You built it; can I add the content?

If you – the business owner – want to add/update the content, be sure to tell your web designer early in the design process! There are multiple ways to build a web site. Some of them require a fair amount of knowledge of “behind the curtain” technologies (html, css, and more) to do the updates.

Talk to your designer!

If the designer starts building the site using tools (such as Dreamweaver) that require more knowledge to update content and then you tell him/her you want to take over the content… well, that may require a restart, unless you’re willing to do some intense study and learn those other tools. Kinda like building a house – the home builder pours the concrete for the slab, then the owner says “by the way, we need a basement”. Okay. Can do – “just” cut through the slab. And that will cost the homeowner extra $$ and time. Talk to your designer up front! Ask questions until you understand! If he/she won’t answer… do you want to continue working with them?

Content Management Systems

Other ways of building a site allow business people to manage their own content with just a bit of training. These are usually built with a “content management systems” (CMS). The CMS has to be set up on a computer that holds web sites (the “web host”), then it has to be configured for the specific web site.

it can be fairly straightforward to add new content – new pages and/or posts. Details depend on which CMS is chosen – there are many from which to choose. WordPress is very popular and is relatively easy to learn. (We built this site with WordPress.). What’s WordPress?

Post? Page? What’s that?

Page: this is a page. Usually one topic per page. Can be any length, usually doesn’t change much if ever (of course, unless the author/site owner wants to update the content).

Post, aka “blog post” (think of them as articles, somewhat like newspaper stories) can be any length, any topic. The big difference is there can be multiple.posts on the same Blog page, and the most recent one is always at the top.

On your site, have your standard content on pages and then in the blog posts area, you can add information about special areas related to your business. It could be special sale or announcement or recommendations or advice for your readers. For example, an air conditioning installation and repair company can blog – write –  about articles about how homeowners can maintain their A/C systems.

A good design for a business site: have a number of pages that inform your visitor – your potential and/or current customer – what products and/or services you provide, and gives information about you and your company. And more importantly, what does your viewer want to know? Who is your viewer? This information may not need to change much (depending on your business.) And it can have a blog area where you can add updates, news, tips and more.

Sounds like a CMS like WordPress is the way to go; what’s the catch?

If you need a web site and either want your designer to take care of updates or no need to update the content (hmmmm, let’s talk – among other things, a site with no updates since going live probably won’t be on the front page of search results), you may not need a CMS. A well-designed, non-CMS site takes less maintenance.

If you want to update the content, a CMS is most likely the way to go. However, a CMS – including WordPress – is a program, and like most programs, needs to be updated periodically to be sure it is secure and has the latest features. Although it only takes a couple of clicks to update WordPress, what happens if something goes wrong and the update crashes your site? You’d better have a backup copy so you can restore to the working condition before the backup. That is why you pay a designer to maintain your site – he/she (we) know how do the backups and, in the worst case, how to restore the backup to keep your site live.

The designer can do a lot of other “behind the curtain” work to ensure your site is well-designed (for search engine optimization) and secure. We are happy to explain what we do.