Visit the Web Design Blog Meet Jeff Meet Amy
Website Tools
Submit Your Site to
the Search Engines
Create an Email
Signature Icon
Create a .htaccess file Check the Keyword Density Your Web Page Perform a Whois Search Website Speed Test Word Count Tool Free Keyword
Suggestion Tool
Domain Name Search Convert Web Page to PDF

New Site Overview Choose a Domain Name Choose a Web Host Blog Considerations Submit Your Site to Google CMS Made Simple Get Traffic Website Cost? Optimize Your Site Create a Free Blog? Web Design Inspiration What is FTP? What is .htaccess? Visit the Web Design Blog
Contact Amy

What is a Content Management System?

A Content Management System (CMS) is a pre-built template that allows you to install an "out of the box" website. The CMS is already setup with all the tools for administering your website and should give your website a default look, ready for you to use, as soon as you finish the install. If you're new to web design and want to hit the ground running, you'll want to utilize the power of a CMS.

Installing a CMS typically involves the same steps. You download all the files from a website that offers a CMS. You upload the files to your web host with an FTP program. You follow the directions that come with the files you download. There's usually only 1 file that tells you how to complete the install at this point and it's often named 'Install.txt' or 'ReadMe.txt'. Installing a CMS is not hard! It can be overwhelming if it's your first time, but most people find that if they just approach it step by step and follow instructions line by line, they will succeed. Installing a CMS can actually be quite fun and when you're finished, it's a thrill to go and look at your new website that you just created yourself!

Why Choose a CMS?

What are some other advantages of using a CMS?

For someone building a first website, the advantages are almost too many to list. CMS has made web design easy!

These are just some of the many advantages of using a CMS. The list could go on and on. I can't stress the importance of using a CMS for new website owners that want to get up and running. Now that you know some of the advantages, let's take a look at some of the more popular systems that I would recommend...

Wordpress is undoubtedly the King of all CMS's. There's two kinds of Wordpress sites. The first, you'll find at This is a great way to learn about a CMS. You can signup and start clicking your way to building a new site right away. But, the disadvantage is that your website is still on the Wordpress servers. You don't install it. is a great option for people who just want to blog. It's the same type of blog system you'll find at,, and the list goes on and on. There are literally hundreds of blogging platforms out there.

The second kind of Wordpress site is found at This is for the more serious webmaster, who wants complete control over aspect of his/her website. If you're wanting to start making profit from your website, and go beyond blogging, this is the Wordpress CMS that you'll want to choose. All the files are kept on your server at your hosting company. Be sure that you have a web host (Check out WebFaction for my very strong recommendation). By having your own files, you automatically get more functionality out of the Wordpress CMS. You can add all the Wordpress plugins (with, you're limited to a very few) for much greater functionality of your website. You can add custom themes (Design your site how you want it to look. forces you to choose between their templates). And perhaps the biggest reason you need to choose; you can't run AdSense ads on! You want a site that is going to bring you a profit so is the way to go. It does require more technical skills to operate, but it is not hard! If there's anything you need help with, please ask and I will help. In fact, if you need help setting up a website, I will do it for you, completely free of charge! Just ask! I want you to succeed!

We've now covered Wordpress. This is the most popular CMS out there, but there are many more. Joomla is also a very popular choice, but requires more technical skills. Drupal, Typo3, CushyCMS and SilverStripe are other well known platforms that offer a lot of functionality. Google any of these or many others for more information and choose the CMS that best fits your needs.

about Amy Kastner is a Web-Designer, Online Marketing and Search Engine Optimization Specialist. You can usually find her on twitter, where she occasionally writes about interesting stuff.

WordPress Tutorials

Video 1: Change Your Theme
Video 2: Restoring a page or post from the trash