When a website gets much larger than a minisite, as it often does for branding and feeder websites, such as blogs, you really require some sort of content management system or CMS.
Why do you need a CMS?
- It will improve the load time of your web pages.
- It will help you organize and re-organize your web pages more easily.
- It will let you add and delete pages without having to know HTML.
There are a wide variety of content management systems available: some simple, others robust. Some are free, others at a cost. Some are very user-friendly, others not so much.
Before deciding on what CMS you will use as the platform of your website, you need to decide — and I know this will come as a surprise if you’ve been reading my posts this month — what the purpose and plan for your website is. What functionality will you want it to have? How do you think your website will grow? Changing content management systems later is a big pain in the butt, so avoid it by thinking things through before you start to implement.
So, what does all this have to do with web design (this month’s blog topic)?
In simple terms, which CMS you choose, will often determine your design options. With some systems, it is easy to do a certain thing, with others not so much.
But I’ll make it simple for you. Choose a CMS that is based on the blogging platform and you can’t go wrong. I personally prefer WordPress, for more reasons that I can go into in this article, but I’ll give you the design reasons in a nutshell:
- You can have either pages or blog posts or both as a part of your website.
- There are so many pre-made themes out there already, most of the design work is done for you.
- There is a suite of plugins that will let you do all sorts of things with your design and navigation.
WordPress is amazingly flexible … and it’s open source so it’s free!
Now remember what I’ve told you in the previous blog posts. Even with a larger website that uses a content management system, your home page is still the most important virtual real estate you have and needs to have the key components of:
- An attention-grabbing headline
- Some interest-grabbing copy
- An emphasis on the key benefits of what you have to offer
- A call to action — usually in the form of an Opt-In box