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What Content Management System (CMS) Should You Use?

Izunna Okpala

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Content Management System (CMS) is a product installed on a web server that allows managing pages, blogs and articles online, without storing them on a desktop computer and uploading each time when you need to make changes.

You simply login to your website, write or modify content, and your website is instantly updated, unless you set a specific schedule for your content to be visible to website visitors. CMS products also allow multiple administrators or editors to maintain online content without conflicting with each other. And most importantly, CMS products provide separation between articles and web design, thus allowing you to focus on writing content and not worry about copying the web design from page to page. CMS products can also automatically update menus and links between pages based on the list of articles you create, therefore you don’t need to worry about your website becoming broken when you rename pages.

Many CMS products have emerged over the last few years and sometimes it is difficult to choose the right one for your needs. In this article we’re going to talk about what you need to keep in mind when choosing a CMS. We will cover a few of the more popular CMS products used today.

Please note that some of the topics, pros and cons provided here are based on personal opinion and experiences of our staff. Other people may have a different opinion about CMS products based on their prior experience and comfort level with specific technologies. Therefore this guide is provided only as a general overview of popular CMS choices for those unfamiliar with CMS products or concepts.

The Most Popular Website and CMS Platforms:

  • Straight HTML
  • WordPress
  • Joomla
  • Drupal
  • DotNetNuke
  • Blogger
  • Artisteer.net

There are 5 questions that you really need to keep in mind when choosing a CMS for your site.

#1 Does the CMS match your needs?

Your choice of CMS mostly depends on the kind of website you want to create. There are numerous types of websites: company, commercial, entertainment, news, blogs, forums, personal and educational, etc. Hybrid websites have also gained popularity. For example, a business website might have a dual purpose; one to promote its product as an e-commerce site, and another purpose to serve as an industry blog, providing additional useful information, such as analyst reviews, reports, etc.

Unless you know what you need your site to do, you’re going to have a hard time selecting the correct CMS. The first thing you should do is to sit down and list out what you need your website to do for you and what you might want it to do in the future. Then compare your list to the features of the CMS and the 3rd party plug-ins available for it. Who knows, in some cases, you might not need a CMS at all and be better off with just a static HTML site.

#2 Will it allow for growth and extensibility as your needs grow?

For this you will need to think ahead and envision what direction your site might go in the future regarding functionality. You don’t want to start with a

CMS that you can’t extend later. So you want to check and see if plug-ins and add-ons exist that will let you extend the functionality of the CMS. In fact many people often choose their CMS just so they can use certain plug-ins.

#3 Is there a Support Community?

This is especially important if you are going with a free CMS platform and are doing it yourself. There is generally little to no support on most free products, so there needs to be a strong community that you can tap into when you need help and information.

#4 What is the learning curve?

This is very important if you are newbie. If the CMS is too complicated you might get overwhelmed and never get the site up and running. A simple CMS that suits your needs, that you can get up and running quickly, is better than a CMS with advanced features that you don’t need.

#5 How much does it cost?

How much is your budget for your site, or do you even have a budget? The good news is that there are many popular

Free CMS platforms that will fit most needs, though you might have to spend a few bucks on a couple of plug-ins, or add-on tools to get the exact functionality you want.

The CMS Market

There are literally hundreds of CMS out there that do pretty much anything you can think of and they range in price from free to thousands of dollars.

In this article I’m going to take a look at the most popular CMS products that are free.

Chart Data Source:w3techs.com

As you can see over 70% of the web still uses no CMS at all, however, they may use custom developed programs to display content. WordPress is currently the most popular CMS used on the web holding 15.7% of CMS usage, with the others trailing behind.

The advantage of using a popular CMS such as those above is that there is a plethora of support communities, articles and forums to go to when you need help trying to figure something out and tons of plug-ins to add functionality to your site. Obviously the more popular the CMS is, the larger the community and selection of plug-ins.

A few years back using a CMS was more complicated than it is today as now most hosting companies have made it very easy to use the above popular CMS products by offering one-click installs through their hosting panels that sets up the basic CMS installation for you, including the database, in about 5 minutes. Then you only need to install your template, plug-ins, widgets and start adding your content.

A Closer Look At The Most Popular Website and CMS Platforms

Straight HTML

By straight HTML we actually mean a system that does not use an online CMS but rather comprises of a set of loose HTML pages, often managed with a desktop software such as Dreamweaver. And for some sites this may be an acceptable choice, especially if you are just putting up a few static pages. The market share of websites using straight HTML is continually decreasing due to the difficulty of maintaining large number of pages.

There is no complex set up beyond just using a HTML editor and publishing the site to your host via FTP. Therefore it’s very easy to create an HTML website and get it online in literally minutes if you already have your content ready to go.

The web was based on straight HTML websites when it first started. CMS products evolved out of the need to make things easier and allow more flexibility. Some websites have brochure style sections created in HTML and then have a blog in another directory using WordPress, sometimes also having a member’s area in another directory based on Joomla. So Straight HTML can be part of an entire solution.

HTML pages, WordPress Blog and Joomla Membership section to make things look smooth and professional.

Pros:

  • No CMS to set up
  • Upload and forget about it until you need to make changes
  • Less security issues or vulnerabilities than a CMS
  • Can be much faster to create an HTML site if Artisteer is used, and faster to display by the web server.

Cons:

  • No blog or commenting capability.
  • Not easy to change the look or layout of the site without Artisteer.
  • Cannot add content from a web based interface.
  • Can take much longer to create a site if a manual HTML editor is used.
  • Without good design tools it’s very difficult to create a visually appealing HTML site, which requires both a graphics program and an HTML editor.
  • Often requires the knowledge of HTML (not required with Artisteer)

Suggested for …

small brochure style sites, affiliate SEO sites, sales letter style sites or small personal sites with infrequent updates.

This is also a good choice for ‘upload and forget’ sites, if you do not have the time to update a CMS for security issues.

In Summary …

when you want a static site without any security holes, or to merge sections of sites together, straight HTML is a good choice and a fast one if using Artisteer.

WordPress

WordPress started out as a blogging platform but has become a powerful CMS in its own right in the latest versions. You can even create sites that don’t have a blog at all and just use it as a CMS to create static pages that don’t resemble a blog at all. We have even seen people use it for membership sites by enhancing their system with plug-ins.

WordPress has the biggest usage rate at 15.70% for a number of reasons. It’s easy to use, has a large community, tons of templates (of course unlimited templates if you own Artisteer), and has a huge selection of free & paid plug-ins for extensibility. If there is something you need to do that you can’t currently do with WordPress you can bet someone is working on a plug-in that will add that functionality to it right now as we speak. And most quality hosting companies offer one-click installs of WordPress.

It’s very easy to add new content, add widgets by drag-and-drop functionality and of course change the entire look of the site just by changing or updating the theme.

SEO with WordPress is very good if it’s set up properly and there are several SEO plug-ins that focus specifically on WordPress.

Pros:

  • Very easy to install (Especially with a host that has one-click installs.)
  • Large community of users & developers
  • Lots of informational resources, books, videos, courses, classes, blogs.
  • Lots of developers and programmers if you need to hire one.
  • Very easy to find many themes and template designs.
  • Templates supported by Artisteer.
  • Easy to Manage.

Cons:

  • Can be difficult to customize the core functionalities.
  • Can be difficult to add custom features.
  • Not the best choice for large scale sites requiring large number of features.
  • Hackers love to attack WordPress sites due to huge market share.

Suggested for …

blogs, small business websites, affiliate SEO sites, or personal sites.

In Summary …

WordPress is great if your needs can be met by a light & simple template based site or a simple blog style site with a few plug-ins for added functionality.

Joomla

Joomla is one of the most popular CMS products available for medium to large sites that need more flexibility and features than WordPress supports. There are more plug-ins for Joomla than any other CMS, which gives it huge flexibility and extensibility.

Joomla is well known for being the best multimedia CMS and is also very good for e-commerce. It’s also good for high traffic sites.

It’s not as easy to use or get up and running as a WordPress site. Even with a one-click install, it will still take you longer to get everything configured to your liking. It’s also not as easy to use as WordPress, but if you need advanced functionality it might be the best choice for you.

There is a huge amount of information and documentation on Joomla. This is good because you will need it more than you would with WordPress, as Joomla is more robust and complex.

There are a couple of downsides to Joomla. One is that with the huge number of plug-ins also come quite a bit of bad quality or poorly functioning plug-ins that if not properly tested can cause problems in your site. You don’t want to just load up your site with a dozen plug-ins and then hope for the best. You need to exercise a bit more care with Joomla than that, often utilizing help of people familiar with Joomla.

Pros:

  • Fairly easy to install.
  • Massive Collection of plug-ins.
  • Fairly easy to manage.
  • Good for high traffic.
  • Good for sites up to 1000+ pages.
  • Great for multimedia and small e-commerce websites (using additional plug-ins).

Cons:

  • Not easy to customize the functionalities or add custom features.
  • Many of the plug-ins are for older versions of Joomla.

Suggested for …

medium sized business sites, multimedia sites, membership sites, directories, small e-commerce websites, etc…

In Summary …

Joomla maybe very well be the best choice for dynamic websites designed for growth and multitude of features.

Drupal

Drupal is a very solid and robust CMS featuring ACL (access control levels, for multiple user groups). Drupal is known for stability, scalability, extensibility and withstanding high traffic loads with very few issues or problems. It is the hardest to setup and configure of CMS products featured here. It requires advanced technical knowledge and experience.

This is not your mother’s CMS. It’s your geeky brother that lives in the basement, on a diet of energy drinks and hot pockets, while surrounded by home built server boxes and tech books on CMS products. So if you’re not up to the challenge, you’re going to need to hire someone to help you set your Drupal CMS up.

What Drupal has in stability it lack in terms of community size, ease of use, available templates (unless you have Artisteer, then of course you have unlimited template options) and numerous plug-ins. However, unlike Joomla, Drupal plug-ins tend to be of a higher level of quality and reliability.

Pros:

  • Best Free CMS with ACL.
  • Solid and Stable.
  • Good for scalability and sites with large number of pages.
  • Good under high loads and high traffic.

Cons:

  • Need knowledgeable tech person to setup properly.
  • Not as many plug-in available.
  • Many concurrent versions with different plug-in requirements.
  • Big learning curve.
  • Smaller community.

Suggested for …

enterprises sites, companies that have IT staff, large sites.

In Summary …

if this is mission critical and you will have high traffic then Drupal might be the way to go even if you have to hire technical help.

DotNetNuke

DNN (DotNetNuke) is a CMS that runs on Microsoft ASP.NET. It has a smaller user base and is an open source CMS platform that also functions as a web application development framework.

This is a more specialized CMS that is geared toward those that need to develop their own functionality and application to use on their websites. However, DotNetNuke is based on ASP.NET and can perform faster than PHP based CMS products mentioned above.

DNN also has commercial versions available for those that need more functionality as well as over 800 Independent software developers.

Pros:

  • Great documentation.
  • Good support community.
  • Good for custom application development.
  • Good security.
  • Good for enterprise solutions.
  • Fast performance in terms of displaying content.

Cons:

  • Limited to using it on a Microsoft Windows Sever.
  • Not as easy to set up as other CMS.
  • May have to buy plug-ins or custom develop them.
  • More of a learning curve than WordPress or Joomla.

Suggested for …

enterprises sites, companies that have IT staff, larger sites.

In Summary …

if you need a robust solution that will also let you develop your own applications or are already using a Microsoft server this might be the CMS for you. Now a couple of options for novice users…

Blogger

Blogger is a simple blogging platform for people that just want to set up a quick blog. It has predesigned template themes or you can create your own in Artisteer and upload it to Blogger.

This is not an advanced CMS but really just a free and simple blog. The problem with using a service like Blogger is that you don’t own the blog, they do, and if you happen to violate their terms of service in any way you can lose all of our content and your blog. If that is not a concern for you and you want something that you can setup that’s quick and easy, and don’t need advanced functionality then Blogger might be an option for you.

Internet marketers and SEO specialist often use platforms like Blogger to create satellite sites that link to a main site.

Pros:

  • Free.
  • Very easy to set up and use.
  • Possible SEO boost over standalone site.
  • Can use your own domain.
  • Can post from your mobile phone.

Cons:

  • Limited functionality, can only be used as a blog.
  • You’re at the mercy of their Terms of Service.
  • Limited plug-ins available.

Suggested for …

Blogs, SEO Satellite sites.

In Summary …

Blogger is good for people that just want a quick and easy blog. With Artisteer you can make a template for you main website and also a matching one for your Blogger site.

Artisteer.net

When you purchase Artisteer, you also get access to our free WordPress based CMS/Blog hosting platform for our customers. It has much of the WordPress functionality except that we don’t allow plug-ins as they present a security risk.

A great advantage of Artisteer.net is the embedded WYSIWYG editor in the desktop application. From the desktop application, you can create a design, add and remove web pages and posts, add and edit the content of your pages and posts, and then publish it to the web – all within Artisteer. Plus, the Artisteer.net CMS supports backend website maintenance, so most of what you can do on the desktop can also be done online letting you work from anywhere you have an Internet connection. And you can even use your own domain name.

Pros:

  • Free.
  • You can use your own Domain Name.
  • Easier to use and configure than WordPress.
  • Very easy to create and manage multiple websites.
  • Very easy to create and manage multiple websites.
  • There are a few widgets for added functionality.
  • Support for Google analytics.

Cons:

  • Can’t use plug-ins.
  • Limited space.
  • You don’t own it and still have to follow our Terms & Conditions,

Suggested for …

personal blogs, small brochure style sites, to test designs or show designs to clients.

In Summary …

Artisteer.net is an alternative to Blogger and WordPress.com with the added functionality of being able to design and edit sites in Artisteer.net locally on your desktop. For more info on how to use Artisteer.net please download and read the Artisteer.net user’s manual.

Hosting Your CMS

If you’re using Blogger, WordPress.com or Artisteer.net you don’t need to worry about hosting as they are all selfhosted.

But if you plan on using one of the other CMS products mentioned in this article you should know that not all hosts are created equal.

Special attention should be given to choosing a web host that is CMS friendly. You should choose a host that makes it easy to set up your CMS with a 1-Click install which will save you the time and hassle of manually setting up the CMS yourself.

In the case of DotNetNuke you need to make sure the server you are running on is a Microsoft sever that will support .net applications. The rest of the CMS products mentioned in this article run on the standard LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP) servers configuration that is quite common. If your hosting provider has one-click installs you know they are compatible with the CMS, which is why we recommend you use a host that does.

Before creating a web site, we suggest that you…

  • Make a list of your needs for your site as we mentioned at the beginning of this article. Then watch some tutorials and read reviews to learn how different CMS products may match your needs. Then choose the best match between CMS and if necessary, plug-ins.
  • Visit some of the better sites in your niche and/or your competitors to see what they are using.
  • Plan and draw the layout of your website, as well as write down a list of features and the content you want to have, and how to navigate the pages of your website.
  • When a layout of your future website is visualized, and a CMS is selected, it is time to create a template (aka Theme or Skin). A template represents the ‘style’ that you want your web pages to look like. You add your content in the CMS but you create the way you want the content to look with a template. That’s where Artisteer comes in. You can use Artisteer to create beautiful templates you can install and use in your CMS without having to learn how to be a professional web designer.

In conclusion

Depending on your needs choosing the right CMS can be very difficult or very easy. It’s our hope that this article has educated you about some of the different options available that Artisteer supports and help you choose the right CMS for your website.

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A conference on blockchain and health is scheduled to be held at the Africa Blockchain Developers Call.

Izunna Okpala

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The Africa Blockchain Developers Call (ABDC) Pan-African Bootcamp on blockchain technology has declared its intention to hold a weekend conference on incorporating blockchain technology into Africa’s health sector.

In an attempt to execute comprehensive blockchain training sessions and promote the implementation of specially designed applications for different sectors in Africa, the Bootcamp, officially launched on 5 September, has taken on a host of African developers.

The Bootcamp also features virtual weekend conferences on many use-cases for blockchain. These conferences are aimed at encouraging creative and comprehensive discussions on the implementation of blockchain technology in Africa, including platform presentations by businesses and panel sessions on many Blockchain issues. The first meeting, focusing on Blockchain in Finance, took place on September 5. It featured a keynote speech given by Professor Anicia Peters, University of Namibia Pro-Vice Chancellor for Science, Innovation and Development.

The next conference, scheduled to take place on October 3rd, will focus on the theme: Blockchain in Health. The keynote speech will be given by Arnab Paul, President of the Kolkata Chapter in India. Several organizations and startups will also give platform presentations via their representatives based on medical use cases for blockchain technology.

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Pan-African incubator, MEST Africa to invest $700k in its Class of 2020

Izunna Okpala

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After graduating its 2020 class a month ago, MEST Africa, the Pan-African incubator, revealed that it will invest $100k each in seven start-ups.

In the final pitching event, fifteen teams participated, but only seven were picked, adding $700k to the overall funding round for this class.

In addition to the funding, start-ups can also participate in the ongoing incubation programme at MEST.

Ashwin Ravichandran, managing director of MEST Africa, had this to say, speaking about the range.

This was the first time that our entrepreneurs were educated online and away from our campus for the most part, and I’m proud to say they came out stronger than ever. We are incredibly excited about the 7 companies in which we have chosen to invest and look forward to continuing our support and mentorship as they start their companies across the continent.

The seven startups include:

Shopa, a last-mile ordering and delivery startup for informal retailers in Africa.

Heny, a forum to explore new flavors and perspectives for young professionals by changing the way diners eat.

Boxconn, a network that offers companies and individuals access to a list of confirmed distribution partners nearest to them, instantly delivers packages from one location to another.

KPILens, a start-up that automates the documentation, tracking and assessment process for development organizations and makes it simpler.

Tendo, an online network that ties independent resellers to companies, aims to tackle two of the biggest issues facing Africa: unemployment and gender inequality.

Joovlin, helps fintech platforms and merchants increase their sales by interconnecting mobile wallet users and allowing them to transact with each other.

Eleka, streamlines onboarding procedures for customers that are fraught with lengthy and expensive labor measures.

Move In Rentals, Credia, Uyolo, VendoorPro, Trastea, Cornerstock, Colibri, and JidiTrust are the other startups that didn’t receive funding from MEST.

Last year, MEST invested $100k in eleven startups while celebrating its 11th year in business. The sum, $1.1 million, represented the organization’s largest single cohort investment.

And although the amount this year is $400k smaller, the selected startups will have the opportunity to enter the incubator ‘s portfolio of over 40 startups across Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, and South Africa.

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Get Financial assistance through the Bold.org Scholarship for US Universities

Izunna Okpala

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Tuition waivers or scholarships are financial assistance incentives intended to help students pay for an undergraduate or graduate degree. A scholarship is only just a one-time test. Other school scholarships are annual and provide money per semester or school year for the students. These grants are special from student loans because they don’t have to be paid back.

Students will earn the money in their name directly as verification. In other instances, the money is donated to the school for the student. The student would then pay the school in those cases for the difference on any money owed for tuition , fees, room , and board. If the scholarships and other forms of financial aid are adequate to cover the direct costs of education, the applicant may be refunded the excess money.

About Bold.org

Bold.org is a Scholarship website established in 2019. The platform’s concept is simple: corporations, charities, and even individuals can build a personalized scholarship, internship, or student grant opportunity. Such programs could be targeted at helping a range of high-potential individuals with a wide array of interests, talents, and backgrounds.

The kind of Scholarship in Bold.org

Bold.org scholarships tend to be very precise, which is a very positive thing for students. There are scholarships for students who love reading, Native American youth scholarships and scholarships for students who want to have a major in philosophy.

Like several other sources of scholarships, the programs aim to help a wide variety of education levels from high school students to medical students! Below are some of the best scholarships we profiled at Bold.org:

  1. Minority Women in STEM Bi-Annual Scholarship
  2. One Move Ahead Chess Scholarship
  3. High School Social Leaders Scholarship
  4. The “Be Bold” No-Essay Scholarship
  5. Bold.org No-Essay Community Scholarship
  6. Recent Immigrant Scholarship
  7. Elevate Women in Technology Scholarship

How do I get signed up?

You can get signed up for free on the Bold.org website. Signing up is easy should only take five minutes or so.

My Profile in Bold.org

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