The landscape of web site maintenance is evolving, and content management is at the forefront of this transition. Paying your web services provider outrageous fees to update one paragraph or hiring an in-house programmer for online forms is quickly becoming a trend of the past. There are a few critical questions you will need to answer as part of your quest for a web site solution.
What is Content Management?
Content Management is the process of adding, updating, and deleting the content (text, pictures, links, forms, etc.) on your web site. A Content Management System (CMS) is a web browser based software application that allows the non-technical user to update web pages. Easy to update online forms with text fields, check boxes, rich text editors, and image resizers have replaced files containing 400 lines of HTML code that you must FTP to the web server.
When do I need a Content Management System(CMS)?
To answer this question you first must determine how often you will update the content on your web site. If your web site is fairly static and is only updated once or twice a year, then you probably don't fit the mold for content management. If your web site is pretty straight forward and you only need to update a few areas of text here and there, then a simple blogging software solution may satisfy your needs. If your requirements are a bit more extensive and involve custom plug-ins, page level security, document management, e-commerce, and/or other advanced functionality, then you will need to look for a CMS with a feature set that can be customized to your needs.
How do I know if I have the technical ability to use a Content Management System?
The rule of thumb that we generally go by is this. If you have the technical know-how to construct an email with an attachment, create a formatted document with Microsoft Word, and navigate through a web site, you have the skills needed for content management. It really is that easy, provided you have the right content management software.
Are all Content Management Systems the same?
The quick answer to this is No, absolutely not! There are a few solutions out there that provide you with a textarea and a save button, and try to tell you it's content management. Blogging software (Word Press, Movable Type, etc.) is considered by some to be a CMS, and while very flexible it doesn't always meet the complex needs of fully functional systems. It's recommended that you make a list of everything you need to accomplish with your web site prior to looking for solutions, and be sure the CMS you choose has a solution for everything on your list.
Please feel free to contact a SMC representative at anytime to find out if content management is in your future. Not sure yet? Visit our Features and Solutions pages where you can get a first hand look at what the Site Management Console has to offer.