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Tech Take-Apart
Content Management Made Easy
by kp

If you have ever dabbled in web design, you may have come across many acronyms like HTML, XHTML, CSS, or CMS. CMS, or Content Management System, is a fancy term for a easier way to develop web sites without needing a degree or spending hours sloshing through HTML guides. With CMS, the difficult tasks are done for you behind the scenes - all you have to do is point and click where you want your images, videos or text to go on the page. Got a Facebook or MySpace page? You have already been utilizing the benefits of CMS. Besides social networks, other services are available for CMS-based web sites such as Google Sites. For developers, there are some open-source solutions to create your own CMS  like Joomla! or Drupal. Whatever your experience level is, having your own web site is simpler than ever with content management.

Google provides many tools to help you get started with your own site, and the best part is that it's free. The first step is to have a Google account. The Sites tool can be accessed through sites.google.com. From the entrance page, you can set up a site with a custom name and description, plus choose a site theme. One of the limitations of using a CMS is that you have only a pre-set amount of options for customization, but this can also be an asset if you need to control the web content. And, users with little technical knowledge have the power to build their own pages. Google Sites allows some flexibility for formatting text, and an HTML view to write your own code. Plus, it has additional features to add components to your site with Google Apps and Gadgets. You can upload spreadsheets, insert a calendar, post a clock, or even import your photo albums from Picasa. Publishing your pages is a cinch too. You don't have to worry about FTP - everything is already in the cloud.

For the more ambitious, you can build your own content management system for your web site. There are many open source options, but some of the more popular are WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal. In order to utilize this software, you need to have it installed on a web server. Some web hosting service providers have it as part of their service packages, or if you have a server of your own, you can DIY. Both Drupal and Joomla! are based in PHP using other open source support resources like MySQL and Apache. For a developer, these tools can be beneficial for a business site too. You are able to control user access privileges and content without having to build everything from scratch. Whether you are a professional designer, programmer or just novice web builder, CMS is an invaluable tool for producing flexible and user-friendly web sites.

Beginning Joomla!
Using Drupal

Google Sites

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