One can get confused due to subtle differences between specific terms used by people in the domain of IT and Internet. The classic example for this could be a site builder and Content Management System (CMS). The perplexity can be also due to the fact that individuals use these terms in various perspectives.
It should be understood that CMS, Web Editors, Online Site Builders, and Blogs are designed for building or making changes to websites. Let us understand how this is achieved individually by these tools. Difference
Text Editor or Web Editor
These programs are designed for editing texts or images on the website. Hence we have Text Editors as well as Image Editors. Text editing involves writing the articles on a physical computer by using ‘editor’ program and saving these as web pages. This follows transferring the files to web host for displaying the blog live on the Internet.
Examples of visual editor programs are KompoZer and Dreamweaver. Text Editor or Web Editor facilitates you to create a web page by running text or image editor on your own computer.
Standalone Site Builder
The programs that are referred earlier can also be called as site builders because these are simply used to build websites. It should be clearly understood that every program that is designed to create web pages on physical computer to be transferred to web server for publishing on the Internet is called as web/ text editor or site builder. These programs may follow the principles of word processing or desktop publishing. This minute distinction should be overlooked for the simple reason that the basic purpose remains the same in spite of dissimilarities. Hence any program that is mentioned as Site Builder is in essence a Web Editor.
Online Site Builder
This feature is offered by quite a few web hosts for the purpose of designing a website by using a web browser. This feature obviates running an individual program on your physical computer and helps you create web pages directly without need to transfer these to web host.
Online site builder offers pre-designed templates and supports you with a step by step wizard to select a design and enter your site’s information with practically no hassles. The site builder creates your web pages directly without you taking pains to upload these. The entire process may seem to be extremely intuitive but it deprives you of flexibility, control, and skills of transferability. These programs are not helping you create web-pages although they may create an illusion to that effect. Most important point to note that by using web host’s online site builder program you run a risk of getting locked in.
Standalone/ Offline Site Builder linked to a specific web host
Such a standalone or offline site builder facilitates you to edit and create your web pages right on your physical computer by downloading a site builder program offered by a web host. Although the program offers you freedom and flexibility of creating web-pages on your machine, it is not without any issues either. You are still running risk of getting locked-in because you will not be able to use such web pages with another web host, if you shift your site to another web host in future.
Content Management System
CMS or Content Management System is a software program that is installed on computer of your web host and is a much better alternative to using online site builder offered by your host. CMS allows you to add or edit web-pages directly on your site and allows far greater flexibility and control than web host’s site builder without fear of getting locked in with a particular host. It lets you migrate the entire site to another host without any issues. There is no need to install any program on your local computer while using CMS. You only need to use your browser to log in to your site and start editing the same.
Most of the CMS software lack broad range of templates and are not easy to set up. The set-up involves transferring files to web host, creating a database, and then configuring CMS in accordance with your site. However, if you choose some of the more popular CMS software, you will be able to extend functionalities by adding different modules and will also have greater choice of templates.
These are almost like Content Management System software tools. The difference is in the range of features. Since blogging software is designed to cater to bloggers, it does not possess a wide range of features offered by Content Management System. You need to note that blogging software is entirely different than software offered by blogging web host.
Choosing the right method to create website
By understanding the basic differences between various methods of website creation, you must have come to know that there cannot be an all encompassing solution for building your website. All options mentioned above need to be critically examined before making a right choice. One of the most logical ways to decide which method should be followed is by understanding the purpose of your website. In the following discussion, we shall look into the different reasons to build websites.
To frequently and regularly add new web-pages
There is a difference between addition of entirely new pages and updating the existing ones. Uploading new articles regularly is considered as adding new pages. In contrast, if the website is designed to sell goods online and needs to be updated in terms of prices, offers, or new arrivals, then this will not amount to adding new pages. Such static websites can be managed by using a web editor due to its user friendly features in comparison with a full-fledged CMS solution. Web editors are not highly resource intensive and can be considered as preferred option for websites having a static nature. You need not use a CMS for adding new pages either, because a web editor can suffice the purpose.
To write a blog
The most logical option for writing blogs would be to use blogging software. It is may be possible to manually build all blog pages by using web editor, however it will deprive you of the unique and useful features that a blogging software can empower you with. If you need to find the easiest to use blogging software, then WordPress is the most trusted and time tested solution.
To work with single of multiple computers
For the bloggers on the go, it is preferable to use CMS software or even blogging software for that matter. These scripts are installed directly on web servers instead of local computers to unleash travelling bloggers from the shackles of a single physical computer. Such bloggers can start working by simply logging into their site from their browser. Although there may be certain security concerns to be addressed on account of using different computers, the CMS option holds lot of promise for travelling bloggers.
To gain control over website’s appearance
Unless you are proficient in coding in HTML, PHP, or CSS, you will find it difficult to use CMS to change appearance of your website. This issue has been thankfully and effectively addressed by some of the modern CMS solutions. In spite of this, the learning curve continues to be steep in case of CMS as far as modification of website’s appearance is concerned.
To manage website with several authors
Presence of multiple authors who are geographically dispersed and need to individually contribute different pages underlines need to go for a CMS solution. These authors need to use separate browsers to update, edit, or add pages. CMS will certainly be able to handle the issue of coordination more effectively than all other methods.
To allow individual member pages for users
Many websites require users to login or sign up into their individual accounts in order to build web-pages on your site. This leaves you with no other option than to use a Content Management System.
You may create an impression that a website for forum may require a CMS by using the same logic. In fact, a forum site is run by using forum software and requires neither a web editor nor a CMS solution.
No method is more user friendly than the other
This is a hard fact of life. Website creation or development is an intricate process and is influenced by multiple factors. The interesting aspect of all the available options is that prima facie every other option seems to be easier to begin with. However, you need to develop familiarity to enhance the ease of working with these options and will certainly reap the advantages in the longer run.
In conclusion, a web editor presents the lowest level of difficulty and much less steeper learning curve than other available methods of creating website. While learning to use a web editor, users continue to gain more useful insights that would be beneficial to them whenever they would be managing CMS solutions.