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  1. #1
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    Web Content Management System

    Hi

    I developed many websites and make a living off two, where lawyers pay to list their firm as advertisement, and a third for my real estate investing career (my main career)

    I was looking to start a web design company as many people have asked me to do a website for them in the past, but I've declined.

    The main reason was I didn't want to have to be constantly maintaing sites for other people.

    But I think maybe a content management system or a web cms, at that may be the answer to that problem.

    Firstly, do I understand correctly when I think a cms can be deployed on an existing website built using dreamweaver, that would then allow non-technical users (the people I design sites for) to access the cms and make changes to the website?

    For example, could I install a cms on my already existing website, and have it look exactly the same as it does now, but let someone, or even me have the ability to make changes to the site without using/knowing dreamweaver or another program similiar to dreamweaver?

    Secondly, if my thinking is correct, can anyone recommend a good web cms that would suit my purposes and doesn't take a rocket scientist with 3 phds to figure out how to install, and use?

    I think opencms.org looks pretty good (and like it would suit my purpose) but the support and instructions on setting it up are written for geniuses and therefore completely 100% useless to me.

    Lastly, if my thinking on a cms is not quite correct, can someone recommend something that would suit my purpose? IE, allowing non technical people to make changes to their site after I've designed it for them in dreamweaver.

    Thank you so much!

  2. #2
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    First of all have a look at opensourcecms and see if any thing there appeals to you. You are correct in what you think a cms can do. It may not be as easy to put one on an existing site as you think. You would have to convert all the data to fit in the cms database and then theme it to look the same as the original. Once you are passed that point though clients should be able to be left alone to update the content on their site as they see fit.

    For what it is worth my favourite is Drupal but it can have a learning curve for creating sites with.
    http://www.glasys.co.uk
    Noli Illegitimi Carborundum

  3. #3
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    I think it'd be worthwhile to learn a few of the more popular CMS solutions - different ones are better suited to different types of sites, all depending on how complex you want the website to be.

    They major opensource (free) players in my mind are:

    1. Wordpress
    2. Drupal
    3. Joomla
    4. Zencart

    All of these have a fairly large community of user that contribute not only support but a wealth of modules/extensions. Wordpress is probably better for basic sites, Joomla and Drupal for larger content sites and social networks, and Zencart for a shopping cart/ecommerce.

    Wordpress is probably the most user friendly for someone who knows little about HTML or CSS, but Drupal and Joomla pack a lot of punch when it comes to flexibility (Drupal's my pick over Joomla, though as leonglass pointed out it could be a little harder for a new user to wrap their head around).
    Premium Drupal themes
    Easy setup and customization
    Valid XHTML/CSS and tableless design

  4. #4
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    I recommend looking at Expression Engine. It's a commercial CMS and is top notch. We use it on almost every client website, whether the request it or not. It's just simple to install and configure, easy to template and allows us to delegate updates and management to someone like our administrative assistant instead of someone with technical knowledge.

    The administration is also simple and can be customized using permissions to only show the client what you want, so they don't get overwhelmed and confused (which is almost guaranteed with many open source CMS's).

    If you're charging for the website, just integrate the cost of the CMS into the quote, either stated or not.

    One of my favorite features of Expression Engine is custom fields. You can create custom fields for each section of content, and they can be any type of field. Input, textarea, dropdown or even a relationship with another secion! We use it extensively.

    Check out our html site which we just redesigned on EE: http://www.kelseyads.com/site.php/ for an example. We use relationships to link case studies to articles and clients to awards. It's all seamless and extremely easy to template.

    One other benefit is you can actuall RUN PHP within the templates which are stored in the database. And you can tell EE to parse the PHP before OR after the EE code. This is extremely flexible and allows you to customize the site to do literally anything you like.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by beley View Post
    Off Topic:


    What's with the /site.php/ bit? Is this something Expression Engine forces upon you?

  6. #6
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    No, it's easy to get around. That's the "index" page we've just renamed it site.php because that's the HTML version of our website. If you go to simply http://www.kelseyads.com/ you get our Flash website and portfolio. Since it's already named index.php, we renamed the EE page site.php and left it as the root of all subpages so it would be easier to manage.

    EE is actually pretty flexible in that regard... you can have everything at /index.php/mod_rewritten/page/ or take out the index.php completely. Whichever you prefer.

  7. #7
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    First of all you have to choose which CMS better answers your needs: free or commercial.
    Next step IMHO will be to decide whether to buy CMS "ready-from-the-box" or order one created specially for you.

    As for the back-end (or what owners of the sites will see and manage) they all are very similar and do not take too much to time to learn.


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