Content management(CM) is a very important part of all successful business website designs. It is basically described as the process or system used to collect, store and manage your digital data. This can include text files, video, image, audio files and more.

Content management is a some what of a broad process which includes all of the following areas

* Content Creator - This is the person responsible for creating the content.

* Content Editor - This may also be the creator or this could be someone other than the content creator.

* Publisher - This is the person responsible for making the content available.

* Administrator - This is the person responsible for managing all of the technical aspects of the content, such as file permissions, group and user rights, etc, etc...

* Guest or Viewer - This is the end user, who may have different access rights such as read-only or the ability to leave comments.

There are basically two main ways of handling content management 1.) Centralized managing all of the responsibility from one specific location or 2.) De-centralized - distributing responsibility out among different people, departments of locations.

The degree of complexity involved in managing each of these roles will depend upon the companies organizational structor, purpose and function. For example, an online publishing company involved in managing large amounts of new content created, edited and updated frequently will best be served by having each part of the content management process handled by one or more separate individuals.

Another example is where a company may have one person responsible for all of the CM responsibilities initially and as the business grows and increases in its CM needs, it takes on additional staffing for handling some of the specify roles, such as content creation, editing and publication.

For most business owners who are not technically inclined or who do not want to be involved with the specific details and management of each role, it is usually best to have a content management system in place that will be able to automate the process and still meet the online needs of the business. This is where working with a good web design company can be very beneficial and helpful to a new online business owner.

There are lots of different content management software options available to choose from but the top three free open source code programs are

1.) Drupal - This is a preferred platform for creating online forums, because of its ability to easily create and mange user accounts. It in not technically demanding and it is written in PHP.

2.) Joomla - This is an award winning open source program that is very user friendly and very robust in its feature.

3.) Wordpress - This platform has grown to be the most popular not only because of its ease of use but also because of its tremendous flexibility provided by a wide selection of pluggins, which allow you to extend the functionality of your site.

By working with a web design company they can help you identify which type of content management system, a self managed or automated, would work best for you and your business both in the early stages of the business as well as your future needs as your business grows and expands.

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