After one has a server, the next step is to find out how software installation is handled. Traditionally one would use something like FTP or SSH to transfer files onto the server. From there one would log in on the unix command line and manually extract and install the program. This might still be the case with some servers. But for the most part a data center will have set up a Web based control panel. These usually make software installation as easy as clicking a few buttons. This of course brings up the question of what to install. The best starting point will be a CMS solution. A content management system, or CMS, allows non-programmers to easily create complex websites. This is of course ideal for a small business. There’s no need to keep web developers or designers on staff. Instead, a basic CMS should be more than sufficient when just starting out.
At first sight it might seem like the best part of a CMS is its ability to make creating a website so easy. It essentially makes creating a site as easy as creating a document in a word processor. But the real strength of a CMS comes from how easy it is to expand the basic functionality. Every CMS comes with a different variety of expansions. But for the most part any popular CMS will have hundreds of powerful and free modules which can add amazing new power to the system. For example, one might be able to set up a full web store by just adding a single module to the CMS. And that’s often as simple as just dragging the file from one’s computer to the CMS control panel.
This also leads into the most important part about how a small business should relate to the Internet. Larger corporations are usually unable to really experiment with new technologies. Everything they do needs to be run through a variety of different offices and opinions, and then enter into lengthy testing phases. This means glacially slow deployment schedules. A small business can jump onto new technologies the second they appear. A small business owner should always keep track of interesting new CMS modules if he’s using such a system. He should be keeping track of how to use social media in new and interesting ways. And most of all he should be working to really get his name out there on the Internet. A small company can use the freedom the Internet provides to market himself directly to the public in a real and earnest way that no large corporation could ever manage.