We’ve been building websites since 1996. Not to sound like an old codger, but a lot has changed in that time. Sparing you the boring details, the most significant change has been in just the last few years: where you once needed to code a website from the ground up, today most of the websites you see are built with content management systems. And where most F500 business have a homegrown CMS, small- and medium-sized businesses (as well as a lot of independent efforts originating in F500 firms) are choosing to build their sites with open-source content management systems like WordPress, Wix, Concrete5 and Squarespace.

Why? Two main reasons. First, these systems use ‘fluid design’ principles, so your site will work equally well on desktop and mobile devices. Second, interactive features like payment processing, customer service chat, tracking content and hosting video are much, much easier (and less expensive) to leverage than they are to build. Big picture, CMSes have removed a lot of the technical hurdles smaller businesses have face in developing their web presence.

However, while content management systems like the ones listed above make the production of the site easier, they come with a caveat: all of the other aspects of producing a website take just as much concerted effort as they always have. Someone still needs to design the site and produce all of the graphics, illustrations, videos and so forth. And the process of writing and editing content has sunk many hopeful attempts by businesses and entrepreneurs to take ownership of their web development effort.