Making a website with CMS
- How to get started (domain and hosting)
- Comparison of the main CMSs
- Creating website with WordPress (benefits of WP)
- Creating website with Joomla
- Creating website with Drupal
- Creating e-commerce site (PrestaShop, Magento, etc.)
- Other popular CMSs you can use
As described above, a content management system (CMS) allows you to create and maintain a website within a central dashboard. You start with the software installed on your web hosting account. Once installed, you can log in to your administration area—the dashboard of the CMS. From the dashboard of a website, an administrator can handle a multitude of tasks. These include the following, depending on the content management system you choose:
- adding, editing and deleting website pages and blog posts
- adding users with specific user roles and permissions
- adding, editing and deleting themes
- applying or deleting add-ons (plugins) for functionality
- moderating comments on blog posts
|Establishment costs||Min and max cost||Time period|
|Domain name||$10 – $15 (for .com domain)||per year|
|Web hosting||$60 – $200 (shared hosting)||per year|
|$300 – $1000 (VPS hosting)||per year|
|Website backup *||$10 – $30 (offered with hosting)||per year|
|Domain privacy *||$10 – $20 (offered with hosting)||per year|
|Website security *||$20 – $500||per year|
|Website acceleration (CDN) *||$9 – $300 (depends on GB used)||per month|
*These items are not necessary in the start-up phase of your site.
You’ll get support for anything you need: including customization, design, functionality and maintenance.
In this chapter, we’ll explain how to make a website with the three most popular CMSs: WordPress, Joomla and Drupal. Each platform is powerful and can be used to make any type of website. These platforms require you to have your own hosting account where you will install it.
Creating a WordPress website
There are two ways to install WordPress: one-click install (recommended) and manual install (advanced).
Depending on which hosting company you sign up with, you may find it very easy to setup a WordPress site. Major hosts offer pre-installed or one-click installation of WordPress. While each host has slightly different control panels, the installation process will be similar. Once you sign up for the hosting services, you’ll find an icon on the host’s control panel that says something like, “One-click installation,” “Install popular software” or “WordPress installation.” To install WordPress onto your site, it’s as simple as clicking the icon and following the step-by-step instructions to install the latest version of WordPress.Watch how to install WordPress (Coming soon)
Installing WordPress manually
If your host doesn’t have a one-click installation (this may indicate that this host is not the best choice), WordPress has complete instructions on how to install it manually at wordpress.org.
The Dashboard is the center of website administration. It consists of three main parts: left side menu, top toolbar and middle section. The left hand column of your WordPress dashboard is where you’ll find all of your administration options. This is where most of your creative effort will be focused.
The left side menu content includes the following tabbed options:
Takes you to your dashboard.
Indicates if any themes or plugins need to be updated because a new version has been introduced. If WordPress itself is updated, you’ll see a number in a red circle next to this menu item.
Posts are usually blog posts. They’re usually time-sensitive news items.
Here you’ll see every photo, video and file you’ve uploaded as part of a post or page. You can also upload files directly to the media section.
Usually contains evergreen, static web pages. Examples include the “About Us” section on a company website or the “Services” page.
Notifies you when people comment on to one of your posts or pages. If you have comments, there’ll be a number inside a red circle next to this.
This is where you’ll find themes, design and appearance features.
These are extra mini-programs that help increase the functionality of your site. You can use plugins to turn your website into a membership site, add social media sharing, eliminate comment spam or just to do something cool or fancy with your graphics.
Settings has a number of uses. It’s the first place you want to go when setting up a new site.
If you find a theme that takes your breath away, cool down. Once you install the theme you like, don't be surprised if it doesn't look quite right. Your theme is just a skeleton of your website—to make it appealing you will have to fill in content (text, photos, videos, etc.).
The reason that WordPress is widely used is because it’s so versatile. WordPress is user-friendly, so small businesses can use it without a major investment of time learning how it works. Yet WordPress is robust enough to be used even for large corporate or commercial websites.
Because it is so prevalent, there are a lot of developers, programmers and coders who work with WordPress. And there are a lot of tech-savvy people who continually design themes, plugins and new features to add to your WordPress site.
Creating a Joomla website
Joomla was released to the public in August 2005. With each passing year, it has continued to grow its presence as one of the most powerful content management systems.
As a free and open-source CMS, Joomla is not only simply to install (one-click install option is available with the most hosting providers) but it also provides the ability to make customizations based on the user’s specific wants and needs. Written in PHP, Joomla includes a variety of features that have helped increase its popularity. These include blogs, news flashes, polls, RSS feeds and page caching.
Benefits of Joomla CMS include:
Powerful, simple-to-use menu creation tool
This is just one of the many reasons why Joomla is the number-two CMS option.
Strong community support
This holds true with other platforms, but Joomla is a strong player in terms of this benefit.
Approximately 9,400 extensions are available for Joomla that can help you customize your site.
For those who want to give Joomla a try, it doesn’t take long to get up and running. As with WordPress, you have two installation options:
- One-click installation is the recommended option and can be completed within minutes.
- Manual installation takes anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes to complete.
Once the installation is complete, you have a website that is live to the world. It will be very simple, but remember that you can customize every element of your website. From the layout and color to the menu content, you have the ability to make as many changes as you want.
Generally speaking, there are three key areas of the control panel:
Left menu bar
Contains: Find Content, Structure, Users, Configuration, Extensions and Maintenance.
This is where you can access many of the same areas as the left sidebar, as well as a dropdown menu for System, Menus, Components and Help.
Main content area
Shows Logged-In Users, Popular Articles and Recently Added Articles.
Changing the design of your website (view video)
After you set up a basic website, it’s time to consider your options for customizing each page. To get started, head to the “Extensions” tab in the header menu and drop down to “Template Manager.” Here you can dive deeper into the template that is installed, while also considering other layouts that may suit your website. If you click on “My Default Style” and then the “Options tab,” you can change the text and background colors, upload a new logo and add fonts.
The “Module Manager” is also important from a customization standpoint. It allows you to add, delete and edit modules.
Adding content (view video)
A visually appealing website is a great start, but it won’t take you far unless you add high quality content. With Joomla, this is a simple process. On the left sidebar, under the “Content” header, you will find the following:
- Add New Article
- Article Manager
- Category Manager
- Media Manager
If you click on “Add New Article” for example, you will be taken to the page where you can add your content, choose your publishing options and click “Save.” There are more features on this page, such as publishing, image and links, so be sure to experiment with each one.
If you know you’ll be hosting a lot of articles on your site and don’t need many features, Joomla can certainly be the CMS of choice. It gives you the power to create a website quickly, and with a bit of training, offers the shortest development cycle in the CMS arena.
Creating a Drupal website
If you’re looking for a content management system that’s more robust than WordPress but still gives you a lot of free options for themes and modules, consider working with Drupal. Like WordPress, it’s a free CMS that lets you build a website easily. But Drupal is more robust and allows greater flexibility than WordPress.
Drupal is more challenging to use than WordPress or Joomla, but with many free plugins and themes, it’s a great choice for a larger or more robust website that’s going to require greater functionality than a simple one-page website.
Similar to other CMSs, you’ll have two options:
- Many of the popular hosting providers offer a one-click installation of Drupal. And installation can be completed in as little as ten minutes using the single-click installer provided by your web host.
- If you’re planning to use custom setup options or your host doesn’t offer one-click option, you’ll need to install Drupal manually. Instructions are available from Drupal here.
Gives administrators a customizable overview of important site information. You can add and remove items from the dashboard or you can disable the dashboard completely.
This is where you find, manage and create new pages. You also manage comments here.
Edit blocks, define new content types, configure menus, administer tags and configure some contributed modules.
Switch between themes, install themes and update existing themes.
Manage existing users or create new user accounts.
Update, enable, disable and install new modules under this tab.
Lets you configure the settings for certain functionality features, including some modules: user settings, general site information and other general administrative settings.
Displays information about site security, necessary updates and information on site activity.
Displays links with information and online documentation about the functionality of all modules installed on the site.
Includes user-specific items such as user account and log out.
This is where you can add the most commonly used menu items.
Changing the design of your website
Like many forms of software, the more options you have, the harder it can be to figure out how to use it. Drupal has many options that allow you to have maximum customization, but it does take some time to learn how to use it effectively. Give Drupal a shot; play with its various features and functions and you’ll have a unique and beautiful website in no time.
Creating a Prestashop (e-commerce) website
If you want to create an e-commerce store, you’ll need to choose a content management system that will help you with the process of selling products as opposed to solely serving posts and pages. It can be challenging to know where to begin navigating with so many options available.
For many people who want to sell online, Prestashop is a viable solution. It’s an open-source shopping-cart software designed to give businesses the flexibility to build a functioning online store.
As with regular CMSs, Prestashop can be installed manually or with easy one-click install processes. Most hosting providers offer a one-click install option, which we recommend. You should easily find it within your host’s control panel.
We recommend that you install the default free theme. You can always change it after you’re more familiar with the platform. Once theme installation is finished and you’ve completed the setup tutorial, you can return to the main administrative area. This panel is the center of store administration. It consists of two main parts: a left-side menu and a middle section. The-left side menu is contains all of your administrative options. This is where most of your creative effort will be focused. The middle section displays all of your store’s operational information such as the number of registrations, orders and sales totals.
Let’s look at the each tabbed option in the left side menu:
Takes you back to the main page of your admin panel.
The heart of your shop, where you’ll perform tasks such as adding products, creating categories and setting up carriers and suppliers.
Contains orders with the invoices. This is where you’ll manage tasks such as handling merchandise returns, credit slips and per-order customer service.
Access information about your clients. Here you may edit customer addresses, apply special discounts and handle customer service.
Create vouchers and price reductions through a set of rules.
Extends the power and usefulness of your shop. More than 100 modules are available by default and many more can be purchased from the Add-ons Marketplace.
Where you manage everything related to carriers and shipping costs, as well as marketing.
Customize your shop with local values, such as language and translation, currency, units, taxes and tax rules, and geographical entities.
Fine-tune the way your store functions and manage every aspect of the customer experience.
Contains links to specific tools and informational pages, such as the Web service settings, the database backup tool and the performance page.
Lets you set the administration panel, including the content of the Quick Access menu, the employee list and permissions, and the order of menu contents.
Provides access to all the statistics and graphics that are gathered and generated.
While Prestashop has its shortcomings, such as expensive modules and limited marketing opportunities, it proves itself as a powerful adversary to other shopping-cart solutions. For the backend, the dashboard gives you everything you need to manage your business. It supports all major shipping carriers and comes with more than 10 payment methods, giving you flexibility to meet demands of different customers