The Internet has changed.
Ten years ago, most everything on a web site had to be custom built. If you were a used car dealer, and you wanted to be able to manage your inventory online it could be done. However, it wasn’t cheap. This is because a programmer was required to custom design and test the software / database / form pages that were required to make this happen. It was costly. Usually far beyond the budget of most small or mid-sized business owners. Such a site could easily top out in the $30,000.00 range (or higher). Because of this a lot of great site ideas never saw the light of day.
Over the last 5 years or so, Content Management Systems (CMS) have evolved rapidly. A CMS is a system of pre-programmed pieces of software that designed in a general, customizable fashion. This makes them useful to a wide variety of users.
Most CMS systems are designed to fill a specific need. For example WordPress started out as a blogging software, and then evolved in to a system that could be used to manage full web sites. For example you can add articles, article categories, upload images and other multimedia filed – all through a web browser and a set of easy to use administration forms.
In most cases CMS systems have only to be customized to get the desired look that you want. This usually done using templates that are modified using little or no programming. The net result of this is that fully self-administered sites can be built in the low 1000′s – usually $1-2000.00. This is in the range of most businesses looking to establish a web presence.
We develop sites around 4 different types of CMS systems:
- Website/BLOG Content Management Systems: WordPress is the standard software that most everyone uses to carry this out. This system is great for managing newspaper / magazine style sites, as well as basic web sites for businesses and other organizations. Simple sites for these systems can be set up within a day. WordPress is free!
- Classified Ad Management Systems: These are out of the box systems that allow you to run your own classified ad web site. Many of these can be set up in 1 day!
- Directory Content Management Systems: This is software that can be used to build sites where you archive a lot of categorized data. For example many business directories run on such software. Many people pay for listings on such sites, and they have been known to be quite lucrative.
- Forum Content Management Systems: These are out of the box systems that may be used to build a forum/discussion board type of web site. Again, straightforward versions of this type of CMS can be set up in 1 day or so. Many of these are free.