Websites, Part IV — web CMS basics

This post follows up on the tech tip I recorded for Episode 265 of the Just the Books podcast. This continues the series about websites and how they’re made. This series is not intended to deeply explore the topic, the primary goal is to build a foundation for understanding how websites are put together, the tools that can be used, and how innovation is changing and advancing this topic.

A Web Content Management System (web CMS) is a way to manage all the parts to your website.

How? With structure and framework organized for you, they free you to focus on the important part of your website, the content.

The backend of a webCMS will handle all the things that make your website what it is. The frontend does the magic and orchestrates the display.

The backend structure is not a restriction at all. It allows for consistency in the website and simplifies when changes need to be made. Furthermore, many of this programs allow for custom fields which allow for complete customization.

In the backend — which for most applications is accessed through a web interface — you will enter site-wide information such as the title of the site, authors, choose themes, and optional plugins/add-ons.

This is also where you load the content to your site. The web interface can look like your favorite word processor and will help you format your content, add links, and add photos or other media.

Free Options – the software is free and open-source, web hosting and domain are separate.

for-Pay Options – these are now often cloud-based, you might still need to pay for a domain name.