Over the last 20 years, most websites, and probably yours, have been built using a CMS. ‘Content Management System’ should logically go hand in hand with ‘content managed by the web site owner’, right? The reality, however, often shows another picture. Many organizations do not have the resources or the trained people to do the job. They hence leave it to their web agency, while they could manage it internally. But how straightforward is it actually?
Mosgt CMS systems used today offer a user-friendly content management interface. Anyone who can use Office software should then be able to create or edit web content easily in a modern CMS.
Here are 7 tips to make the exercise trouble-free.
1. Get rid of your fears
Follow a training about your CMS use. It will quickly make you familiar with the most frequently used tasks. It will also confirm that you have nothing to be afraid of. Remember: once published, even the biggest mistakes – although unlikely to be made -- are much easier to remove from a CMS-driven web site than from any other communication platform (such as print or email messages).
2. Get yourself a custom guide
Make sure you always have a user guide at hand (preferably customized to your specific needs and environment). It will make you always feel confident you can find the right way to do what your need to do. Especially for the tasks you perform occasionally.
3. Ask your web agency to customize your interface
The user interface of most CMS systems can be customized and made simpler. Ask your web expert to restrict the available features to the ones you need. And request tell also shortcuts to the functionalities your use most frequently: a simple mouse click will do to activate them
4. Use a staging environment
A good way to test any content update before publishing it is to first apply it on a staging (i.e. testing) environment. The people who manage your web hosting should be able to deploy one easily for your organization. Trial and error will then be fully allowed, without impacting your publicly accessible data.
Once your reach the required result, you will just have to duplicate it and push it live on your production environment. You’ll feel even safer.
5. Activate an approval workflow
Are you part of a large organization? Then you are probably not the only one to decide about what to post on the web site. On top of the staging environment, an approval workflow will make sure that what comes online is fully in accordance with the corporate guidelines and policy. It will make you feel part of a team in which accountability is evenly distributed.
6. Filter from Word
The temptation is high to just copy/paste text content from MS Word in order to keep the same formatting and layout on the web page. Did you know, however, that MS Word texts contain lots of code that is not compatible with html (i.e. the language of the web)? Within the text editor of your CMS you will certainly find a feature that cleans content coming from MS Word. It will retain most formatting but filter out all unwanted code. And, as such, prevent your web page to look weird, or worse, to have a disrupted look and feel.
7. Keep the call number of a helpdesk nearby
Are you sometimes requested to apply more challenging updates, such as modification of deep page structure or table integration? Don’t spend too much time and energy searching through the CMS administration. Instead, call the helpdesk of your web agency or CMS provider.
In short, just keep this in mind: there is no problem in a CMS that cannot be solved !
(*) KISS = Keep It Simple, Stupid!