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Website Essentials Part 3: The Website Itself

an iMac and iPad with the same websiteThis week we’re covering the third and final essential element of website design: the site itself and what you use to make it look good. If you missed Part 1 or Part 2 in our Website Essentials series, be sure to catch up. If you’re ready for today’s post, read on to find out what you need to know about Website Essential #3 and why it’s so important.


Essential Part #3: The Content Management System (CMS)

CMS is just a fancy term for the software used to design the website itself, the visual interface you use to put it together. They handle all the coding behind the scenes, making it easier for the layman to build a website without the headache of having to learn code himself.

The most ubiquitous example is WordPress, but there are many others, such as Wix.com, Webs.com, Joomla!, Squarespace (a high end CMS), and Drupal.


A Little About WordPress

If you’re considering WordPress, know that there is a difference between WordPress.com, the free blog service that provides limited free templates and hosts your content, and WordPress.org, from which you download the CMS software itself to your web host’s server, which requires that you already have a separate web host in place.

You install the latest WordPress software on your server and then purchase the WordPress theme(s) you wish to use.

The WordPress software is so popular and so user friendly, there are actually many sites that offer WordPress templates (usually known as themes or skins) for purchase. Here’s a list of the most popular sites:

  • Copyblogger offers StudioPress, a service that sells dynamic, professional WP themes built on the Genesis framework
  • Elegant Themes and Woo Themes sell WordPress themes as well
  • DIYthemes develops the Thesis Framework for WordPress and corresponding Thesis themes

Fun fact: our Ready Inc. site is run on WordPress software.

Like the previous two key website elements we’ve discussed (domain name and hosting), some CMS offer web hosting and a domain name as part of their paid packages, but be wary — stick with just the design services, and attach your separately purchased domain name to the site, hosting it on a separate server.


So why keep everything separate?

For your first site, you may not have the funds to purchase everything separately, but once you have the income to make it happen, it’s important separate them as a failsafe because technology is always changing, and since it is man-made, it typically glitches in some way or another.

If you’re bundled with one company and one of those elements goes down, you’ll be dead in the water — your whole site will go down. However, if they’re separate, you can get help to work around the element that’s glitching and fix your site more quickly.

 

 

Don’t have time to figure all this out? We at Ready Inc. can take the task off your hands and design the site that will best represent you and your business. Contact us today.

 

 

Flickr photo by VFS Digital Design.

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