

Some of the popular Content Management Systems are reviewed below. Their technology usage and general information about them are outlined as well.

Drupal: Drupal is probably one of the most advanced Content Management Systems available online. It is an open source product and is free for download. Since there are thousands of people who contribute to the development of Drupal, it is quite updated and has some of the best community tools and marketing tools which can be found within a content management system. Thanks to its popularity, you will have no trouble locating a web designer who is familiar with this system. This is one CMS product for which you can be rest assured about support as it has a large online support network.

MamboServer: Mambo is open source software, which is very popular. It is free and extremely easy to set up. It is a scalable system and can accommodate simple web sites as well as large corporate web sites. One of the key selling points of the Mambo Content Management Systems is that it is extremely simple to install and use. Some of the features, which are available in Mambo are advertisement management, media management, content syndication, easy to use administration system and a multi-lingual interface.

Open CMS: You might start thinking that the world is full of open source content management systems. OpenCMS is yet another open source Content Management System, which is available free of cost. However, one of the key technological differences between OpenCMS and other Content Management Systems of their genre is that this system uses Java and XML technology and this makes it platform independent. OpenCMS developers believe that the system can support a wide range of web sites and is also suitable for large corporate applications.

Joomla!: One does wonder about the inspiration behind the various names of the Content Management System. Joomla! is one such application which is a high powered Content Management System which is available free of cost and is becoming quite popular with the development community. The product is available on the open source platform and is quite sturdy. Joomla! Is actually a continuation of the Mambo CMS system and the team originally designed Mambo before resigning from there en masse.

Typo3: Typo 3 focuses on providing an open source content management system, which is completely designed for corporate intranet and enterprise level applications. It is one of the most professional open source content management systems and addresses soft issues such as branding, version control and even maintaining templates within an application. Typo3 is currently available free of cost but it will not be long before such advanced content management system companies are purchased by a large software company. You only need to pay for the customization and you can be rest assured that Typo3 will help deliver your web site content effectively.


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Article by Custom Web Site Design Office – A Division of EyeMedia LTD.

For every free open source content management system, there is a content management system which is available on a paid basis. The choice of the right CMS should be governed by your requirement and your budget.

Customizing Content Management Systems
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  • http://www.redesignunit.com/ Shaishavi Sen

    Web Sites can never be considered complete.

  • http://www.deltacreations.com/ Delta Creations

    The problem that I have with any of those content management systems is the learning curve for the clients who need to use them.

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