For the average website owner, the thought of having to edit your website likely gives you a headache. Luckily for you, there are more options than picking up the phone and calling your web designer. Here are four methods to edit your website that are widely popular.
- DIY: cracking the code
- Website editing software
- Content management systems
- Calling your friendly web designer
DIY: Cracking the Code
Let’s face it. We all like to be do-it-yourself’ers, and why not? With a little focus and studying up, people can take on many tasks they may not have originally thought. Editing the site code yourself is free and it seems like everybody knows somebody who can build websites so how hard can it be?
With the advent of a variety of content management systems, the need to enter the dark depths of code is much less common in recent years, but for those of you who have an older site, it may not come equipped with built-in editing capabilities, and a new site may not be in your budget.
Unless you have lots of time on your hands, calling a professional may be worth your time and effort. In addition, cross-browser platform compatibility issues, image optimization and style sheets may cause high levels of frustration.
Website Editing Software
There is software out there that can be installed on your computer which will allow you to edit your website. While this type of application-based software is becoming replaced by larger, more complicated content management systems, it does provide a simpler, often cheaper solution for simple websites.
The downside to application-based software is that it is installed only one computer, unless you buy more licenses, in which case the cost can increase dramatically. Before committing to this type of software, carefully consider the following: How often do you plan on editing your website? Where will you be at work, at home or on vacation when you edit it? How many people will be editing your site? Answers to these questions will help you determine whether or not this style of editing is right for you.
Content Management Systems
Content management systems (CMS`s) and gaining popularity at an astounding rate. Not only do they allow you to edit the content of your website but many feature the ability to add new pages, install plug-ins and features. In addition to this, the software platform is generally free. Sounds like a magic bullet, right? Not so fast…
To accommodate the immense amount of flexibility in these websites, the complexity involved in editing has also increased. Now you’re not only managing website content, but you need to familiarize yourself with media libraries, templates, parents, children, plug-ins, alt tags and image descriptions. And at the end of that, if your images aren’t size properly, colour corrected, the site may look unprofessional.
These systems have become so complicated that unless a user is making updates monthly, the system becomes too cumbersome to remember from one edit to the next.
Despite their complicated nature, content management systems are the clear choice for any business with a website over ten or twelve pages. Ask your designer to create a short, step-by-step manual for the edits you are likely to make for your website; it will be a very valuable investment.
Calling Up Your Friendly, Neighbourhood Web Designer
So how do you know what is your best method for keeping your website up to date? Ask yourself the following questions:
- How often do you think the content of your site will change? (Hint: if you want to keep traffic coming back and increase your rank in search engines, think 1-2 weeks)
- How much time can you dedicate to editing your website? How much time do you think you can reasonably spend per month making changes to your site? Really think about this one. If you can’t find enough time in the day now, is it realistic to assume that you’ll be able to find eight or ten hours a month to update your site?
- How many people will be editing the site?
- Where will you do the editing? Will it just be at the office, or while you’re sitting in an airport or on the beach in Mexico?
- How computer / html savvy are you? Can you turn on a computer and that’s it? Are you familiar with the term id, class, tag, break or style?
Break out the calculator and do some figurin’. What is your time worth? Is it worth ten or twenty (or more) hours of your time when you could pay a web designer to make your changes in two hours?
Consult with your favourite web designer. Talk to them candidly about what your goals are and how much time you have to dedicate to your site. A professional designer can help you find a solution that will balance your time and budget most effectively.