Common example of a Wordpress pre-built theme
If this is something you are seriously thinking about doing then it's a given that you have already been looking into it before arriving here. The beauty of CMS is in the pre-built database structure that comes with it... And then all the free apps & plug-ins that are out there to be utilized at will to fill your site needs. And there are a bunch! But first things first:
Is a CMS site right for you? Have you really read up on the pluses & minuses? And if so, have you zeroed in on which one to use? Once again this is a conversation best handled by phone, where we can get into the specifics of what you are getting into. Here I shall only delve into the most basic considerations in making a decision.
1) CMS is of course content management, you log in to your site, and upload material at will.
2) CMS design formats are very limited, and once you choose a theme style, your entire site will look very similar throughout.
3) If you are creating a situation whereby you are actively seeking consumer dialog, such as writing articles or posting photography for example, a CMS site is absolutely your route of choice.
4) If your purpose is primarily writing, such as an opinion blog, go with Wordpress. This type of usage was what it was designed for, and it still remains the best for that purpose.
5) If your purpose is promoting active dialog between not only yourself but with other people engaged in dialog amongst themselves as well, i.e. a forum, go with Joomla!. Its database is considered stronger and more reliable for multiple interface.
6) Drupal is considered to have the strongest database applications, and is the CMS of choice for truly monster-size applications & usage. But its best purpose is for large institutional organizations, who have the technical people on staff to work with it & know what they're doing...
Pre-built templates for this and other CMS applications are out there by the thousands, and the vast majority of them are free. Even the ones that cost money are a pittance, and I always recommend the use of a template for CMS sites, primarily as a lot of bugs that commonly occur with CMS sites are already worked out.
This is particularly true of a for-purchase template. CMS plug-ins are known to have recurrent bugs & security issues & updates are frequent. Using a purchase-template someone has already built usually means these issues have already been addressed.
The example I have shown here is a nicely done layout that makes good use of the module system that CMS sites use. However, as nice a job as they have done, if you visit some template sites one thing you begin to notice is that they all have a very similar look & feel.
This is something to be aware of with CMS: Structurally speaking you are quite limited in design capability such that every last page will look very similar to the others, as well as to other CMS sites. The point is “a CMS site always looks like a CMS site”. Not that there's any harm in that, just something to be aware of...
That aside, a CMS site is still the perfect solution if you have content you are adding on a regular basis and wish to do so without having to utilize a developer all the time to do it. More importantly, content which is geared toward the user-experience/user-design format where membership, comments & feedback come into play are by far & away best handled through CMS.
As stated, CMS sites all come with pre-built databases that you can install plug-in applications such as forums & feedback that will easily handle many thousands of members, comments, etc...
A caveat however is that you are still well-advised to utilize a developer to set things up for you, and if it is your intent to add material on your own such as copy & pictures, you will still have to learn some of the nuances of coding along the way. You will also have to have at the very least some type of primitive photograph manipulation software, such as photoshop elements, whereby you can resize & crop images to properly fit the pre-sized container boxes you will be putting them in.
Most CMS sites can automatically resize images but in many cases you will not like the result. The most common occurences are photos undesirably cropped, and poor resolution, i.e. fuzzy pixelated pictures that very much lend an unprofessional look to your endeavor.
I highly encourage you to contact me if you are interested in exploring the use of CMS for your website application. I have direct experience in extremely large CMS sites going after well over 100,000 users and over 1,000 hits a day.
Regardless of what type of CMS site you choose, you will quickly discover they are nowhere near as simple to use for novices as you may be lead to believe, and a great deal of lost time & frustration will be avoided by utilizing me as your CMS site developer resource. For more information please contact me via Email or phone, 972-488-3700, at your convenience...