Introduction to Website CMS
From California Technology Feestival Wiki
facilitated by Thomas Gelder and JC Sanchez from GIIP
About the facilitators
Thomas and JC teach WordPress at UC Santa Cruz.
Content Management System
- A CMS is something that takes care of most of the technical access of a website so you can focus on publishing content.
- The real value of a website is in data; content is your data on a website; a CMS makes it easier for you to get your awesome message out.
- Sometimes we associate a CMS with being super techie; in reality, CMS are made for people to put out your voice more easily rather than worry about design something. Wordpress does it for you, you don't have to worry about that.
- Question: can you take a Flash website and turn it into a Wordpress website?
- Content is what's important: look at the structure of how your website is made, take your content, move it to Wordpress.
- CMS shouldn't need a techie to add/organize content, BUT you may need a techie/developer to build or design the site in the first place.
- What do you want out of a website?
- Our organization has an outdated, haphazardly created website, we need a new one; we want to figure out how to economically set up a structure from the very beginning that will allow us to fill the content and do the operation and maintenance without a tremendous amount of ongoing website. There are fairly sophisticated things that we hope to do (e.g. password-protected content on the site for statewide coalition members.) Are there ways for one of the more simple WordPress sites to do that?
- Different kinds of websites:
- Basic informational page
- People sign up for the site, go into password protected website--that's something to talk about with a developer
- We won't be able to pay for the entirety of what we want all at once; how do we set that up intelligently, in phases, so you don't have to undo what's done. Suspect that means having an overarching plan with the vision.
- How can you allow grassroots, rural members to contribute?
Domains and hosting
- Wordpress and Drupal are free open source software.
- When you buy a domain name, some companies also give you very basic web hosting and website software
- There are other web hosts that let you install your own software, e.g. Drupal and Wordpress--you download the software, install it, and change it the way you want.
- You don't need to go with WordPress.com or DrupalGardens.com; you can host those things elsewhere.
- Important to keep a maintenance schedule to keep up with software updates; good practice to check the updates regularly, have a schedule for that.
- Updates to basic WordPress or Drupal software ("core software") are easy for end users to do; with more custom built sites and complicated sites, updates can break the site more easily.
What are the costs for maintenance?
- Some developers will leave you set up to do updates yourse;f; be careful of folks who don't give you that information!
- Sometimes you can get folks to donate time to maintain your site!
- One shop's example: maintenance is usually 30 minutes a month
- One organization wants an e-learning system for clients; some folks can't come to a lab to do stuff; they're using Joomla, want to add this feature to the site; have something centralized.
- There are LMS --learning management systems--and course management systems; one is Moodle (open source)
- You can have a website, have a page be a lesson, embed your videos.
Breaking down websites
- Domain name: yournamehere.com or yournamehere.organization
- Hosting: space that you rent on servers where you keep your website files, databases, etc. Can really range in price: from $5/mo to thousands/mo
- Choosing hosting: figure out the website you need, then make sure your host can accommodate that.
- Interested in more resources? Are there online assessments to figure out what you need?
- Aspiration has lots of resources on their website; also offer free consulting.