What is a Content Management System (CMS) and how does it help me as a writer?
Making money with you own web site as a writer
In my Hub Making Money as a Writer: Beyond HubPages, I explained one way that I have been able to make money with both my own writing and the writing of freelancers who offer content on my web sites. In explaining my path, I mentioned that I used a Content Management System (CMS) to build and maintain these sites. It seems that I hit a nerve as several folks were interested in hearing more about what a CMS is, what it does, and how it can translate into money for writers.
Beyond just explaining the basics of a CMS, I thought it would be beneficial to explain why I chose my CMS, and how it helps me mange my sites while also proving for a rich user experience for the visitors to those sites.
First, we will review the basics Content Management Systems. A CMS is simply a platform from which to build a web site. The difference in a CMS and a normal HTML site is that a CMS maintains the information in a database, and they offer tremendous flexibility in terms of content delivery, updates, and presentation. Most writers are familiar with WordPress, which is simply a blogging CMS. Two other Content Managements Systems that are both free and very popular are Joomla and Drupal. In each of these platforms, you will find a robust community of engaged users, and plenty of modules that can add functionality to your site.
After reviewing three major CSMs, I chose Joomla as my platform. I also reviewed WordPress and Drupal, as potential contenders. I ultimately chose Joomla because it seemed to have the right combination of features, community interaction, and simplicity of use. To be clear, there is a bit of a learning curve with Joomla as with any application, but users can very quickly begin adding content and manage a site once it is up.
Once I made a selection, I loaded Joomla to my hosted server (Joomla is free by the way), and began to work through some design ideas for the site. Using the community forum, I found a “best of” site that matched closely with some of my design ideas. From there, I found an excellent Joomla freelancer in Vietnam, who created my template for about $225. (More on that in another hub)
My freelancer loaded my template and I began adding content to my site. With Joomla, it becomes rather easy to post and upload your new articles and they are very easily mapped to the hierarchy of the site. A Joomla tutorial can get you publishing almost immediately. Having designed my menus and hierarchies in advance, I then began adding content to each menu to fill in the sites information. I also contracted with freelance writers to add additional content more quickly. In less than a month, I had over 80 unique pages, and began moving up in the Google and Yahoo ranks for my keywords. These sites are now generating thousands of unique visitors per month, and they are producing income via Adsense. Now that I am beginning to hit some critical mass relative to traffic, I am working to monetize these sites in other ways.
This story will continue with additional hubs that expand on how my path to online earning and offer additional hubs that delve deeper into my path for making money as a writer and publisher.
The example site discussed in this Hub:
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