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Website Design Using a CMS

 Content Management Systems: An Introductory Overview


  • No need to rely on other people/companies to keep your website up to date
  • You can manage your own content in a timely manner
  • Every CMS has built-in organizational features
  • All content is created, managed, published, and edited from a single location


  • The template is the graphic wrapper of your website
  • It makes your website look and feel consistent across ALL pages
  • If you need to make a change, you only have to edit it one time in a single location and the change will be reflected on every page of your website


  • Content is the “meat” of your website - it could be anything from the text on the pages to photos incorporated on a certain page
  • Content is created, managed, and edited independent of all other CMS elements
  • When creating and editing content on your page, a CMS usually allows you to do so in a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) editor that has integrated editing tools such as bold, italicize, underline, font size, etc. available to you as you see in a word processor like Microsoft Word

Standard Features of a CMS

  • Publishing - creating content and making it “live”
  • Typography - built-in text editors (Microsoft Word style)
  • Organization of CMS features (each CMS does this a little differently, but they all have some sort of organization)
  1. Draft - work in progress, not yet live
  2. Published - content is live
  3. Archived - content is no longer live, but it is saved in my CMS
  • Member management - administrator, editor, contributor, etc.

Additional Features (add-on modules/plug-ins/widgets)

  • Features that you add to your website that are not part of the CMS’s standard features
  • These add value, improve accessibility, and increase functionality
  • Usually downloaded and installed (Think of it as extra apps you download onto your phone. The apps your phone come with would be the standard features. Any additional apps you download are similar to add-on modules or plug-ins on your website.)
  • Examples: calendar plug-in, image slider, e-commerce features, photo galleries, language translation, contact forms, website statistics and analytics (i.e. Google Analytics), social media widgets, etc.

Custom Editing the HTML/CSS

  • Many CMS’s let you edit the HTML/CSS for your template
  • Customize or override your template and website features here if needed


Hartland, R. (2009, November 8). Getting started with content management systems. Smashing Magazine. Retrieved from