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Web Site Content Management Systems - A Sensible Business Solution

by Duncan Boan

The real secret of working smarter, not harder, is to focus on your strengths, and outsource the rest. Technically challenged? No worries – just outsource the technical mumbo jumbo, and focus on creating content and driving traffic.

For small business owners, this sounds like a dream – nice, but unrealistic. As the saying goes, money doesn’t grow on trees, and until it does, you’re trapped by Catch 22. Or are you?

Well, not necessarily. Think content management systems.

What’s a content management system? At it’s most basic, it is a tool which stores web site content in a database rather than as an integral part of html pages, and which displays the content to a page structure on demand.

Web content management tools come in many flavors, but the central concept is simple: let the system handle the technical stuff behind the scenes, while you focus on more important tasks. With no knowledge of html or any programming languages, you can add, edit and delete content on your site.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg – web site content management systems pack the power to handle an incredibly wide variety of functions, from contact management to interactive applications such as forums to chat to blogging, to just about anything you could want to do with your website.

What’s more, there is a wide selection of free content management software from which to choose.

Maybe too much selection! The mere act of choosing one right for your business can be a daunting task. For some idea about the number of choices, take a look at www.cmsmatrix.org. There are dozens upon dozens of systems listed there, and more new systems are being created every day. Where do you begin?

Making the right choice is critical. First, no matter how you slice it, every content management system comes with a learning curve. The last thing you need is a significant investment, in terms of time and energy, in a system that you ultimately discover doesn’t meet your business objectives.

Another potential concern is consolidation. There are hundreds of systems today, but many will likely fall into disuse sooner or later. Those with only one or very small numbers of developers would be most vulnerable – not because they aren’t brilliant people with great systems – but because the critical mass of development initiative can easily move on to other projects.

Yes, selecting a web site content management system is a challenging process. And yes, the accompanying learning curve will likely be even more challenging.

But remember, a business becomes the first victim of its own success if it can’t service the success-driven demand. Having a great content management system in place could spell the difference between the premature demise and the continuing success of your business.

Thursday, Jan 11th, 2007