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Doug Motel Photo Attack of the Abbreviations! (CMS, CSS and HTML Explained)

by Doug Motel, Site Optimized

January 2010

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Before we go any further, you need to reread the title above….now breathe, that’s it…slow your heart rate…good job…now sit back and put your feet up…good. Now, that the panic attack is over, we can get started on getting you acquainted with the world of CMS, CSS, and HTML.

The abbreviations themselves are a bit of a pain, but rest assured that once you’re done reading this article you’ll be one step closer to using the web to get your message out to the world.

The Definition and Purpose of CMS

CMS stands for content management system. In layman’s terms it means that a CMS is a simple (although it sounds complicated) way to design, create, manage and maintain a website all from one place. It allows the website owner to add, remove, change and even update content on their site easily.

Though you will probably need a web developer to set a CMS site up for you, ideally you want to be adding content regularly and quickly.

There are a few sites out there that offer CMS services for free:

Joomla - Is an award winning CMS that is easy to use, secure and very popular among the site building crowd.

Wordpress - Is a free and popular blogging platform that is one of the most user friendly CMSs out there.

Mambo - With Mambo, you can create a simple or complex site using their full-featured open-source CMS.

Drupal - With Drupal you can create blogs, huge company sites, small ecommerce sites, or even a slideshow of your favorite pet.

The Definition and Purpose of HTML

No, the abbreviation HTML does not stand for Hotmail, although you can get HTML emails through Hotmail.

The simple definition for HTML, or hypertext markup language, is that it’s the web code that talks to the browsers like Internet Explorer and Firefox telling them how to display the images and text to users.

With HTML you can take something that is written in all black, lowercase letters and insert tags that will make them appear bright blue and in all CAPS when viewed online. This allows for a lot of different text types, colors, layouts and even picture inserts.

The Definition and Purpose of CSS

CSS, or cascading style sheet, is a kind of like a mix between HTML and Photoshop- you can change the appearance of text, colors and theme of an entire website simply by changing one file. Imagine how much faster updating a website has become with this nifty invention.

The CSS is a style language that creates definitions for the look and feel of a webpage. It makes sure that the style is consistent throughout, and tells the different web browsers how it wants the website to appear.

With a cascading style sheet, any web designer or developer, or even a novice website builder can make a certain set of styles that they can use to make fonts, colors, graphs, tables and other minutia of the website.

Use of a CSS makes the website look smoother, seamless and more professional.

Now that you’ve learned a little bit more about the abbreviations in the title, I hope this helps you to better communicate with your web developer and get a sense of what is possible for you in keeping your web content useful and fresh.



Doug Motel is a project and marketing coach with over 10 years of experience in internet marketing. He has helped major corporations and one-person businesses to profit from the web. To learn more about how he has used the search engines and social media to help clients get on Oprah, The View and into the Wall Street Journal call (845) 363-4728.

Company Profile: Site Optimized
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