Can I Update My Own Website? Part 1: Intro

 

As a creator of websites, I hear this a lot: “Can I update my own website?” The answer is “You Can!,” but your web designer needs to know that you want to be able to do that, so the ‘hooks’ needed for you to be able to update your site are in place. Or, if you already have a website, your website designer will likely need to add those ‘hooks’. In the most extreme case, your web designer may need to redesign the site.

Before I explain these ‘hooks’, let me explain why we even need the ‘hooks’. When we look at web pages in a browser window we see a combination of words and images/graphics. It seems that it’d be easy just to go in there and make any updates that are needed. But, for that web page to be displayed as we see it, all of those words and images/graphics are mixed in with HTML code. HTML is the programming language behind every web page. A browser (firefox or internet explorer) can only read HTML documents. So, when we create a web page it has to be in HTML, not just text and images.

The more complex the site (rollovers, slideshows, pictures fading in/out) the harder it may be to make your site what I call ‘update-able friendly’. That’s because complex sites are usually a combination of HTML and other ‘programming’ options (CSS, php, javascript, etc.)

There are multiple ways to make a site ‘update-able’. The ‘hooks’ I recommend are software-type recommendations that can be ‘plugged’ into a website. These ‘hooks’ allow you to update your site similar to how you might type in a Word document. Instead of having to know HTML (the programming language needed to create webpages), these hooks take “normal English” and converts it to HTML, or at least tries its best to convert to HTML. It’s not perfect, and there are some limitations, but the options below do a fairly good job.

Depending on what was used in the original design of your site and/or the complexity of your site, some of the recommendations below may be better options for your site than others. The ‘hooks’ I recommend are the following:
1) WordPress
2) CushyCMS
3) Contribute
4) Joomla

In the coming weeks, I will be going over each of these options. I will also do a fifth option called Other – to cover several other options that are available. If there are certain options that you have come across and want to know more about, leave a comment on this blog or email me and I will try to comment on it in the weeks ahead. I look forward to hearing from you and sharing more with you!

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