How Do I Update my Website?

This is the most popular question amongst our clients. When we first started making websites 10 years ago, the question wasn’t asked so much. Back then, it was expected you needed to know how to code. Technology has changed. In fact, over the past 2-3 years, it finally has reached a point where it has become very feasible for clients to update their site without having to know HTML and CSS.

Onward! Studios is constantly researching and stay abreast of the latest technologies. Due to that, 9 months ago we made the decision to create all our websites in WordPress. Up to that point, we felt the best option was Dreamweaver. Let’s first discuss why we moved to WordPress, then discuss options in updating your site whether your site was developed in Dreamweaver or WordPress.

Why WordPress

WordPress was originally developed and regarded as a blogging platform. In fact, you can go to wordpress.org and get a free website with blogging capabilities. Over the years, as WordPress progressed in its functionality and user-friendliness,  it has become the go-to-platform for many web designers and web developers. It offers one of the best options for clients to update their site without getting too technical.

Onward! Studios recommends all clients use WordPress. With the consistent improvements and updates that WordPress releases, it is the top choice among the options today. Onward! Studios is trained in customizing a WordPress site so it doesn’t necessarily look like a blog website. Having said that, a blog is a great way to 1) consistently update your site, 2) establish credibility, 3) give value to your clients, and 4) get your site to perform better in search engines. (Maybe I should do a blog post about blogging!)

Updating Your Site With WordPress

WordPress gives you access to the content area of your web pages. This gives you the option to update the site as needed. Using WordPress to edit your pages is similar to using MS-Word or any other word processing program. Watch the video below to see how to update a site in WordPress.

Pros

  • easy to update site
  • built-in blogging option
  • keeps content separate from presentation (can export/import content easily into another design)

Cons

  • requires site developed in WordPress

 What about our clients prior to WordPress?

For our clients that had a website prior to 9 months ago, your site was developed in Dreamweaver. Dreamweaver is the standard web development package used by in the web design industry. If a client wants to update their site, we seldom recommend purchasing Dreamweaver as it has a lot of features and bells and whistles that are beyond what a client needs to update their site. Plus, it’s a $400 program. Instead we recommend two different options:

Contribute

Contribute is a software program that integrate seamlessly with Dreamweaver. It works well with Dreamweaver templates, which us what we often used in creating a website. All the common areas of a site (header, navigation, right and left sidebars) are set up in a template, then the content area of the sit is what changes from page to page. Contribute is $200 (Amazon). You will need FTP information (Onward! Studios can provide this) to access your site through Contribute.

Pros

  • integrates well with Dreamweaver
  • see the entire page when updating
  • gives you access to only the ‘content’ areas vs the menu and other protected regions

Cons

  • costs $200
  • potential to become outdated in 3-5 years

Online Option

An online option means we use an online site that allows us to connect to your site for you to do the updates. The online option we recommend to our clients is cushyCMS. It is a free option, but your site needs to be tweaked a bit for cushyCMS to work with your site. Usually, Onward! Studios can tweak your site within 2 hours for it to work with cushyCMS. If you go with this option, you are provided a username and password that you use at cushyCMS.com that gives you editing capabilities for the content are of your website.

Pros

  • Free (besides investment to get site ready for online option)
  • Access to content area
  • Safe (can’t make changes that affect the entire site)

Cons

  • Only see the content area when making updates

What has been your experience with updating websites? What are the questions you have? Don’t hesitate to leave a comment below.

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