Choosing Your CMS

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Once you have a domain and hosting account, you are pretty much set up with the basics. The next logical step is, of course, building your website.

But before you jump in with the ‘free templates’ and what-not that are offered in your hosting account, consider this: do you want your website to look ok, just ok? Or do you want a website that looks and feels beautiful and amazing and awesome?

If you chose the second option, then I want you to pause and consider a good content management system (or a CMS as we like to call ‘em). Because, being the writer that you are, you are bound to put up a whole lotta content on your website. And for that, a typical website just won’t do! You need something that is strong (or robust), feature rich, and something that is able to handle all of the content you throw at it.

And no, installing a CMS on your website isn’t difficult. In fact, you can do it in a matter of minutes. Really. You can.

Log into your hosting account and scroll around a bit. If you find either ‘Fantastico’ or ‘Simple Scripts’ then you are in luck! And most hosting providers will have either one or both of them. It is a standard feature, after all. 😉

What is a CMS

A CMS or a Content Management System is a system where you can write, edit, publish and manage the content of your website from one place. A CMS usually incorporates a bunch of tools and processes which help you do just that.

For example, a CMS will have a place where you can add pages or blog posts to your website, with an editor interface where you can type (or copy-paste) the stuff you want to put into that particular page or blog post.

Features of a CMS

Typically, a good CMS will have the following features:

  1. Templates for pages, different types of pages, and blog posts etc.
  2. You can control who gets to do the admin bits of your website.
  3. A WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editor interface for your content.
  4. Regular updates and improved features are offered by the creators of the CMS.
  5. Ability to have multiple contributors to your website, where you can hold an article for publication, or publish an article on a pre-scheduled date and time.
  6. Ability to syndicate the content of your website via RSS feeds. [Read this article if you want to know more about RSS feeds.]
  7. Offer support for languages other than English.

If a Content Management System has all of these features it can be a possible candidate for your website. And yes, there are many different CMSes out there so you can choose one that makes sense to you. For example: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla are the top contenders.

However, since I have fiddled around with all 3, I will strongly suggest that you go for WordPress. While WordPress is a very popular CMS, it is also very easy to use, and quite customizable. In fact, I have written a few articles (a whole series of them actually) about the basics of WordPress. I suggest that you read through them so that you can get a fair idea of why I recommend WordPress above all other CMSes.

Now that you have your domain name, your hosting account and have figured out the content management system for your website, its time to get started in real earnest and figure out what goes into making your website. Stay tuned!

(20 February 2013)


Madhavi spends her time writing web content and helping people make websites. She regularly blogs www.madhavighare.com and shares her thoughts about web writing and WordPress. She also explores her ardent fascination with myths and symbols via the Tarot cards on her blog www.taroticallyspeaking.com

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