Can content management systems (CMS) make all your website changes easy?

jce_smOne of advantages of content management systems (CMS) is the ability to edit content easily and in real time. While this is true at face value, it may not be as simple as it sounds. Here are some of the changes that laymen cannot make:

Change in content type– Suppose most of your pages have a small amount of text (50 pages) and perhaps an image. If you want to replace that page with a video or add a large image to the text it as an example, you need to be aware of several things. Will adding the content require another technology tool such as a video player? Will the content be too much so that it looks out of place?

readmoreMost CMS systems allow you to add a “Read More” link, which may help address the issue. But it is always advisable to consider the overall impact before replacing the content.

Clashes between new content and the design framework– As you select images be especially aware of colors that clash with the website accent colors and for images that are cropped inconsistently. It is always best to establish and maintain the standards for content especially graphics and video. Any new content should follow these standards. If there are new silos of content e.g. divisions, develop common standards for content. If the content is inconsistent, you lose the sense of competency that a CMS framework creates through common style sheets.

Content that suggests a change in navigation– If new content reflects a change in services, business strategy, etc. it is always best to consider how that content relates to the whole site. If a customer sees a new product on your site but there is no link to “get more information” form, the new content is not serving your needs as it should. Be careful not to underestimate how important it is to create a consistent look.

PHPmyadminContent managed by database functions– Most CMS have the ability to interrelate several sets of content according to rules you define. The relationship between content is managed through a database and may be done by custom programming or through CMS tools. If you understand that relationship between the data, you can make the edits successfully; otherwise you may not accomplish what you want.

Content linked within the site– To help users find related content easily and to improve SEO, a good website key phrases from one page to related pages. If you change the names of your linked pages, you will also need to change the links in the related pages. It’s not difficult but if you forget, you will have broken links. This hurts your site’s appeal and SEO.

Joomla has a set of these tools generically called content construction kits. The most popular examples are MosetsTree, SobiPro, K2, and Zoo. Some are easy to add categories, some allow easy import of other database content and some are allow the layout of information to be customized easily. A good developer will understand the strengths and use the right tool.

Here are some tips to make the update process easier:

1. Make good decisions before you launch or re-launch you site. Define the basic layout of your site for the long term.

2. Work with developers who inform you of options before you build the site. Ask them questions about maintenance. Ask them what you change and what you cannot without help. Ask them about training.

3. Know your website’s CMS and train your staff to follow your style guidelines.

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