5 Useful Tips To Choose The Right Photography CMS
Content management system (CMS) is a web application for easy creation, editing and storing of HTML content. It has become one of the most powerful web developer tools today. In a web world with a tough competition both professional developers and average website owners choose CMS to create websites faster and easier. Therefore, there are now tons of various CMS available around the web and selecting the right one has become a rather challenging task.
Although photographer special needs narrow the circle of possible CMS solutions, you can still get lost in the amount of offers without clearly defined set of requirements.
This article will discuss how photographers can establish their list of requirements and find the right photo CMS for their projects.
First of all…
Decide on what type of website - Flash or HTML - you want to create. This will determine the very type of the CMS you need. If your goal is a photography blog or a simple static portfolio website, than a CSS/HTML website can make it. Planning a visually rich portfolio that will showcase your work in attractive and unique way, you may be short of tools and options offered by HTML. Photographers often choose Flash to create a personal sites that will stand out among competitors and attract new customers. Fortunately, there are some specialized flash photo CMS’ available on the market today. Think carefully the type of the website you need. Even if you do not require dynamic eye-catching flash photography website now, you may in future.
Once you decided to create your own website within specialized content management system, your circumstances and goals may vary, but there are a few common things you might consider figuring out available options.
1. Basic Functionality
The way the CMS adds, edits, organizes and deletes pages is one of the core functions you should pay attention to. Don’t limit yourself with 1 or 2 pages as you might need more in the future, make sure that your CMS allows that. As a rule, page editing functionality is offered by the majority of the content management systems today but if you need to dig the entire CMS over to find the “Add page” button, you’d better look for less painful software. Make sure you won’t need to dive into .xml files or some sources to add the new page or change the order of the pages in the menu.
2. The WYSIWYG Editor
The CMS editing environment usually includes the WYSIWYG editor for textual pages management- an interface that allows to add the text, images, hyperlinks and change fonts/colors in a easy way. Being one of the core CMS capabilities, the editor is often poorly developed, so be sure to check it while testing the content management system.
It makes sense to avoid the editors that give you too much control over the content appearance. You can just screw it! If the WYSIWYG editor is stuffed with too much tools to edit your content, you can get confused managing the overall editing process and undermine the logicality and the guideline of your website design. As long as you are not a geek, try to avoid extra functionality when it comes to the WYSIWYG editor. An editor that is able to mark up headings, lists and links, handle images and external files should be absolutely enough.
3. Managing Images
Photo and image management is essential function for photography website CMS. Ensure your list of requirements includes the ability to crop, rotate and scale photos, so you could easily apply necessary changes within the system. Consider how the CMS deals with uploading images and whether the multiple upload is available.
End-users should be able to search for photos by captions and keywords, badly designed content management applications can thwart users with cluttered accessibility and turn your photo portfolio into a quest. Notice whether you can attach captions and descriptions to the uploaded files and also if the search function is able to index them.
4. Administration interface and template manipulation
Once again, usability is a first-priority characteristic of the CMS you should pay attention to. How quickly can you find the necessary tool? Can you discard changes made by accident and revert to a previous version of the page? Can you edit and update content without involving developers, designer and IT professional? Don’t hesitate to choose the CMS with the best design attractiveness for you. Neatly designed CMS will most likely have a user-friendly interface you will easily handle. However, be sure to do a research before putting your time and efforts into a particular CMS.
5. Security and support
Evaluating the security of the content management system can be challenging unless you have advanced technical knowledge. Try to get an expert’s opinion, or at least do a web search on the name of the cms and ’security issues’. If you find lots of cases, you will definitely need a professional advice. Support is also an important thing you must ask CMS vendors about. How fast can you expect a response? Do you have to pay for the bug fixes? Do you have to pay for the customization support and when is this support available? Although, modern CMS’ are getting more intuitive, make sure there is somebody you can turn to for help.
Summing up the above, be sure to make at least a small a research before investing your time into CMS. Remember that its main purpose is to help you handle your content quickly and easily. Try to bring your requirements to a minimum and do not sacrifice the user experience for functionality you will never use. When a CMS meets your current needs and have some reserve functionality your might use in the future, it is probably the best possible solution for you.