Welcome Back 

We have covered a lot of ground so far and by now you are almost ready to launch your new business brand and website.

There are just a few more topics we need to cover before begin putting what you have learned into action. 

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In the last few posts, we took a look at what web hosting is and what a reliable host provides to you as a small business owner.

We took a close look at the different types of web hosting and plans on the market. 

We also talked about how important it is to choose an option that allows you to build your brand along with your website, and why choosing an option that gives you your own domain and control is vital. 

Before you actually choose your provider and plan for your website, it is important to know how you will manage the content on your site. 

The provider you choose should offer a choice of content management systems to choose from and should include a few of the top rated options. 

What is a Content Management System

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A content management system (CMS) is an application that is used to manage web content.

It allows contributors to create, edit and publish. 

Content in a CMS is typically stored in a database and displayed in a presentation layer based on a set of templates.

The software is installed as a dashboard on your domain, which you use to perform the tasks involved with building and updating your website. 

This software provides the user with authoring, collaboration, and administration tools that help those of us with little knowledge of web programming or markup languages to create and manage website content.

There are many CMS platforms to choose from on the market and when you purchase your web hosting it is important that you choose a provider that supports your preferred platform.

You can research things for yourself but I decided to go with the most widely respected and widely used CMS in the world, WordPress. 

For the remainder of this post and series, I will be focusing on this system and what you need to know in order to use it for your business, brand and website.

According to techwyse.com

Top 5 Free Content Management Systems
  1. WordPress. By far the most widely used CMS, WordPress began as a blogging platform and in the eyes of many – cannot be beaten
  2. SilverStripe CMS. Another versatile free CMS that’s ideal for building websites is SilverStripe
  3. Joomla! 
  4. ExpressionEngine
  5. Wix
The dashboard is where I add and manage not only my content such as pictures, products, article (Posts) and videos, but also where I control the layout and overall feel and look of my websites. 

Along the left side of the dashboard is the Navigation Menu. The Navigation menu provides you quick access to your content, settings and layout elements such as themes, plugins and media. 

Across the top is the Toolbar. The look of the toolbar can change depending on if you are in the dashboard or viewing your site. 

And the whitespace is the work area. The workspace changes dramatically depending upon where you are in the Navigation Menu. 

In the example above, I am currently viewing my dashboard home and the workspace shows stats and other elements that pertain to this area of my wordpress install. 

When you first access your WordPress dashboard, you will notice a section in the Navigation Menu labeled Jetpack.

Jetpack is a popular WordPress plugin created by Automattic, the people behind WordPress.com. The plugin brings many of the most powerful features available on WordPress.com to self-hosted WordPress sites, and thereby contributing greatly to the improvement of WordPress powered blogs and websites.

So what exactly is WordPress.com and how does it differ from the Content Management System we have been talking about?

WordPress.Org vs. WordPress.Com

WordPress.com is a propriety blog hosting service provider. WordPress.com is not directly related to WordPress.org which is home of the most popular open source CMS software.

Even though WordPress.com blog hosting service uses WordPress software at its core, there are several limitations to WordPress.com.

WordPress.org is the website you will go to to learn about and can download the Content Management System software we have been talking about in this post.

It is open source and 100% free for anyone to use. All you need is a domain name and web hosting. This is why it is also referred to as self-hosted WordPress.

Limitations of WordPress.com as your hosting service include:

  • You do not have your own domain and have very limited control over your site.
  • All free accounts have ads on them. If you want your site to be ad-free, you have to pay for a business plan at 25.00 per month. 
  • You cannot sell advertising on your site unless it receives 25,000+ page views per month. If you receive enough monthly page views, you can then apply for Ad control. This process is free, but if you’re approved, you’ll have to fork over 50% of your advertising revenue.
  • You cannot use Google Analytics on your site, and must instead rely on their analytics software.
  • WordPress.com users cannot install plugins unless they upgrade to the business plan which costs about $299 per year. If you are on a free, personal, or premium plan, then you cannot install third-party plugins. If you don’t want to pay the $299 per year, then you can move your blog from WordPress.com to WordPress.org
  • You cannot use any custom themes, and can only choose from their limited list of free themes.
  • You have to pay for an ecommerce plan to open a shop, at 45.00 per month. 

WordPress.com is a great option for personal blogs and they do offer some advantages.

Dozens of themes – Choose from hundreds of customizable themes, with new additions weekly.

Mobile-friendly – Create a mobile‑friendly site with a click, or choose from a selection of responsive themes that look great everywhere.

Fast, friendly support – Get expert help — our team of Happiness Engineers is standing by.

I am an affiliate of WordPress.com but I use Self-hosted WordPress CMS for my websites .

As I stated before, the WordPress CMS is software used to manage the content, style and layout of your new business website. 

With this software you will have complete control of your content and website structure.

You won’t need to change or upgrade your plan is you choose wisely from the start. 

Advantages of the WordPress CMS from WordPress.org

1. Ease of Use – WordPress is very easy to use and has an intuitive interface.  Adding new pages, blog posts, images, etc. on a regular basis is a breeze and can be done quickly.  Because the technology is so simple, time spent on formatting is greatly reduced.

2. Manage Your Website from Any Computer – WordPress is browser-based. You can login from any Internet connected computer and manage your site.

3. No HTML Editing or FTP Software Required – WordPress is a self-contained system and does not require HTML editing software (such as Adobe Contribute or Dreamweaver). You can create a new page or blog post, format text, upload images (and edit them), upload documents, video files, image galleries, etc. all without the need for additional HTML or FTP software. However, your host should provide you with the ability to use FTP if you choose.

4. Search Engines Love WordPress Sites – The code behind WordPress is very clean and simple, making it easy for search engines to read and index a site’s content. In addition, each page, post, and image can have its own meta tag keywords, description, and title, and be optimized for specific keywords, allowing for very precise search engine optimization.  You can also use tags to further enhance your search engine optimization efforts.

5. You Have Control of Your Site – No more waiting for your web designer to make simple updates to your site. With WordPress, you have control of nearly every aspect of your site and can easily make those simple updates yourself.

6. The Design of Your Website is 100% Customizable – WordPress acts as the engine for your website. The look and feel of the site can be 100% customized so your brand can shine through on your site and provide a unique experience to your visitors.

7. A Blog is Built-in and Ready to Go – Since WordPress was originally created as a blogging platform, blogging capabilities are built-in and are easy to integrate, if desired. Setting up RSS / email subscriptions to your blog, commenting capabilities, and automatically adding the most recent blog posts to other pages of the site (your home page, for example) are also very simple to set-up, and help to extend your company’s reach and make your site more dynamic and interactive.

8. Extend the Functionality of Your Site with Plugins – Want to add an event calendar, video gallery, Twitter Feed, Facebook Fan Box, and more to your site? WordPress makes this possible with plugins, most of which are free or very reasonably priced.

9. Your Site Can Grow as Your Business Grows – WordPress sites are very scalable. You can have hundreds of thousands of pages or blog posts on your site and the performance of the site will not be compromised in the least. We talked about the importance of choosing an unlimited web hosting plan previously. 

10. Have Multiple Users – As an administrator of a WordPress site, you can set-up multiple users for the website and assign access levels and capabilities to each user.

We have covered a lot of info today, and now that you have a clear understanding of what a Content Management System is and of what the advantages of using WordPress CMS, you are one step closer to being ready to launch your own site. 

There are many more advantages to using your own content management system which will become clear to you as we work through the rest of this series. 

Up Next ...

In the next post, I will walk you, step by step through the whole process of setting up your Domain and Web Hosting and WordPress content management system.

First we will take a closer look at the WordPress dashboard and review settings and other key elements that help you set up your business site.

Following close behind….. we will begin the process of interior design for our new place of business.

I will go over what themes and plugins are and where you can find and install those that best suit your business needs.

We will use our Bio and Business Plan as our guides throughout the process to insure that our website fully represents the Brand we are creating for our business. 

I have set up a test site to work with, so you can see firsthand what the process is like and how you can customize your wordpress site and get your business ready to launch.

From here on out, the remaining posts will be very interactive and will walk you step by step through the process of building your website. 

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