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In CMS Fundamentals, James Williamson defines content management systems (CMSs) and explains their role in web site development. The course demonstrates the different CMS solutions available today, including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla; reviews CMS terminology and best practices; and shows how to develop a content management strategy. Guidelines are also included for evaluating a potential CMS, whether hosted or self-hosted, open source or proprietary, and choosing a CMS based on a specific need or focus.
A little earlier we talked about some of the different types of content management systems you can choose from. Starting with this movie, I want to talk about some of the different solutions available to you when implementing a CMS, and I want to start with an option that we haven't talked about much, hosted solutions. A hosted solution is an all-in-one, site-creation and hosting service that usually has a CMS as one of the components of its services. Most hosted solutions have a tremendous amount of features, including advanced web analytics, site-building tools, marketing campaign tools, and more.
They're designed to give individual designers, small teams, or small to medium-size organizations tools that would normally be out of their reach. Like most options, there are pros and cons to using a hosted solution. First, most offer a ton of features and tools, far beyond what most content management systems offer individually. Many offer blogs, e-commerce solutions, marketing campaigns, and web analytics, in addition to normal CMS tools. Usually they're extremely easy to set up and manage as you don't need to worry about installations or setting up your own servers.
Almost all hosted services include site-building tools as part of their CMS. Although these tools differ from service to service, they're usually designed to give non-technical people the ability to design and structure their sites without having to deal with code. One of the more attractive offerings for designers is the reseller option that many of these services offer. Now these allowed designers to set up storefronts using the hosted service build sites and then earn commissions based on the number of sites that they host through the service.
Some of the reseller services go so far as to allow the designer or design firm to create their own branded portal so their clients have no idea they're using the hosted service. And of course, there are some cons to using these services as well. First, as you would expect from such a feature-rich solution, these services can be a little bit pricey, with monthly subscription costs usually different based on the level of service that you need. Most hosted solutions do have cheaper or even free plans, but these can include ad services, lack of custom domains, or restrictions on the tools that you can use.
Another thing to consider is that once you've begun to use one of these services, you're tied to their hosting plan. Any changes in plans or services must be accepted, or you're going to be forced to try to migrate to another hosting service. Now that can you leave another problem with hosted solutions. Because of the closed nature, it can be very difficult to migrate content from a hosted solution to a new host. Also, while there is a wide range of hosted services available, there's no guarantee that you're going to find one that shares the same focus that you have.
So that's a brief introduction into what a hosted solution is. In our next movie, we're going to take a look at a few examples of hosted solutions, so that you can get a better idea of the types of hosted solutions available.
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