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You know you’ve thought about it. Your business needs a Web site. Or worse yet, you have a Web site, but its content is about as fresh as a carton of milk in a college dormitory fridge. Sure, people will visit your site, but as time gets further away from its expiration date and nothing changes, they’ll eventually give up on it. Then you lose potential customers. Not the best sales model, huh?
What are your reasons for not keeping your site’s content fresh?
- I don’t know how to do it.
- It’s too expensive to pay someone to maintain it.
- I know how to do it, but I don’t have time to mess with it.
- I don’t want to have to buy special software.
- I send my changes to my Web site provider, but it takes them too long to get my changes posted. I want change to happen yesterday!
- I have access to edit my site, but I’m no programmer. It takes me forever to figure out how to add one page.
All of the above used to be true. You want your site updated, but it’s expensive, it’s not done immediately and on your schedule, and you just don’t know how to do it. You have to leave it up to the tekkies. But in the past few years, new tools have emerged that allow you to be a Web site programmer. Welcome to the new world of Content Management Systems.
So what is a Content Management System (CMS)? In short, it’s an application (preferably Web browser-based) that allows you to maintain your site’s content (text, images, documents, etc.) using a friendly and familiar interface. Using a personal login, you can access your entire site to do the following (and more):
- Add, update, or delete pages;
- Upload and manage images;
- Use it as a document management system to maintain all of your PDFs, Word documents, videos, and other files;
- Maintain frequently-updated sections of your site, such as press releases, product updates, and photo galleries;
- Produce RSS feeds.
And now, the icing on the cake: a good CMS will use a WYSIWYG editor (What You See Is What You Get), which looks and functions just like your everyday word processing program (I probably can’t mention the name, but we all know what I’m talking about). Using this editor, you can format your content and images just like you would with your favorite word processing tool. Font sizes, colors, styles, linking, images, tables: they’re all at your fingertips. When you’re done, you click a few buttons, and your Web site is updated! This same CMS can also publish out multiple formats of content: HTML for everyday Web browsers, formats for hand-held devices, PDFs, Word documents, and print-friendly versions.
Intrigued? Beacon Technologies offers all of the above with the CMS that we’ve selected, Hannon Hill’s Cascade Server. We can import your existing site, or create a whole new site for you in Cascade Server. Then, after a short training session, we turn the reins over to you, and the site is yours! You can keep your site up-to-date within a matter of minutes, any time of the day, from anywhere you can get your hands on a Web browser. There’s no extra software to buy and install, and you don’t have to know fancy computer programming languages to maintain your site. (But if you do know HTML, there’s an interface for that, too.)
Don’t think you have time to maintain your site? Using Cascade Server is a real time-saver. To add an already-written press release would take you about 5 minutes. Updating a page with some current-year figures? 5 minutes. Creating a new page from scratch? 15 minutes. Those few minutes you spend will keep visitors coming back to see what you’ve come up with this time.
To learn more, get in touch with us to discuss your current needs and customize a CMS implementation for you.
And by the way: Welcome to the CMS corner of the Beacon Blog! Here we’ll explore CMS and how Beacon is using it to help any kind of company grow and showcase your business, all while maintaining it yourself. Even if you’re not a tekkie.