I am SO relieved to say that this week cooled down. Just a little but it was much more bearable. My kids were able to play outside for a good amount of time without becoming completely exhausted. It was great to get some time to play with them. Life gets so busy that we often forget to take advantage of these little blips in time.
Speaking of freeing up some time…
This week I’d like to talk about a web design tool that is, in my opinion, a huge asset for business owners, event hosts, designers, developers…pretty much anyone who wants to share information of any kind online. The tool that I am talking about is a Content Management System, or CMS, for short. Content Management Systems are very powerful tools in web design that help with the organization and construction of websites and blogs. A few that you have probably heard of are WordPress, Drupal, DotNetNuke, and Joomla. They handle a lot of the back-end (web functionality, compatibility and coding) and file structuring work so that users can focus more on the visual aspects of their sites. I like them because I can build a website or a custom blog for a client and then hand over control of it to them. Once all of the pieces are properly in place, management is much more feasible. Even better, it allows that client to have a professionally designed website without a ton of residual maintenance fees.
Below is a screenshot of a site that I built for a client. Once I established and built the design, the client took over and updated from there.
CMSs make it really easy for me to deliver a full-service, comprehensive design solution to clients in a fraction of the time it would take me to code a site from the ground up. I love that I can flex my design muscles and provide support in other areas of building a site and a brand, such as:
- Information architecture
- Custom color scheme
- Custom graphics
- Logo Design
- Custom Newsletter Templates
…and so much more. Basically, we can focus on building your whole brand, your entire look and feel or personality, another huge asset as you go forward and compete in today’s market.
So, why do you still need to work with a designer?
Working with a professional designer is still the best way to go, if I may say so. I’ll go into detail on why I believe this below. Here is a quick list of my points:
- CMS expertise, or know-how
- Full-service branding- from business cards to the opt-in box on your home-page
- Custom, optimized graphics- built around a comprehensive and researched brand
- Intuitive Information architecture, or hierarchy (basically, site organization-what goes on which page?)
I make it my priority to learn and know these systems, now and as they update, along with all that is current in design and development, so that you can get solutions that work fast. You know if you read this blog that I love the power that my clients get from the research and preparation that I do. It really works and I love to do it. Since I have taken the time to learn how to use CMSs, I can quickly deliver these comprehensive design solutions.
Further, while CMSs offer a leg up on the world of website and blog building, there is so much more that you can do with them if you can speak the languages that these tools were built with. With what I know about code, programming, web browsers and mobile devices, I can get under the hood and do some real customization for you- like placing your logo or a new product box just where users expect to find them or adding a video or installing a gradient background color for some subtle dimension. The possibilities are almost limitless. I can also be sure that all elements, graphics, custom fonts, etc. are optimized for web viewing (read more about this below).
I’ve been playing with different options for my blog here. Below are some of my work in progress screenshots.
Full Service Branding
Building a brand is a sure-fire way to accelerate your business growth, increase sales and generate long-term income for you or your business. A brand is the message that you send (a message saying what you do-clearly), all wrapped up in a visual package that is a reflection of your message and is consistent across your entire existence (from storefront signage to the header of your website to your newsletter design to your business card to the t-shirts that you make for your team). It involves the writing, marketing pieces, logo design and overall look and feel of who you are and/or what your business is. With the support of a CMS, time to build a website is dramatically reduced, thereby allowing me to design even more for my clients so that they can go forth with a strong foundation. There is a LOT of white noise out there today- it’s now that much more important to stand up above the rest and put your best foot forward. Also, with my business background, I know that time is money and that you don’t have weeks, even months, to spare in order to carry out foundational branding efforts.
Custom, optimized graphics
This means that they are designed by me exclusively for you and are as compatible as they can be for the web. When graphics are optimized, pages load quickly, which is key
these days. Again, it’s in knowing design, design software, best practices and the building blocks of the internet that keep me integrated with what works and what is needed.
In my previous posts I have gone into detail about the process that I carry out for a web design project. I’ve given some examples and described why these processes are important. You can read more about them in the links below. The reason I listed this as a reason to work with a designer if you choose to go with a CMS is that a designer can be sure that the structure and organization of your site will be intuitive to site visitors, making it easy for them to find the information they are looking for and even buy from you with confidence. Again, this is a skill that I have cultivated in order to make my design solutions the best they can be.
I can tell you that CMSs have been life-savers for me. Between work and family, I seldom have time to work on my down brand. But, by having the support of CMSs, I can keep my portfolio updated and my blog going. I also have a lot more time for continuing to build on my skills and knowledge so that I can be an asset to my clients and their businesses.
About Pure Designs
Pure Designs is a creative company I launched that offers graphic design and web design services. With over ten years of experience in Marketing and Design, I have a wealth of information and inspiration to share. I love what I do and look forward to each and every day that I can design. View my portfolio here to see a selection of my work. Please feel free to post a comment or use the contact form here on my blog to reach me with any questions or to book a consultation. Talk soon!
- Content Management System Comparison: Hidden Costs | Blog (rackspace.com)