More and more, people rely on the Web to find the most current information about your business. If you already have a website, good for you. But if you don’t keep it updated, it loses a lot of its value for customers.

Most small businesses can’t afford to hire full-time Web editors, and certainly don’t have the time to learn web programming themselves. If you find yourself having to hire a web developer every time you want to update your hours or add a new product, you may want to consider using a content management system for your site instead.

A content management system, or CMS, allows you to have complete control over your website’s content without ever even looking at the code. These systems are developed by people who understand how the the Web works, so you can trust that the code is clean, compatible with major browsers and search engine friendly—all you have to worry about is the information you want to present.

There are some excellent open-source CMSs available for free, the most popular of which are WordPress, Joomla! and Drupal. WordPress has a very extensive selection of themes and plugins, so it is easily adaptable to almost any purpose, no matter how big or small. It has a very user-friendly interface, easy to learn and navigate even for the least web-savvy users. Drupal and Joomla! are like WordPress in that they are very developer-friendly, but their interfaces are less friendly to novice users. Their support and development communities are also much smaller than WordPress’s, so it is harder to get help if you need it, and also fewer themes and add-ons to choose from.

There are several CMSs out there made with small businesses in mind, many of which charge subscription fees. Magento is a very powerful eCommerce platform, with features specifically designed for online retail. Though they offer a free version, the commercial licenses cost either $3,000 or $13,000 a year and also come with warranty and technical support.

Even if you have to hire a web design company to set you up on a CMS and design a custom theme for you, it will still end up being less costly for you in the long run, because you can easily handle the day-to-day updates and maintenance on your own. Either way, it’s time to take control.

Do you use a CMS not mentioned here? Tell us about it.

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