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What is a Content Management System and Why Does it Need Maintenance?

By January 26, 2015November 7th, 2015Web Design

What is a Content Management System?

If your website was built in the last 5 years, chances are it was built on a Content Management System such as WordPress, Joomla or Drupal. Such systems have revolutionized website development by enabling the end user to take control of his/her own website and make changes without having to call a Web Developer to laboriously edit the HTML code, page by page and line by line.  It’s really brought huge savings to so many businesses by reducing the time and expense of building and making changes to a website.

There are many benefits to having your website on a Content Management System – so many so that it’s become almost unheard of to not use some sort of a CMS to power your website.  Thanks to the almost endless amount of plugins that are available to extend the functionality of a CMS, website projects that used to take hundreds of hours can now be done in a fraction of the time using the latest web technologies available.  What’s more is that the plugins are often available at a low cost or even no cost at all.  Better still is that content management systems and many plugins for them are released under a General Public License, which means the code can be modified, customized or re-purposed as needed, provided that the product always remains licensed under a General Public License.

Why Does it Need Maintenance?

The downside to using a Content Management System, if there is one, is that they need to be updated regularly to the latest available versions.  You will need to make sure your themes and plugins are also updated.  This keeps them functioning optimally.  More importantly, it keeps them safe and secured from spammers and hackers.

If you have a CMS-powered website, you can handle making these updates yourself.  WordPress, for example, has made it extremely easy to update both your WordPress version and your plugins from the admin dashboard.  However, depending on how many plugins and extensions your website uses, upgrading your CMS can be a little bit of a “sticky wicket”.  It’s not uncommon at all for an update to break your website or the functionality of part of your website because your theme, or one plugin or another is not compatible with the new software version.  Moreover, after building so many CMS websites, we’ve observed that the vast majority our clients do not take care of these updates on their own and furthermore, really don’t want to be bothered with it, until one day the get a call from someone telling their website is down, OR WORSE, is displaying a nefarious looking page entitled, “YOU’VE BEEN HACKED.”  Then, they call or email us and we have go into crisis management mode, trying to repair or resurrect their website. This can be extremely time consuming and tricky (translation = expensive) or even impossible if there are no system backups in place.  While we, as Web Developers, are, of course, in this business to make money, I can assure you that this is not the way we want to do it!  That’s why it’s a really good idea to have a professional Web Developer on retainer to proactively handle updating, maintaining and backing up your WordPress Website for you on a regular basis. It’s an affordable solution for many business owners that keeps that minimizes crisis incidents (or at least web-related ones) and allows you to focus on other aspects of running your business.  Contact us for more information on Managed WordPress Hosting.

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