Trying to put an existing into a CMS

My boss designed a site at work which I then converted into HTML and CSS.
Is it possible to put this site into a CMS or do we have to design the site in the CMS.
Does using a CMS limit the look of a site?
Thanks Alan.

Using a CMS does not limit the design. You can use the same design in your new CMS. But you will have to do some amount of re-coding. Some of your existing code in your HTML can be copied and pasted into the various parts of a CMS template.

I would recommend Wordpress if you have never used a CMS before. Install the Redirection plugin and use custom search engine friendly URL so that you can either match exactly your existing URL of your static HTML site, or redirect existing urls to your new CMS urls.

Switching to a CMS will generally involve three factors:

Design: Any CMS you choose will generally have a template/skin engine of some sort. Some are more complex than others but with some work, you can generally recreate the exact design in whatever CMS you choose.

Content: Pages/Articles/Image galleries/Download repositories/Link directories… you have to consider all of your content and how you will get it into the CMS you choose.

Functionality: Related to content; how is this content currently outputted to your website?
**If your current website is all hardcoded, which seems to be your case, then you essentially want to ensure that the CMS you choose will hold that data easily. Scout CMS’s based on current and future needs. Make sure the CMS will handle articles/blogs/images/downloads/social functions/forums/e-commerce/etc., the way you need them now or to allow your site to evolve in the future. Once you’ve chosen your CMS, then you just have to plug away, recreating the site using the tools the new CMS provides you with.
**If your current website already utilizes an existing script/CMS for any kind of functionality or utilizes a database, then you have a different set of considerations… again, you need to ensure the CMS you choose will cater to this functionality and figure out how to get the existing data to the new CMS. Will it be done manually? Importers available? Will data have to be manually extracted from a database and migrated to your new CMS?

There is generally a lot of manual work to be expected and how much data you have, how that data is currently crafted and how to move it is the headache. Of course, generally, once it is done, it is done but making sure you choose the right CMS the first time will ensure you don’t have to do it all over again.

Oh, yeah. That’s right. Depending on how many pages of static HTML content that your site has, all those have to be copied and pasted into the CMS post editor. There is no “import” function for such things, since your site is not already an existing CMS.

As the others have pointed out, design can be applied to the site separately from the content. I like to develop sites using a plain “undesigned” site to get all of the content in place and finalize the navigation, then apply the design once it’s been signed off.

If you have the right CMS and are proficient with it, design shouldn’t have to suffer to conform to the theming engine or templating system of the site.

I suggest you make a short list of prospective CMS systems and then look at examples of sites built from them. You’ll probably see some common design approaches that result from the use of some of them but you’ll also see if what you are after is possible.

Good luck!