Once you have found a company to host your website, you will need to select an appropriate content management system (CMS), which is the software used to organize your website, to efficiently produce new articles, and to easily maintain old content. I built one of my first websites using the Dreamweaver CMS, and I later progressed to learning how to use Joomla and WordPress. There are many excellent open source software options on the market such as WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal, as well as paid options such as Dreamweaver.
Your options for content management systems are extensive, so think carefully about your business requirements to narrow down your choice. It’s tempting to get a CMS with all the bells and whistles, but your business requirements may not warrant using such a sophisticated system.
To help you decide, I’ve reviewed the two CMSs that I use on a regular basis: WordPress and Joomla. Both are open source software, which means that they are issued under a license that is generally made available to the public for free, and allows users to make changes to its code as needed.
WordPress is a blog publishing platform used by both bloggers and businesses (including large corporate organizations). It has become very popular because it is easy to install, simple to use, and quite flexible. You can use WordPress to publish both blog posts and pages. The blog posts are usually published by date order, while the pages that are not dated are used to provide static business information such as a “Contact Us” page, information on your products and services, a privacy page, and a site map.
Along with its ease of use, you will find a slew of resources and a big community to talk shop about WordPress. You can grab the latest WordPress download from the official site. Updates occur on a fairly regular basis.
There are a lot of free WP themes available for your WordPress blog, but one of the downsides of a free theme is that it will probably be used by a lot of other people. For your business, it’s a good idea to invest in a premium theme that helps your website to stand out from the crowd and better promote your business brand.
- WordPress Free Themes – Visit the official WordPress theme directory to select from a range of free themes.
- Woo Themes – For an upfront or monthly fee, access a range of premium WordPress themes.
Depending on the requirements for your website, you will want to investigate the vast range of plugins available. Plugins are additional modules that add to the functionality of WordPress.
Here are some WordPress plugins that I like to use:
- SEO – Optimizes your titles for SEO and automatically generate meta tags.
- Sitemap Generator – Automates your sitemap as you add new content to your blog. A site map allows the search engines to crawl through your website easily and add your pages to their index.
- Ad Networks – If you are creating a blog that displays advertising from the various networks such as Google AdSense, a plugin such as Ad Networks will help you to manage, position, and rotate the ads on your blog.
Other useful plugins are those for tags and clouds, related blog posts, and comments.
Joomla is a popular content management system with extensive functionality. It is one of the top open source software systems available for building websites. Joomla had its origins as part of Mambo, and later broke away as a separate software project.
When I first evaluated Joomla several years ago, I found it similar to other tools in terms of features. There has been some debate over the functionality and architecture of Joomla and its rivals, but most people will agree that Joomla is very good at what it does. You can get the latest Joomla download from the official site.
JoomlaShack and JoomlArt are both popular places for purchasing Joomla themes. JoomlaShack offers both free themes and options to purchase premium themes, while JoomlArt requires you to join as a member to access themes.
Joomla offers a whole range of extensions if you are looking for additional features for your website. Extensions may consist of components, modules, or plugins and consist of both free and paid options. Some common extensions include tools for building an online community, for adding a forum or chat facility, and eCommerce functions such as shopping carts and payment facilities.
Choosing a CMS is important because it will determine the look and feel of your website, and will be the interface for your webmaster to update and maintain your web content. While WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, and Dreamweaver are all excellent content management systems, they do have different strengths and weaknesses that should be taken into consideration when choosing the CMS you want to use to maintain your business website.