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A content management system (CMS) is exactly that: a system for managing content. When referring to CMSs in the context of a website we usually refer to a set of password–protected web pages—or a piece of software—that allow a user with little or no technical skills to publish and modify the content on a website.

So, how do you build a good CMS? As with many things, there is no right or wrong answer. Here I present a few bits of advice to help you build a good CMS.

If at any time you need advice or help with your CMS, call me on 07843 483 078 or get a free quote online.

Put in online

Where possible a CMS should be fully online. A 100% web–based CMS means that users can access it from any computer with an Internet connection, regardless of what platform it runs on (Windows, Linux or Mac OS X). It also means it doesn’t rely on having to install third party software on any machine the user wishes to use for updates.

Give it to as few users as possible

The adage that ‘too many cooks spoil the broth’ applies to managing content on a website too. Don’t let everyone add and change the content on your site just because you can. Let as few users as possible do this and clearly identify his or her responsibilities to prevent any unnecessary conflicts.

Don’t give a human job to a computer (or vice versa)

Don’t automate every function for the sake of it; if a job is better done by a human, let a human do it. For example, I’ve worked a lot with photographers and other creatives and have built them CMSs that allow them to manage their portfolios online. In some cases, it has proven much better to allow their artistic mind to crop and re–size the images rather then getting a computer to do it automatically. Of course, the same is true the other way round: don’t give a human a job a computer can do better.

Don’t add too many features

A good CMS should only do what it needs to do and nothing more. Some web design companies have a ‘core CMS’ that has the features most CMSs need. Sometimes when they offer you their ‘tried and tested CMS’ they’re actually euphemistically telling you you’re paying for a bespoke CMS—but in reality you’re getting a rehash of something they’ve used in a hundred and one other projects.

Keep it simple

Above all, keep it simple! As was mentioned in the outset, a CMS is a means to update a site without requiring the knowledge of a web developer. Some CMSs can be so convoluted the user may as well have gone and bought a book on programming.

There are other good bits of advice I’ve covered before such as the dangers of going down the open-source route but I feel the above provides a good summary as to the main points that need to be considered.

So if you need a good CMS building call me on 07843 483 078 or get a free quote online.

Tim Bennett is a freelance web designer from Leeds. He has a First Class Honours degree in Computing from Leeds Metropolitan University and currently runs his own one-man web design company, Texelate.