It takes one minute to make someone's day, and one word to destroy someone's life.

There was a time not so long ago, when website developers were treated with almost as much reverence as pilots and surgeons. After all, without a website, your business was just not a player, non-existent, invisible to the world. No one had any idea as to what they did, or how they did it, just that they were able, as if by magic, to put our business into cyberspace in full view of a global audience. There were pictures and there were words too. It was marvellous. Who will ever forget the day our website went live. But, as is life, we wanted more. A new product range, a change in pricing perhaps, or maybe even some customer feedback comments. Suddenly things got a little tricky. We were told that there was no development time available for at least two weeks, or the site would have to be rewritten as expansion was not part of the initial brief, blah blah. Bottom line? It cost money. Every change or tweak became an uphill struggle and a nightmare scenario. Luckily all this is now a thing of the past. The reason? Content Management Systems, or CMS for short. These little beauties have given us the power now. No longer beholden to our developers, we proudly add, tweak and change to our hearts content and glory and revel in our new found freedom. And best of all, there's no extra costs. involved. From humble beginnings as a simple textual template editor tool, CMS has now really come of age and is simply an essential ingredient in any website design. Today's systems are dynamic tools that give you the power to produce high quality web content without any programming knowledge. In the main, used via a simple menu system, CMS will allow you to add new pages of content and images, format your page design, add titles and navigation, edit existing pages, put in SEO meta data, allow for multiple users and let you roll back to previous versions if you make a mistake. There are however, some rules to this heavenly scenario that should be observed at all costs.
  1. Now that you have free reign, your web content should be written to be informative to your visitors of course, but it also must be search spider friendly. This is crucial to getting your website successfully indexed and ranked high by Google.
  2. CMS systems can be widely varying in cost which will be determined by the power and flexibility you are looking for. The cheapest option might sound appealing but could prove to be a serious mistake when you realise that you really need much more flexibility and there is no doubt you will, so try to future proof if possible by picking a system that will not restrict your progress.
  3. Is the system secure. You will need, if you are allowing multiple user access, to ensure you have sufficient overall control.
  4. Does it work across all platforms? These days websites need to be seen on different browsers and mobile technology too.
  5. Is there comprehensive support for you, because one thing is sure, you will need it at the most unlikeliest of times.
With all these possibilities factored in, you will find that the freedom, speed and cost savings you experience through installing a versatile CMS on your site will more than justify the price tag. Keep an eye out for part two of this series on the topic of Content Management Systems.

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