If your webmaster isn’t using a CMS based web platform, perhaps you should consider a new webmaster.
CMS – Content Management System’s offer a great deal of flexibility to web designers and content owners alike. A CMS stores and indexes all the content elements used on a platform in an SQL back-end database. Separating the content from the interface means you can change the view of the content simply by adding a new interface. This CMS concept is used in several IT areas and is especially useful to me as it applies to web design. There are 3 main open source web design platforms that are based around a CMS – WordPress, Joomla and Drupal – they each offer slightly different features and benefits but the principle is the same.
The main benefit of a CMS platform is the ability to leverage the ‘core’ and all the community developed plug-ins and support. This is very different from building websites using an HTML editor. The life blood of a good CMS is the availability of well designed templates – templates are used as the presentation interface for the content and are therefore (somewhat) interchangeable. The down-side of using a CMS is that you will sacrifice some of the granular design control that is available when coding. However, once you “hand yourself over” to the process, you are free to concentrate on building the website in a timely and economical fashion – what once took weeks now takes only days. Of course much of the effort still revolves around content origination.
There are a great many plug-ins and themes available – many are free but some carry a small premium. A new trend – Responsive Web Design – is sweeping the web design world. Many template designers are adding the capability to their templates allowing web designers to economically build and deploy websites that adapt to the visitors device. The main advantage is that a single set of content can be presented on a broad range of devices without the need to build a new interface or create a unique content set. This also leads to the idea of editing content down to a minimum so that it is best served on a mobile device. Of course this approach does not work for all websites – for example high-density e-commerce sites will most likely opt for a custom mobile app to access its store – think Amazon mobile.
The big up-side for CMS is that it is relatively easy for the content owner to learn how to update aspects of the website without having to call the webmaster. This level of independence is appealing to many – even if they never avail themselves of the option.