We have now developed hundreds of websites, many of them complex online applications. We have developed our own interactive platform for self-managed websites, called virtualCMS.
virtualCMS - The Next-Generation Content-Management System
virtualCMS is a unique Content-Management System (CMS) developed by the geeks here at Virtual Creations. It is the flagship of the Virtual Creations product range.
What is a Content-Management System?
A Content-Management System is a software package embedded within your website that allows you, the site owner, to maintain the content of your website (the text, images, etc that are displayed on your website pages) with no knowledge of programming, HTML or web-publishing - or any other technical expertise.
In 2008, using a CMS to update your website is de rigeur for all forward-thinking organisations. The days of editing and publishing static HTML pages have been well and truly banished to the previous century. The technologies of "Web 2.0" (blogs, CMSs, wikis, Ajax, RSS, forums, et al) have changed the Internet landscape forever - it's now possible for even the most hardened technophobe to publish a website, without having their very own pet geek.
How does a CMS work?
Rather than edit pages on your computer and then upload those pages to your live website (the way it's traditionally been done), updating content in a CMS typically works a little differently: You simply:
There's No need to learn HTML: <img src="html/locate.gif" style="float: right; padding-top: 10px;" />
- Visit your website
- Log in using a special administration username and password
- Go to the page or other content you wish to change
- Click an "Edit" button (or something similar)
- Make the change to your page directly into the page itself, just like using Microsoft Word.
Yuck! Never again!
Your changes instantly appear on the site. No uploading. No FTP. No waiting. No fuss.
Why do I need a CMS?
There are many benefits to CMS-enabled websites over static websites:
Benefits of a Content-Management System
- Don't pay someone else to have your website content updated. Without a CMS, your choices were essentially two: Pay a geek to update your site for you (geeks are notoriously expensive, and they're seldom available when you need the website urgently updated), or learn how to use a website-development program, such as Microsoft FrontPage or Adobe Dreamweaver. Neither of these options has ever been much fun. Now there's a third way: Do it yourself!
- Spread the workload. It's so easy to update your website, now you can delegate the task to several people at once. With virtualCMS, you can have more than one person logged in simultaneously! Let your marketing person design the home page. Ask your sales manager to update the product catalog. Put the HR manager in charge of maintaining the staff profiles - or better yet, the staff members themselves! No more need to funnel all your website updates through that unfriendly IT troll that lives in the basement...
- Update your website from anywhere. Wherever you can view your website, you can now update your website. At work, at home in your pyjamas, in an Internet Cafe in Kathmandu - having a CMS in your website is now one more reason not to have to come to work!
- Turn your website into a communications hub. If your organisation is widely scattered around the city, around the country or around the globe, you need a way of centralising all your communications and your information storage. A regular, static website can't offer any solutions to this problem. However, with a CMS website, all your employees or members (or even your customers, suppliers and agents) can log into your website to share the information they hold. Notification emails can be automatically sent to interested parties, group schedules can be maintained - the list is endless.
What's so special about virtualCMS?
There are plenty of content-management systems out there. In fact, the Virtual Creations developers looked long and hard to try to find a CMS that would suit the needs of our customers (and our developers), but none offered the features we needed.
So we wrote our own: virtualCMS.
Why is it so special? Simply this: It is designed to be customised to each customer's precise needs, tailored to their exact workflow. If you look around at all the other CMSs available (Joomla, Mambo, Drupal, etc), you'll find that they offer a set of modules that will be hopefully suitable to your needs. For example, they all offer event calendars and news modules, but what if you need your event calendar to keep track of the name of the stage manager of that event? Or the backup venue? What if you want your events shown on one page in calendar format, and on the next page in list format, grouped by venue? What if the news items need to carry a custom signature of the author of the news?
Can these other CMSs handle such specific needs? No.
They all offer generic modules. Ones that you will hopefully be able to shoe-horn into your workflow. Good luck!
Besides not offering fields to track the special information you need, they also offer fields and features you'll never use. For example, if you need a shopping cart to sell advertising space, the shopping cart modules provided by these other CMSs will most likely come with a "Shipping costs" component. So your checkout page will have a "Shipping Address" section and a shipping costs calculator - but you don't even ship anything!
If you're a real estate agent, for example, you'll want a website that knows what a "property" is. Shop around and see if you can find a content-management system that knows what a "property" is. Furthermore, if you're a commercial real-estate agent, your needs will be different to those of a residential real estate agent.
On the other hand, if you're a football club, you won't care if your website knows what a property is, you'll want your website to know about events, members, players, fixtures, etc.
virtualCMS can handle any of these needs.
How is virtualCMS so flexible?
We sit down with you, face to face, and ask you about how your business works.
We ask you what items you'd like to keep track of on your website (properties, events, members, customers, products, classes, etc).
We ask you to describe the exact attributes that are important to you about each item (price, size, weight, location, start time, supplier, wholesale cost, etc) - every tiny little detail that you need tracked!
We determine the most efficent information workflow for you, your employees and your website visitors. All this is integrated into your website in such a way as to make your most common tasks as efficient and time-saving as possible.
Bottom Line: Your website is tailored to your exact business needs.
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