If all this talk of coding and designing scares you off, you might want to know that there is an alternative to all this. You can install a kind of software called a Content Management System (CMS) that allows you to put content up on the web without ever knowing a thing about HTML.


Depending on your host, you might find that you already have a selection of CMSes available and ready to install from your cPanel. Log in, and take a look for the Fantastico script installer. If you have it, then you'll be able to read a description of each piece of software you have available to you try out a few of the CMSes to see which ones you like.

Finding a CMS.

If you don't have Fantastico on your host, or you don't like what it offers you, don't worry: there's plenty of choice out there on the web when it comes to CMS software.

For finding free CMS software, a truly excellent resource is www.opensourcecms.com. At that site, you can use the menu at the side of the page to see lots of open source CMSes running before you commit to downloading them and installing them yourself. Textpattern, Drupal and Plone are very popular right now, so they're a good place to start.

If you're considering commercial CMSes as well, then you should take a look at www.cmsmatrix.org, which provides an up-to-date comparison of almost every CMS out there. Be prepared, though, that commercial CMSes can be ridiculously expensive or unnecessarily expensive.

Getting a Custom CMS Built.

If nothing out there seems to meet your needs, you might consider having a web designer build you a custom CMS in a scripting language like Perl or PHP. Any web designer worth their salt should have something basic already that they can build whatever features you want onto. This can be really good when it comes to making your website work the way you want, since the CMS will be built around your website to make it as easy as possible for you to modify.

Using a CMS.

The whole point of a CMS is to make it much easier to add content to your website and to edit the content that's already there. Once you've installed your CMS, you will generally be able to log into its user system using a special admin password. This will add ‘edit' options to the existing pages of the site, as well as giving you a ‘new page' link somewhere to allow you to create a new page.

When it comes to actually writing the content of the pages, most CMSes will make it easy for you to copy and paste from programs like Word: they shouldn't require any special HTML formatting. Some will require you to mark words with special symbols if you want them to be bold or italic, but it shouldn't be too troublesome.

Changing the design with a CMS usually involves installing a template into a template folder and then selecting it in the options. Creating your own templates can be complicated, depending on what software you're using, but it shouldn't be any trouble for a web designer, and most template sites will provide designs in a format suitable for this kind of use

Finding a Hosted CMS.

Once you know which CMS you want, an alternative to installing it on a web host that doesn't necessarily support it is to do a search and find a host that specifically supports your CMS. You shouldn't have too much trouble finding a host somewhere that will support you if nothing else, you might try opensourcehost.com, which supports almost every open source CMS out there.

Using a host solution might be a little more expensive, but it will save you a lot of time in configuration and a lot of problems if anything goes wrong. Using a hosted CMS is one of the quickest ways to set up a website: you simply pay the host, log in, add your content and you're away.

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