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5 Reasons A Powerful Cms Is The Key To Custom Website Development
By RJ Licata
Content management systems (CMS) are the most common tool used in website development and maintenance. This is because a CMS smoothes the transformation of an ordinary website into a custom website that experiences ongoing development and improvement.

Of course, the more powerful the content management system is, the easier it becomes to create an impressive custom design.

Following are five important reasons or ways that a powerful CMS helps in custom website development.

1. Common Themes Can Have Original Flare Easily
How many times have you clicked on a website and thought ďIíve seen this site beforeĒ only to realize you saw a different site that looked just like this one? Itís probably happened before, though itís less likely lately because so many web developers have taken advantage of powerful content management systems. And in doing so, have relied on pre-designed themes.
Rather than simply uploading a theme template and leaving it as is, a CMS makes it easy to change colors and styles site-wide with just a few clicks. Using Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and a CMS interface to customize the code, two sites that have the same theme template can end up looking so different that the theme similarities arenít recognizable.

While itís possible to customize your website without using a CMS, so much time is saved by using a template that has already been created and tweaking it to your liking and style.

2. Makes Website Access Easy For Multiple Users
Many websites, especially those that are updated often, need to be accessed by a number of different people. These people include anyone that adds content (i.e. writers, reporters, photographers, editors) and anyone involved in the code and design.

Although multi-user access is possible without using a CMS, using one helps eliminate a number of different problems that can arise. For instance, a content management system will allow more than one person to update part of the site at the same time, but not the same part at the same time.

If users are attempting to do this the site will lock one user out of the page that is being edited until the current user has released it. Commonly called ďcheck-in, check-outĒ, this feature prevents someone from accidentally overwriting the changes of another.

Managing user accounts also limits their access to only pages that they need to have access to, helping to keep the entire site secure and running smoothly. Of course the more powerful the CMS, the more control youíll have over user accounts.

3. Plugins and Modifications Bring Functional Customization
Depending on the CMS you choose, anywhere from hundreds to thousands of add-on scripts may be available. There are packages available for just about anything you might think of. For instance, if youíre interested in putting photos on your website, there are a number of different ways you can do it. And to make your life easier, most of the time someone has already created a plugin for it.

The more powerful (or popular) your CMS is, the more options youíll have for customization. Since many of the common content management systems are very community oriented, many people contribute their work for free, which is another bonus of having a widely supported CMS.

Creating a plugin or modification for a CMS is not a walk in the park, especially for someone who isnít the most skilled code writer. Thankfully new ones are constantly being created and if you canít find what you need, there is always someone

willing to build one for the right price (which doesnít have to break your bank).

4. WYSIWYG Editors Give a True Look at Changes
Although they donít always create the cleanest code, a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor is a nice feature to have. Itís probably not the best idea to rely solely on this method, but it makes simple changes quick and easy.

Simply put, a WYSIWYG editor allows the user to update content and layout by seeing how it will look on someoneís web browser as theyíre making changes. This feature is especially helpful to the person with limited HTML knowledge.

Using the WYSIWYG feature or having it available for someone who wants it is helpful because it limits the time it would take to check their work or fix any issues. If an editor wants the content to look a certain way, theyíre able to create it and see how it will appear at the same time.

5. Keeps Everything Organized
One of the best things about a content management system is its ability to help the user keep their content in an organized manner. With frequent updating comes a growing collection of content that should be stored neatly. Any miscommunication in how and where files are stored could result in broken links and other things that could be detrimental to the success of your website.

To take this point a step further, consider the benefits of how this works with the multi-user function. Because more than one user can access the site and content at any given time, itís important that a logical storage system be used so everything is where itís supposed to be. A powerful CMS excels at this.

Where some content management systems are limited in how they handle multiple user accounts, the more powerful systems have made it convenient for many different people to have their hand in some aspect of a siteís maintenance.

Thereís no question that a powerful content management system offers many features aimed at custom development for websites. Itís a good idea when choosing which CMS youíll use for your site to compare what capabilities each has and keep in mind that just because you donít necessarily have use for a feature now, doesnít mean youíll never have a need for it. The more flexibility and power your CMS gives you the easier it will be for you to customize your websiteís development.

To learn more about Content Management Systems and how they can help you build your custom website, visit www.usecontentmanagement.com where you can read about how content management works.


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