Web sites are as commonplace as calling cards. Whether you represent a multi-billion dollar corporation, a government agency, a non-profit or a sole proprietorship, your constituents expect a digital presence.
Many small business owners cringe at the thought of putting up a website or making changes to an existing one. They fear the gaping hole in their bank accounts into which large quantities of hard-earned money might escape. They don’t believe having their own websites can be affordable. Such concerns were certainly justified years ago when even the simplest site required specialized programming and graphics expertise. But things have changed!
Today’s web sites are built on software applications called content management systems. These applications separate the technical elements of web design and development from the contents of the pages (text, images, videos, web links, etc.) Once a site has been set up, its owner can create, edit, and delete pages at will using a standard WYSIWYG editor. How great is that!
But wait a minute… Won’t it cost an arm and a leg to get the site set up? Answer: It certainly doesn’t have to.
Most hosting platforms let you install popular open-sourced content management systems (Joomla!, Drupal, WordPress) using one-button commands. Once installed, you can choose from a variety of free or low-cost design templates and then get about the business of populating your content. And because it’s open-sourced, you’ll benefit from a worldwide collective of developers who continually add features to the base application.
There are a bunch of proprietary content management systems that run on their own hosting platforms. They tend to be a bit more expensive than open-sourced solutions (although still very reasonable). Their competitive advantage lies in access to the developers should there be a problem with your implementation and/or a need for custom work. The major disadvantage is the hassle involved with switching providers should you find yourself dissatisfied with the arrangement.
If you’re a novice when it comes to all things web, you’ll absolutely benefit from having some expert guidance as you choose your hosting platform, install your content management application, populate the site, and learn the ropes. But the investment can trend toward a few hundred dollars versus several thousand dollars. And your results can be quite impressive.
Want to learn more about how you can maintain your own website using a content management system? Please get in touch!