Changing Times: Great Websites Don’t Have To Cost a Lot

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Are you are paying somebody to control your site? You don´t have to have an stale website full of obsolete information just because you dread the cost and time of getting your web designer to fix it for you.

It´s time to stop casting your money away.

Rapid changes have come to the character of website development and management. Not long ago designers had to be fluent in peculiar programming languages  like PHP and  adept at using code generators like Front Page and Dreamweaver. This person needed a great deal of training and the industry was completely addicted to these pricey specialists.

Well, times have changed. Now things are exceedingly different.

Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying, these skilled people are still fundamental elements of the website design industry. There is an astounding new technology, however, called a “Content Managent Sysytem” or “CMS” that renders them much less essential in the developing and upkeep of virtually all small business websites. This method makes it doable for any fairly computer proficient soul to act as their own webmaster. Fundamentally all a CMS is, truly, is a “point and click website editor”. It can be used to add and take out pages. All CMS have what is commonly called a “WYSIWYG” editor, actually just an exceptionally simple word processor that permits you to alter pages. As usual the lingo isn’t remotely as fearsome as it sounds! WYSIWYG is simply another word meaning “What You See is What You Get”. It allows you to plan the page, set up tables and upload images of all kinds. You can also change the complete architecture of the site by altering the site’s Navigation Menu and setting up pages.

Concisely, a Content Management System allows very nearly anybody to rapidly and simply fulfill all the routines that took a master designer hours to do barely years ago.

Now customers automatically get access to a complimentary or discounted content management system from practically every single important site hosting company. This is leaps and bounds beyond what most small to medium sized businesses require. A great content management system for hosting small to medium sized enterprise websites is available from GoDaddy.com, one of my preferred site hosts. Retailers will find it easy to establish “shopping carts” on their sites by using an application like Paypal that connects easily into a site. Intuit, a company that provides software for accounting and CPA firms has recently branched into this new mainstream market and their templates already include a shopping cart feature.

The difference, of course, is cost. Most web designers are typically not as motivated as you are to get your jobs done in a prompt fashion and most make as much as $45 or more an hour. Weeks or more is not an atypical turn-around time on professional design jobs.

This does not even include the time spent building the site. Constructing a web site from scratch can frequently take 200 hours or more. That means months of wait time and thousands of dollars spent. Content Management System web site providers get around these costs by creating the websites in advance and offering menus of “ready-to-use” templates.

Of course a number of website owners already have custom websites that they have spent lots of cash on and are very happy with and others reject using “templates”, so scores of CMS providers are able to tweak their pre-existing templates to best reflect your brand, if not straight-out replicate your current website, quite inexpensively. This is a recent technology, but it´s disseminating fairly fast.

Unfortunately, while low-priced and easy to manage, websites built in this manner normally lack crucial content. An entire side industry has been built around the necessity for industry specialized content, so before racing off to GoDaddy, do a Yahoo search for web providers that specialize in your particular field.

Let’s pretend you´re a CPA. This subject happens to be inside my professional expertise so it makes a good example. Google search the key phrase “CPA Websites” and you’ll see an assortment of companies that supply sites specially for CPA firms complete with Content Management System.

The best of these, in my opinion, is CPA Site Solutions. We’ve been devising super websites for accounting firms for more than 10 years. We’re also one of those cms companies on the cutting-edge that can “fine-tune” their website styles or replicate existing websites. Inspect a demo CPA website and you’ll understand what we mean when we talk about “industry specific content”:

http://samples.cpasitesolutions.com/?style=305

Notice the tools created carefully for website owners in the CPA business: free reports, tax due dates, links to tax forms and publications, a portal for transferring accounting files, interactive financial calculators, email… A site like this may be reasonably helpful for a hugely limited number of businesses outside their intended market, possibly a head-hunter or business consultant could use a lot of the tools on this site, but it would be squandered on a business like a retailer.

Many industries; retail, construction, teaching, non-profit, restaurant and hotel, legal, medical; have equivalent providers.

It´s worth the time and money of retaining professional designers for some large extremely specialized firms, but for most small and medium sized enterprises, especially in these troubled economic times, it´s past time to keep an eye on new solutions. Utilizing a Content Management System that matches your business will cut your costs and at the same time increase your command over your site.

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