What is a CMS website? And is this the best fit for me?
It’s the New Year, and time for a fresh start. Many businesses take advantage of this time to either freshen up their website, or perhaps catch up with the rest of 21st century and invest in a website for their business. Either way, more people are becoming drawn to a CMS system for their website needs.
What is a CMS website, why so much buzz about it, and why would you want to invest in this type of site? CMS stands for Content Management System, which essentially translates to the user being able to update their own website, without requiring any technical knowledge of coding. The client is in complete control of the content on their website, and the management system takes care of everything else.
When designing a website, we are often asked if whether the client should have a content management system, or if a static website in which a professional updates the site would be a better choice. Basically, it hinges on three things: page count, money, and discipline.
If you have a medium to large size website, 30 pages or more, it’s time to consider a CMS. Each page of your website that needs updating means billable time with your programmers and designers. Often you can find someone to offer a CMS website close to what a 30+ website might take to produce. And with a CMS website, you are in control of your content, and can change your website any time you like rather than waiting and hiring someone to do it for you.
Why is a CMS website more expensive? With a static site, what you see is what you get. With a CMS site, there are actually two websites being built…one for your audience where they see the content of your site, and the other for your firm where you manage the content of your site. Typically you will be able to login to the CMS controls of the website and make any changes online, even if you are sitting on a beach in the tropics. All of the underlying code interfacing with the database, connecting all of the pieces together, and so on that CMS websites have behind the scenes are why CMS websites often cost twice as much as a static site. It’s more manpower upfront, but after it’s completed, you shouldn’t have to contact your website team for several years if it’s built correctly.
If you plan on making a lot of changes to your static site over the next year, typically a few times or more a month, and depending on the types of changes, it might be more cost effective to go the CMS route which can save you a lot of money in the long run. If you are working with a reputable, honest firm, they should be willing to analyze that for you during the discovery process of your new website and help you choose which is most cost effective for your business.
But… let’s get real. Are you really going to make constant changes to your website? A lot of times clients think that they are going to make constant updates to their website when the truth is they just simply don’t have the time or manpower to make those changes. Ask yourself: Do you have the discipline to constantly update your site? Be honest with yourself, look at your workload and the availability of you and your staff as a basis for deciding whether it is a smart financial decision. Simply put, if you don’t see yourself making changes at least once a month, more often than not a static site just might be the best fit.
Once you have determined your realistic goals, you can then decide if a CMS website is right for you. Check back with us soon about why static sites work for some businesses (and see some great design examples) and what makes them successful.
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