HTML Web Design Versus CMS

Web design is an important consideration for all kinds of people, from small businesses to artists building a portfolio to large corporations. Every company needs a website, but there's more to it than that. Good quality web design is required to make even the simplest site readable and easily navigable. This is where graphic designers come in.

Depending on a client's needs, a designer can produce a simple page with minimal information (contact details, hours of operation, directions and similar important facts) or a complex multipage site made for use by many people. The type of web design involved is going to be dictated by the scope of the site required and the particular needs of the client. For a relatively small page that won't change much, traditional HTML is quite useful, but for a larger and more complicated site, a CMS, or content management system may be a good idea.

CMS based sites allow the addition, removal, or changing of content from multiple locations, and make it easy to alter a website without causing problems. This kind of web design is an excellent choice for companies which don't employ a webmaster, artists who need to update their galleries regularly, and sites that have special content (such as members only).

Content management systems offer a user the ability to do a portion of their own web design through a simple text editor - a lot like Microsoft Word or other major word processing programs. This means that people without a background in web design can still add or remove content, expanding the site as they please without the need to hire a designer for every change. For a large, dynamic website, this is the ideal solution, as well as the most cost effective one.

Systems of this kind usually also make use of a database for storing artifacts, content, and other information the system might need - usually in XML format. Then, there's a presentation layer based on a set of web design templates that actually displays the content to viewers of the website. Plug-ins and modules can be added to extend the functionality of the site, as well, and active CMS software is updated regularly to keep the website up to current standards.

However, for a small, simple page that won't change often, has only one maintainer, or doesn't include a lot of information, a CMS is overkill. The money spent on the content management system and the web design could be a lot less if a basic HTML page were used. In this example, the CMS is unnecessary and its features aren't being taken advantage of properly.

It's important for web design professionals and their customers to know which approach to use in which situation. After all, while a CMS might have all the latest features and be great for use in some circumstances, it'll be a waste of time and money on another website. Careful attention to this kind of problem is extremely important.

Anyone who's going to be involved in web design should take the time to consider which type of website is going to get the job done best. For complex sites that need to be editable by untrained staff and which change a lot, a CMS is the best bet. However, web design for a simple, static site doesn't need to be that complex. It all depends on the situation.

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