Why use a Content Management System (CMS)?
To update the information in a standard HTML website, it's necessary to edit the code that makes up its pages. This can be done by working directly with the code using a plain text editor like Windows Notepad, or with a WISIWYG HTML editor like MS Expression Web or Dreamweaver. Either way, the learning curve is a steep one and, in the case of HTML editors, the software is expensive and must be installed on every machine from which the site will be maintained.
A Content Management System (CMS) like Joomla! eliminates the need for special skills, and makes it possible for anyone who can use word processing software (such as MS Word) to add and edit the text on their own website.
Adding pictures is easy, too: it's just a question of browsing to the image file on your hard drive, clicking 'upload' and choosing where it is to appear in relation to the text. Through its system of Categories, Joomla! knows where on the website your text and graphics should be displayed.
Joomla! controls the way your website looks, too: fonts, colours, positioning on the page and everything else that goes to make up your website's unique appearance are all controlled by its system of templates (a template, or theme, designed exclusively for your website is part of the ZipFish package).
Once the site is up and running, all you have to do is add and edit content as necessary. The website's styles will be applied automatically by Joomla!
How does this work in practice?
When you want to change your website's content, you'll use your browser (e.g. Internet Explorer, Firefox, Opera) to access the site's control panel, which is located on the server hosting your site. Log in with your secure username and password, and you'll find every item of text and every graphic listed in easy-to-navigate categories.
To edit an item, simply click on its title and it appears in an edit box, complete with formatting controls like those that you are used to in your word processing software. When you've made your changes, simply click to save - the amended item will appear on the website straight away.