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What is a Content Management System?
A Content Management System (CMS) is a third party software application which allows web site
administrators to add, update or delete content, photos, and documents to their web site in “real
time”. Many web sites are modified using these web-based tools as they require little to no knowledge
of HTML or web scripting languages. CMS programs make it easy for a webmaster or site owner who
does not know HTML or have access to a WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) HTML Editor,
such as Macromedia’s Dreamweaver, to update their site.
In today’s high paced web world, a good CMS is integral to the efficient operation of a web site. Many
webmasters and web site developers are building database driven, or dynamic web sites, which
require a third party solution, such as a Content Management System, to update the content that lives
in the database. In addition, a CMS allows the web site owner to outsource content development
remotely to contract copywriters and other willing contributors. With built in access level hierarchies,
webmasters can allow various users to register as authors and start submitting articles and news to
be published on their site. social media management Florida
How do Content Management Systems Work?
Content Management Systems create a dynamic web site environment, where all the content is stored
in a database or XML file. Using a web-based interface, the webmaster can select which page they
want to update and then can modify the web content in a text editor, with many of the familiar
formatting keys that can be found in a word processing program. Once the content has been updated,
with the simple click of a button, the CMS will turn their text into HTML code and publish
the content to the web site. Florida content management
Problems Between Search Engines and Content Management Systems:
Historically, search engines have had difficulty indexing dynamic pages. While their ability to index
and rank dynamic pages has improved dramatically, there are some basic things to avoid. One of the
greatest enemies of search engines is URL strings that contain many URL parameters. URL
parameters are variables that are passed to the CMS through the URL, which tell it what information
to retrieve from the database. URLs with too many parameters generally make little logical sense to
the average user and may also scare off search spiders.
It is suggested to limit the number of URL parameters to two or three per URL to ensure that that
search spiders will not have difficulty indexing pages deep within the web site.
Certain URL parameter names may automatically flag a filter on the search engine. One example is
the URL parameter names that contain ‘ID’, such as ‘sessionid’, ‘sid’ or ‘userid’. Historically, search
engines detect the term “ID” and assume it is associated with a session dependant variable. As a
result, search engines have learned to flag these parameter names and it can cause problems with
page indexing. Passing session dependant variables through the URL is a problem for search engines
because the spider essentially sees a unique URL each time they visit the site because the session
dependent variables change with each visit.
Based on the above, it is imperative to employ a CMS that does not pass session dependent data,
such as session variables, through a URL string. Doing so will not only create potential usability issues
for the end user, but will also result in indexing problems for the search engine spiders.
Finally, search engines gather understanding from your web site’s content by filtering through the
HTML code. For this reason, it is extremely important that your CMS generate HTML code that
adheres to the latest requirements of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Use the W3C Code
Validator to determine if your code meets the W3C standards. Be aware that some CMS’s add in many
violates a cardinal rule of SEO; ‘To always have more content then code’.
Finding a Search Engine Friendly CMS that will Work for You:
Now that we have explored many of the potential problems with Content Management Systems, lets
look at how to go about finding one that will be both search engine friendly and suit your specific
needs. First you will need to determine what server platform you will be using. Many Content
Management Systems use scripting languages and databases that are platform dependant. If you are
married to a particular platform, it may limit your CMS options. Ideally, you will want to find a CMS
that is platform independent, which can run on any server.
The most important aspects of a good CMS are the ease of use and richness of content formatting
features. This one is a no-brainer because the very reason that you are looking for a CMS is that YOU
DON’T WANT TO CODE. Any good CMS should provide an editing stage that is similar in feature and
function to a standard word processing program, such as Microsoft Word. The technical term for this
is a WYSIWYG Editor or a Rich Text Editor. This important feature will allow you to type and format
your content using standard buttons and keyboard shortcuts. When you publish the content to the live
web site, the CMS will write the HTML, CSS and scripting to display your content as it was formatted
during the editing stage. Many Content Management Systems are offering additional technologies,
such as RSS feed, shopping cart solutions, forums and live chat integration, which can really enhance
the functionality of your web site. The key is to find a CMS that will suit your core needs and then
determine what add-ons would be beneficial. The ends result will be a web site that is easy to
manage and usable for both your customers and the search engines.