Content Management System (CMS) what is it?

In relation to website design or development CMS stands for Content Management System.

Content management systems are applications which allow you to control and change the content on your website. It will in almost every instance allow you to control at least some of the text on your website, images and maybe even your site titles and meta data.

More complex systems may allow you to add content sections, additional pages or manipulate your current layout in some way. This kind of system may have to be chosen early in a website project because the integration of the system will have to be considered when making design decisions. You may also need to hire a website developer to integrate the system, however many website designers can implement at least one type of content management system.

Other considerations that need to be taken into account when deciding whether or not to implement a CMS system include:

– Additional storage space

– Adaptable website design

– Different account restrictions

– Whether additional training is needed

– The benefits of regular updates

A CMS system may be integrated without the knowledge of the website owner, their website developer/designer may do this to make the upload of content to the site easier and to decrease the time that it takes to add additional content sections and maintain the website.

CMS systems are most useful for website owners who wish to attempt to reduce costs in the long term. Although this sort of system can be costly in the initial stages of web development, the long term benefit of having the system can outweigh the negative effects of even the most expensive systems because it can be less costly to maintain the website yourself than to have someone else upload the content for you.

The price paid for a CMS system and its integration will differ in almost all website projects due to the level of skill required to integrate it and the the cost of the system to the website designer / developer.

Save money

Tips to speed up your website

It is critically important that your website loads as quickly as possible.

In some cases it can be hard to optimise your website and make it go faster, especially with website with large databases or websites which have large quantities of images on them. However, this does not mean you shouldn’t try to optimise your website. In fact Google announced back in early 2010 that site speed will effect your website ranking when your site is scanned by their algorithms.

“Faster sites create happy users and we’ve seen in our internal studies that when a site responds slowly, visitors spend less time there.”

Google went on to say that improved site speed can lead to reduce costs in terms of website maintenance, I agree to a certain extent. I think that a faster website could mean that compromise can be made on the hosting server you are using or plan to use, but I think that where the website budget allows, faster servers should be used to compensate for future growth of the site and the number of visitors accessing it.

Modern Servers in a rack
Servers in a rack

Issues you may have with a slow website could involve any number of things however most issues can be attribute to the following website elements: images, javascript, and stylesheets.

Google offer a fantastic tool for working out what issues could be effecting the load speed of your website which can be found here.

JavaScript files can be compressed, various tools exist which will reduce the size of these files. Click here to perform a google search for this. Other similar tools exist which can compress your stylesheets. Click here to google search for CSS compression tools. If you would rather not use an online service to compress your website code then you could use desktop applications such as Notepad++ or Adobe Dreamweaver to perform this task manually. Notepad++ is free under the GPL license and does offer some automatic compression tools.

A good tip to keep in mind is that your web pages will load your site code from the top, which means if you have a lot of JavaScript or css files in the <head> tags of your website then your site may appear to load slower, to help combat this try putting references to JavaScript files at the bottom of your site. You will still want to load your CSS style sheets first however, so that the website appears as it should when a visitor comes to the website.

Click this link to go to another post about reducing image file size.(will update when post is live)

Site maps

A site map is a clear list of links that outlines the navigation of your website.

A clear outline of your websites navigation is vital if you want to try to ensure search engines are able to properly search your website content. Sitemaps can improve the chances of your websites content being checked by search engines even if the structure of your website is poor. Without a site map a search engine could miss a page of your site and it wouldn’t even have a chance of appearing in search results. The code used to assess your website will decide if the navigation on the site, without the use of the sitemap, is acceptable. The code will then determine if the content is hidden from visitors or if it believes the content is too hard to find, if this is the case the code may decide not to display the content in search results.

Site maps can be submitted to search engines directly and most website developers will upload the site maps they create to the major search engines so that they are sure the sitemap is being read by the search engine crawlers. Search engine crawler or search engine spider are terms given to the code which search engines use to search your website content. This code is very intelligent and is constantly being refined, however the code does sometimes find it tricky to find site maps so it is good practice to manually upload the sitemap to the major search engines.

Sitemaps are also useful because they allow you to clearly see how your visitors should be accessing your website content, this can be helpful for determining why visitors aren’t visiting a particular portion of your website or the reasons behind a large number of visits on one page versus a lower number of visits on another. However the use of a sitemap for visitor navigation research is only a secondary goal, the main goal is to make sure all the content you have on your website is seen by search engine crawlers.

Usually website developers will create a HTML sitemap, which is used to display the navigation of the website to the people who visit the website and an XML sitemap which is used by search engines to determine the importance of pages on your website and the navigation of the website. Site maps can be created manually but tools do exist that can automatically create them for you, if you are not sure if you have a sitemap or not then look for a link in the footer of your website or contact your website developer.


Storing your website

In simple terms website hosting is a term used to describe where your website is saved. Your website is a collection of files stored on a hard disk drive, or a solid state drive in some cases, this drive may contain multiple websites all of which are accessed using the the internet.

The hard drive will be in a computer somewhere, this type of computer is called a server. Servers are usually manufactured to be thinner than regular desktop computer towers, this is so that they can be mounted in a rack which allows a lot of servers to be kept in one place. The server will be stored in a remote location and probably connected to the internet with a fast internet connection so that the site can be quickly accessed by your visitors.

Websites are uploaded to servers using FTP (File Transfer Protocol) or a web interface such as a content management system. Some people will choose to host their website themselves; however this can cause problems if a lot of people access the site, the website allows visitors to stream video footage, or if the website contains large files.

Other factors can effect the speed of your website loading time, for example a large number of visitors accessing the website at the same time. This can occur when a hacker or group of hackers decides to attack your website and deny others access to it, this is called a DDOS (Deliberate Denial Of Service).

There are different types of website hosting packages that are available. Most small businesses or personal sites will be hosted on a shared server with other similarly demanding websites.

Medium to large organisations may chose to have a dedicated server, which is a hosting package that allows them to have their only their content stored on the server. The main reason for doing this is so that they can have a larger community access their site or sites without disrupting other websites hosted on the server.

The final type of hosting I’m going to briefly outline is reseller hosting, this is the name given to a hosting package that allows a company to distribute hosting packages to whomever they wish.

I can offer website hosting packages to you or your business, if you are interested please contact me

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) what is it? Pt.2

Just in case you have not read part one, here is a link to it: SEO – what is it? Pt.1 

Some SEO specialists may argue that paid results are not the best way to get visitors to your site, this could be because some people actively avoid the sponsored links as they feel that paid links are not necessarily going to be as relevant to their search query as organic non-paid results might be. Another reason why people may argue against the use of paid results is that the results are not always the same, this is because search engines rotate between a list of website links which pay to be the sponsored links on their site which means your website may not appear at all for a search term you wish to appear as a result for.

However, it’s probably a good idea to have some paid for sponsored results or advertisements even if it is only as a trial to see how effective they are at driving traffic to your website. Whether or not that traffic will give you more custom can only be determined through advertisement experimentation.

Specific words can be cleverly used on your site to get the algorithms search engines use to place you in different search term results or to place you higher in results for search term results in which you may already appear. Optimisation can targeted at different types of searches, this includes image search, video search and news search. SEO does not just involve changing the content you actually see on a website, other content such as meta data and html code may be changed to give more information about your site to the algorithms that will scan your site content. SEO can also involve the creation of sitemaps, adding alternative descriptions to images, introduction of backlinks and in some cases where the current website is not being properly analysed by search engine algorithms website restructuring.

Obviously this is not all there is to know about SEO, but this should explain it in its most basic form.