Most new websites are built to allow owners to update their content using a Content Management System. Here I will discuss under what circumstances you won’t need such a system.
What is a Content Management System?
A “Content Management System” (CMS) is a web based system that allows you to update your website using a “What You See is What You Get” (WYSIWYG) text editor similar to a word processing application. It takes extra time to setup from a development point of view but gives you the ability to have control over when and how often you update your content.
Many people misunderstand what a CMS actually does. They think they will be able to move things around, change colours and change every aspect of their website. However that is not the case, you can only edit the ‘content’ or ‘text’ that is held within a framework. Think of it as your letter head that you have had printed. You can type and print text onto the letterhead, but you can’t move the logo, change the font size or make the bit of paper thicker.
When it comes to operating the CMS, you not only have to learn how to use the system itself (and some are very different and cumbersome to use) but you also have to understand some basic web tricks such as being able to resize images so they fit in the space required and don’t take forever to load.
Everybody’s doing it
At one point I just automatically assumed that all my clients not only wanted a CMS, but needed one to run their business efficiently. It wasn’t until I had a client send me some content changes for her non-cms website that I realised that this was not the case. I suggested we put the website into a CMS so she could update it as she wanted. She politely said, “It’s easier and more efficient for me to send you the content to be updated, I don’t want to have to learn something new and I just want to focus on my own business”. Now this took me back, at first I couldn’t understand but then it all fell into place. Time is very precious to most small business operators, and if you can get someone to do it faster and more efficiently than yourself, you are likely to save money.
So not every business owners would feel this way, so why does it work for her?
- Her website isn’t her main business, it’s a marketing tool that she uses to promote her product.
- She doesn’t sell anything online and she doesn’t blog.
- She updates it with a new product line every 3 months.
- She’s not into working on the computer
- She doesn’t have time to learn new software (and remember it again every 3 months)
- She doesn’t own or know how to use Photoshop or similar to resize and manipulate images.
- She want’s to keep the professional look.
If you go to a web developer and ask specifically for a CMS, as opposed to a basic flat website, it is going to add to the overall cost of the set up fee. You would probably save up to 2/3 of the price if you go with a basic flat website.
Having said that, it will cost you each time you want to change your website, the best way to handle this is to set up a maintenance contract with your web developer.
To CMS or not to CMS
Not having a CMS will work for you if:-
- Your too busy running your business
- Your website is not your primary business
- Your website is simply a marketing tool (eg. a brochure website)
- You update your website content every so often (monthly/quartlery/yearly)
- You can organise your content in a manner that is easily understood by other people (ie. web developer)
- You have a reliable web developer who will update content in a timely manner (even better if you can set up a maintenance contract that will offer a discounted hourly rate)
- You don’t want to purchase or learn image manipulating software such as Photoshop.
- You want your website to keep a professional look.
- You don’t like computers.
- You want to save money on the initial website setup.
When you will need a CMS:-
- Your website is your primary business (eg. Online Store)
- You blog or write articles regularly
- You like to constantly tweak your content.
- You like having control
Depending on how you operate your business will really depend on what solution is best for you. When you hire the services of a web developer, they should be able to cover all your options and give recommendations on what will work best for you and your business.