When you need a new website, it's easy to approach a designer. Figuring out how to publish and edit content on that site tends to be a later consideration. And yet, CMS development and website design should always go hand in hand. The two are too closely connected, and too important, not to integrate for a successful website.
The Traditional Idea of Web Design
While individual definitions differ slightly, you know successful web design as building and laying out a website that satisfies and delights your audience. Graphic elements, from the hero image to the navigation and background, are crucial components to successfully design a website.
What might not be as clear in the above definition is how the actual content on your website fits into the equation. Web design, after all, is just that - the graphic design element of your website. Content, especially written content, is not considered.
How Content Management Systems Fit In
At the same time, content is a crucial success factor for any website. Even the most simplistic website needs effective written and visual content to attract and convert visitors. A website built solely by a designer will include some written content, but that content will be static and difficult to edit or update. That's where a content management system enters the equation.
Your CMS is, in essence, a module plugged into the web design framework that allows you to publish and edit content on your website independently of the design structure or layout. The resulting benefits of this module uncover the need for your CMS and your website design to work closely together.
The Benefits of Integrating CMS and Web Design
The benefits of a CMS for your website are plentiful, and many of them have been covered on this blog. For the purposes of this post, we'll focus on the benefits as they relate to your overall web design structure.
- Edit content without changing the design. The first benefit is already hinted at above: integrating a CMS into your web design means being able to update your individual pages dynamically, without having to touch the actual website code.
For your website, that ability results in several advantages. Your content can be more dynamic, updated quickly and efficiently without having to work with someone who understands web design. In addition, a design update does not affect your existing content, meaning that you can change the colors or layout of your website without losing the content that lives on it.
- Global content editing capabilities. When integrated correctly into your website code, a content management system also enables you to update content that should appear on more than one page easily and successfully.
- For example, you might have standard text and links about your business on the bottom of each of your pages. Through a CMS, you can update this section in one spot and be sure that the change will appear on each page of your website.
- Content access by non-technical users. Finally, decoupling your content from the web design and code itself means that even users in your organization who don't have HTML knowledge or experience can easily become content producers, publishers, and editors. A decoupled CMS would allow for them to publish to multiple locations from a single interface.
Most CMS solutions have an intuitive text entry form that looks similar to an email editor. That editor will look familiar even to potential users who are not digital experts, meaning that you can create more dynamic and frequent content for your website.
The above benefits are just some of the many reasons why your website and CMS should always go hand in hand. For a successful website that both looks good and delights its visitors, an integration of the two is absolutely crucial.