Web Content Management Tools (CMS)
Web content management systems, commonly called Web CMS, are web based applications that allow users to easily edit the content of their web sites. There are a number of products available that deliver the right balance of usability and power, and at STAR Digital we have chosen to design and develop in the Joomla CMS environment.
Joomla! is an open source platform which means that it does not incur hefty licence fees. To keep the product up to date it engages with the web developer community who in turn develop components and plug-ins that can extend the functionality of the product. Most of these extensions are made available to the wider community to use when developing projects for their clients.
The advantage to a web based CMS is that it allows non-technical users to make changes to the text and image content of the website. This can be done directly via the web browser using front end editing tools see illustration a, or via back end administration tools, see illustration b.
One of the major advantages of web content management systems is that they allow for the separation of markup (code) from content, which creates a very modular system. This means that overall design changes can be completed quickly and cost effectively.
All of the content on a CMS is stored in a database, typically MySQL, and the pages are served up using PHP. This makes for a fast and dynamic environment to design and develop in.
We have developed hundreds of Joomla based web sites for clients ranging from start-ups right through to local government organisations and trade unions. The scalability offered and enterprise level functionality makes the product attractive to organisations large and small.
With in-built features such as search engine friendly URL's (SEF) combined with CH MOD rewrite functions and controllable page description and metadata fields at the page level you will see that Joomla is very search engine friendly when properly configured.
Another major advantage of Joomla is its complete flexibility when it comes to hosting. The overhead for a small site that receives low traffic, say less than 50 unique visits a day, is minimal so you can run the package on a small server set up. We never recommend shared hosting environments from a security point of view, although some clients insist, but to give an example it is perfectly feasible to run a moderate Joomla site on a 256Mb Private Cloud Server with some performance tweaks to the server PHP and mySQL settings for as little as £20 a month.
More elaborate enterprise type solutions might run over multiple dedicated servers costing thousands a month, But the point here is that Joomla lets you do it. You can run everything in a 64 bit environment to ensure that you get the most out of your servers memory, and we've created Joomla sites for large companies handling millions of unique visits a month with no problems at all.
Another great reason for using Joomla is the speed to deployment. If you run digital marketing campaigns and need to create brand micro sites that run with promotions it is possible to create the site from creative in a matter of days. Combine that with cloud hosting and if demand is high during the promotion causing too many concurrent connections, it is easy to spin up more duplciate servers to cope with the load. Only paying for the extra capacity by the hour as you need it.
So when considering a CMS for your next digital marketing project its always worth looking at Joomla and talking to an agency that really understands working in all environments, particularly where web integration is required with other back office systems.
A major advantage of Joomla is that it uses MySQL technology to store all of the web side data. With a number of web services such as ODBC and SOAP it makes it easy for Joomla to communicate with back office systems written in MS SQL, Oracle or even Filemaker. In fact the level of customisation that can be achieved with Joomla can be a real game changer for business on the web. If you'd like to know more about how we've developed seriously innovative solutions for our clients to drive new revenue opportunities on the web using Joomla integrated to back office systems such as MS Dynamics NAV then please get in touch.