The days of hard-coding HTML web pages is long gone. Today, there are numerous pieces of software - known as content management software (CMS) - which will make your life much easier.
Rather than having to know how to do anything technical, once you have your CMS set up adding a page to your site is as simple as logging into your password protected administration area and just typing your article into the box. You click "publish" and the article appears on your site.
But there are so many different pieces of content management software out there it can be hard to decide which one you should go with. Many people say that just trying a few out is a good idea and while I agree with them in principle, installing and trying out a number of these pieces of software can be very time consuming so the purpose of this article is to examine a few of the more popular options in the hope that I can cut down on your research time.
Wordpress was created as software to run blogs on but is versatile enough to be used as a full-blown CMS. Wordpress is possibly the easiest CMS of all to install and use and pleasantly there are loads of free themes available to help you customize the look and feel of your site. There are also a large number of free plugins to help to extend the functionality of Wordpress by adding focums, photo galleries, social bookmarketing elements and so on.
80% of my own sites currently run on Wordpress and I have been very hapy with the results.
Joomla is a slightly more heavy-duty CMS that many of todays large community and content sites are built on. Whilst it is a little harder to learn to use than Wordpress, it is more suitable for websites where you are either expecting higher visitor numbers or you want an even more customized feel at the end.
While one can generally tell websites that are made with Wordpress because they have some similarities in design and layout, typically with Joomla the sky is the limit.
Joomla too has a large number of add-ons to help you make it do whatever you want from allowing readers to vote on their favourite articles to interacting with each other like a bone fide social networking website.
Drupal is the third and final piece of software I want to mention. It is a popular application among web designers but having tried it myself in the past I must admit that I found it too difficult to get to grips with. This is in contrast to the two previous options which I found I quickly got the hang of and swear by now.
I'm not saying Drupal is bad software in any way, just that my own experience is that it is far more difficult to use than the other options, so I would recommend them over Drupal.
Lastly, be aware that all three of these options are absolutely free, so if you have a web hosting account you can always install just these few and try them out for size.
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