Working with Content Management Systems
Setting up the right package for a Content Management System (CMS) is critical to make your website easy to manage and handle, says Mike Druttman.
Building a website is sometimes compared to building a house. After you’ve been through the whole construction phase once, how would you do it better the next time around? Together with various programmers I’ve built lots of websites over the years. More to the point, I’ve been responsible for updating them. That’s when you find out all the bugs – what works, what doesn’t and how long it all takes.
This article is a kind of ‘Best Practices’ guide about CMS, so that you’ can prepare yourself at the start and choose the right programmer to help you. I’m talking about WordPress, which offers many variations . To navigate here, you need an agile and innovative programmer.
There may be many areas on a web page and you should control them all in clearly defined areas – such as 1) Top quote; 2) Main heading ; 3) Intro paragraph; 4) Main body text and 5) Photos
Seeing what you get
Look for a well-designed CMS package so that you can easily see what you’re inputting to the web page. Look for a system that flags the updating process clearly. When you ‘save’, you know that your changes have been kept.
The CMS must clearly define how it imports photos, updates them and what size of file is acceptable. If the size limit is 300 Kb and you’re trying to upload a 1MB photo, you should either see a ‘resize photo’ notice – or perhaps the CMS automatically resizes for you. Make sure you have a ‘replace photo’ function.
Search engine friendly (SEO)
It’s important that your CMS includes an add-on function for adding titles and descriptions to each web page you build. You should be able to control the URL name for each page: NOT https://www.searchenginegenie.com/search-events/view_entry.php?id=717&date=20090803
Make sure that the system has clear tools for easy hyperlinking, both for texts and for video inclusion.
Updating and security
A CMS like WordPress is an ‘open’ system, which means it is vulnerable to hacking. A critical need is to ensure that the system is always updated with the latest security updates. Do it yourself or, better still, have a technical guy update the site for you regularly.
Having a good webmaster with a strong understanding of your CMS program (like WordPress) is a huge advantage. Such a person should know which solutions and add-ons are the best for you. The Web is full of tools – some that work excellently over time and others that will show their shortcomings after a while. Choose well.