One of the most common mantras for web development is, “Content is king.” This is because words are what drive people to find information on the Internet. Whether it’s shopping for shoes or learning about the vastness of space, content will always be present.
During the first days of the Internet, content had to be created directly into web development. Users would have to enter lines of text amid the actual coding that drove the appearance of a site. As the Internet evolved, so did the way people generate content while maintaining development.
To make the process of development and content generation easier and faster, content management systems were born. Since then, millions of website owners have abandoned the idea of coding a website by hand each time a new article was to be created.
Today, CMS applications operate everything from online stores to social media. However, not everyone balances the prospect of development and content generation in the best way possible. Here are a few ways to get the most out of the website experience for both the developer and the visitor.
Deciding on a Platform
Perhaps one of the more difficult aspects to web development from a CMS standpoint is deciding on a platform. Each one has its strengths and weaknesses compared to others. For example, WordPress has approximately 60 percent of the market share worldwide for website development. However, many would prefer the precise layouts of Magento for building an eCommerce site.
This isn’t because WordPress can’t handle eCommerce, but because Magento was specifically built to do it.
Once a platform has been decided, it’s imperative to stay with it. Not all CMS platforms migrate well from one to another. Many of those that are capable of migrating are often in need of extensive modifications to make the material fit with the new system.
Fully Understanding Themes and Layouts
One of the beautiful aspects of the CMS is the ability to change the site’s appearance simply by adding a new theme or template. However, not everyone takes the time to fully understand and appreciate what certain layouts offer.
For example, some WordPress and Joomla templates come with integrated tools that make installing plugins and extensions redundant.
The functionality of these systems isn’t the only thing to consider, either. Typography, image placement, color scheme, blocks and headings can all play a part in how well the content appears on the site. Every pixel of space on a website’s layout should be scrutinized closely to develop strategies for everything from images to content creation.
Committing to SEO Add-ons
Automatic web development from a CMS doesn’t just stop at layout and framework. Search engine optimization also needs to be a part of the strategy. After all, the website will be far less effective without some kind of SEO enhancements.
Luckily, most management systems come with SEO in some form or another. WordPress has plugins like Yoast SEO while Prestashop has much of it built directly into the platform.
One of the most important things to keep in mind about SEO plugins is that not all of them play well together. In fact, some WordPress SEO plugins will often break each other. It’s best to select those that are complimentary and not just try to overload the system with one add-on after another.
Keeping in the Loop with Updates from Google
Speaking of search engine optimization, keeping a thumb on the pulse of Google will be a great benefit to developing any kind of website. A good example of this is when so many website owners lost their top positions once the Penguin update rolled out.
Being aware of algorithm changes before they happen is imperative to keeping the content from scoring the website low. Just ask those who didn’t change their practice of keyword stuffing before Google launched the campaign for quality and relevance.
Integrating Social Sharing and Engagement
Most of the popular CMS applications have the capacity to integrate the social element. Sharing buttons, post feeds and more can easily be added to web hosting environments through the use of plugins and extensions. As social media is the reason for most Internet traffic, it only makes sense to add this to web development.
From sharing new posts on Facebook to showing the Twitter feed of a company on its website, it’s all relevant when creating content.
Constantly Test on All Devices and Resolutions
Another vastly important aspect of web development and content generation is testing on multiple devices. Not everyone uses the same screen resolutions when browsing the Internet. In fact, the size of the display can greatly vary.
Content needs to look as good on a small four-inch smartphone display as it does on a 24-inch widescreen computer monitor. Although the overall appearance will be different, the general layout should be engaging on any device. This means testing color schemes, framework, image placements and anything else that can affect the user experience.
One quick and easy way to do this is by simply adjusting the size of the computer’s browser window to emulate a mobile screen. This isn’t an exact practice, but it’ll work until a developer finds a good testing platform.
Always Track Data Metrics
Never underestimate the value of data. Tools like Google Analytics do more than just track how many visitors are coming to the website. By crunching the numbers, a web developer can determine if certain pieces of content are engaging or if the general development of the site needs work.
Speed, visitor retention, engagement and more can all be derived from analytic metrics. As much of this information is gathered in real time, developers can make instant adjustments to compensate for any issues they come across.
Almost Anyone Can Develop a Beautiful Website
Content management systems like WordPress, Joomla and Drupal give just about anyone the ability to create an amazing website from nearly any web hosting platform. Once the initial appearance has been established, developers need only to concentrate on engaging the audience. Thanks to the flexibility of these systems, even the appearance can be quickly changed with a click of the mouse.