Web Sites and Content Management Systems

Matthew Dunn
A free video tutorial from Matthew Dunn
Chief Explainer at Say It Visually
4.1 instructor rating • 3 courses • 2,011 students

Lecture description

You're going to need a web site.  Can you get everything you need from a Web designer?  Trick question.  The truth is, a Web site today is a live reflection of your business. You need to plan to manage the content of your site actively - regardless of whether you hire a designer or adapt a template. This lesson covers some of the underlying technology options for cost-effective Web content management.

Learn more from the full course

How To Run Your Business On Cloud Systems

A non-technical visual explanation by a working entrepreneur and veteran CIO, step-by-step from domains to dollars.

04:26:44 of on-demand video • Updated June 2013

  • In this course, you will learn:
  • How to set up the "Internet foundations" for your business
  • How to evaluate cloud-based software and services for short and long-term fit
  • How to make your workforce effective for both virtual (telecommuting) and mobile activity
English [Auto] OK now Web site the thing that will cause more people to tear out their hair over time running a company just about anything. Websites look easy. They're hard. They're hard for technical reasons. They're hard because the technologies keep shifting and they're really hard because making decisions and coming to agreement on what you want to say is hard. At the same time they've become this model to the world. Your first impression for your business is very very very likely. Your website. So I'm going to talk a bit about possible platforms possible approaches to getting up and going. This is not the last advice you'll ever get or need. You'll probably end up getting and using professional help with the web but I want armed and informed at least at the starting point with your business I want to talk about Web sites generically and in web content that's the term and the various content management systems and web platforms that are readily accessible for small or medium virtual and cloud minded business content management system frequently abbreviated as CIMS. If I say that apologies on OK. It used to be that we used special programs to edit Web sites. People still do. And the more complex a Web site the more likely it is that that will happen. Probably best known big dog web editing is Adobe's Dreamweaver program which is wonderful and can do all sorts of stuff for the Web site. I've got it because we subscribe to Adobe's wonderful creative suite. I wouldn't touch it with a barge pole for what we do with our website. It's not just that the tool is big and complicated. It's actually that I want to be able to change our website as agile and early as possible. And my experience with sites that get complicated or that are done with a weight desk top tool is eventually one person knows how it's put together. One person knows how to touch it and it ends up becoming a major piece of their job. On the reality of your web site you won't change it as often as you think. But I mean I would encourage you to try to set yourself up for the ability to change it. The ability to add content the ability to respond to market conditions as much as possible and frankly in a mobile world in a world where tablets and mobile phones are fully capable of computers the web based content management systems start to have even more advantages over desktop solutions. I'm not knocking Dreamweaver it's a wonderful program for small medium growing virtual cloud based businesses. My experience and advice is that a web based CM As has some substantial advantages or explain what I think those advantages are. Let me recap something from talking about domain hosting though I said I really advise you to get a lamp. Linux Apache my siecle BHP lenth stack web hosting arrangement one of the reasons one of the many reasons for that is that most of the major content management systems that are available in free run on that lamp stack. So you actually want your domain hosting company or domain hosting arrangement to have my sequel databases possibly another kind post grass but most likely my sequel which is a relational database running in your hosting company up there in the sky. You also want to make absolutely sure that your domain hosting company and your domain hosting package includes ph P which is a very capable wicd fast and widely widely used programming language. Many if not most of the content management systems use ph pay. So what I think of is in a sort of three most common betting the numbers would back me up. Three most common content management systems are WordPress Drew Paul engima on WordPress started life as a blogging platform blog web blog. People who started blogging and adding entries started really generating more and more complex web sites and in a nutshell WordPress you may have seen this icon floating around in the world. WordPress has really grown up to become quite a content management package. WordPress as far as I understand it technically is P-H piece scripts and my sequel database on the back end and usually an Apache server on the front end. It may be other options but in an international run on the web hosting package I recommended. And there are some design resources and tools resources for Wordpress that makes it wonderful. Joomla is another common option Ive used jumaat quite a bit both recently and over the years. And another terrifically capable site are our site content management system is Paul and I know what's with all the goofy names in open source world but there you go. I believe and I'm pretty sure I'm right about this that the U.S. White House Web site White House dot gov runs on an open source content management system. I'm pretty sure it's actually Dr Paul site so I'm betting they get more traffic than we do on getting betting to get more traffic than you do. So don't let anyone tell you that an open source CNS can't actually handle the load. Why content management platform. I'll try to boil it down to two fairly simple things one is editing and changing the content on your site. In WordPress Andrew pallete in Joomla is something you can do through a web browser or frequently through tools especially mobile tools that are made to talk to those content management systems. I've seen people edit their website on their phone. You may think you need to do that but boy is having that capability. Kind of cool does that open up some of the world. I've seen people make blog posts to their Wordpress blog right from an event you know here's the picture. Here's what I'm doing. Off you go. And by the way WordPress. Don't underestimate there are professional businesses whose web content content is what they do. Big ones that actually run on wordpress. I'm pretty sure that giga home runs on Wordpress and that's a that's a big booming dotcom great fascinating reading that's a big booming thing started as a blog in a sense one but I'm pretty sure they still run WordPress. As with Drupal can handle the load it's just a couple of quick screenshots that say any post screen from WordPress. It runs in a browser. This is a screenshot of it but it runs in a browser. Find a word press say I could log in in the browser say I want to edit a post create a new post and I'd be in the game of adding or changing content to my site or rearranging pages and menus and relationships on my site. Did Paul edit and manage this site directly through a web browser. Do you know Joomla edit and manage the site directly through a web browser. So that's one of the big reasons I think a content management system has some real advantages. The word the phrase kind of tells you more broadly what it's going to do for you. It's not just about making pages. It's actually about managing content. So a simple minded example if you've got a seasonal aspect to your business if at Christmas you pop out Christmas sales and you do a whole bunch of work creating pages to talk about Christmas sales with the content management system. You could say here's the Christmas stuff I want it to expire and disappear from the site in January. Oh P.S. I might want it to reappear so I can start editing it again. Come late November next year. So it actually helps you automate the management of those pieces of content the writing the images the video assets that make up a compelling site. So it's one of the big reasons through a web browser and management of content. The second thing that I think makes that a solution well worth considering especially in the early days of getting your business off the ground is that you can by design templates and make Wordpress or Paul or Joomla look terrific. So you've got a starting point it's not a blank page. You've got a starting point. That's a theme or a template that gets you close to the look and feel that you're after and that you can then sort of customize and take from there. I'm just clicking at random into a I really don't want to download that theme into a Word Press. The same thing exists for Drupal same thing exists for Jilla. It's not to say that you won't hire a designer to do a custom web site for you someday but initially and early on I would say getting a good looking site is better than a lame site. And if you can't afford custom design taking a template customizing the template to your business replacing the logo changing the colors or placing the images is a very cost effective QuickStart. Early on we did template templates and modified and for say the dot com as the business grew over time we started hiring the design expertise to do something even more tailored to us. But content management systems aren't so complex that you can't do a heck of a job of that yourself. My wife's my wife's business which is amile meal delivery and chef training and she should probably holler at me if she watches this video since WordPress. We pick the template that she liked. I installed a template for I've trained her for a couple of hours on how to use that WordPress template and then I was able to do this. And she edits and changes her site herself. She has asked me for help with that WordPress site for months which is terrific. She's in control of what she wants to do with her website with her business so I would encourage you to look at your web hosting package see if the installation of one of those one or more of those packages is available. For example my my buddies here at Media Temple actually have a one click application of Wordpress Andrew Paul meaning if I put a new domain there I could click start click a few other screens and presto I'd have a Jew Paul. So bare bare bones starting to Paul cyberbullies starting WordPress site not to confuse you but Wordpress is also a company that provides hosted WordPress sites. See my earlier discussion about domain names you want to control and own your own domain name. You want your Web site in your control at your domain so godless Wordpress and what they do for bloggers but for your business only control your own web site. And you can put essentially a copy of the Wordpress web application where the Wordpress scripts on your host are on your web hosting service and log in and edit your website and get to town. One last note. There are some emerging content management systems that are a little less open source. Put them anywhere. A little more capable. I've been impressed with the design work I see out of them so I'm putting out there for you to take a look at. Expression engine looks highly capable to me Squarespace gorgeous. You do end up pointing your web service to Squarespace so it gets a little confusing. We've got a we've got a business that's web hosted at Squarespace. We control the domain. We told that domain name server. The web part of this is actually over there. I'm still in control of the domain so I was able to do that so as not contradicting the notion of being in control of your own domain and your own hosting. But I will take a look at the two of those. Last note about Web sites and see amasses that's changing really rapidly. We're not just accessing web sites on square computers that sit on desks anymore. An increasing percentage of everybody's traffic is coming from mobile phones is coming from tablets. There's there's a lot of design challenges to that for people who design websites because phones are typically held like this monitors like that tablets or some odd size in between. The phrase that's a popular way to describe what everyone in the world wants but that's very hard to achieve is adaptive design meaning. A Web site that looks one way on a PC in a different way on a tablet because it looks right for each device. Some of those cutting edge content management systems have adapted design essentially out of the box. So if your audience is likely to be mobile heavy Go take a look at Squarespace an expression engine because adaptive design templates for Wordpress duple Joomla. I'm sure they're out there. I don't think they're necessarily that common or necessarily that simple to administer yet. So I hope it gives you an idea of the landscape in my recommendations for Web sites get a content management system and start with a template. Don't start with a blank page and design it yourself unless you're a designer. If you can afford a professional web designer terrific You might actually have them design your site on Wordpress or Drupal or Joomla. Think of it as designing your site template on those things in the long run for you to be able to edit and change your own web site is a really really important capability. I can't count the number of clients I've talked to who feel hand-cuffs by their inability to change their own Web site. There's no reason to be stuck in that until you get to a much bigger scale. So take a look at those messes and make sure that your hosting company can handle them. That's it.