Content Management - Evolved
The heart of any website is the information it contains which is referred to as "content". This content can take on many forms including text, photos, web links, calendars, newsfeeds, user comments, documents, ratings, and more. However, most of the content contained in a website consists of text which is added to the website as articles and made viewable in a process referred to as "publishing".
- The old outdated approch
- The classic and now outdated approach to "publishing" content required the services and special skills of a webmaster. The webmaster would receive new or updated content and writes "code" to embed the information into the website pages. Any change in website structure or layout also required coding changes. This was and is a very ineffective and inefficient process. First learning how to write "html code" is time consuming and finding someone else with the requisite knowledge may be difficult or expensive. Then the webmaster is a bottleneck for updating a website, as all changes needed to flow through them. If you have multiple changes coming simultaneously from mulitple contributors, they are serviced on at a time by the webmaster.
- The improved modern approach
- The modern contemporary approach to publishing content utilizes a Content Management System (“CMS”) that separates the website “content” from the website “infrastructure” eliminating the need for a webmaster. First, no special skills are needed to publish new or updated content, as coding is no longer required. If you are computer literate enough to use Microsoft Word, you have all the skills you need to add and change the content in a CMS based website. The webmaster is also no longer a bottleneck as multiple people can simultaneously update a website at the same time.
- This new approach changes the entire dynamic of content management as anyone with the proper authorization can edit or add content. This allows you to have an entire network of contributors and is the critical enabler of e-communities and member generated content contributions. These content contributions also occur in a controlled manner. You can (but not required) differentiate between the roles of author, editor, and publisher, where authors can only submit new content that has to be reviewed and approved by an editor, and finally a publisher. And you can have mulitple people in these roles that may be assigned according to topic and or content type. All of this is done through use of an on-line editor, automated notification systems, and check-box functionality.
- The Tradeoff
- The tradeoff with using a Content Management System is that it is a "system" and much more complex in technical structure than a classic web page. Instead of a simply sequence of coded web pages, a CMS is a structured software application that utilizes a separate “database” and application. A “website architect” is needed to configure the desired website and then monitor and maintain the application. Although this requires a certain level of technical skills and knowledge, all activites are in the background, and totally independent and transparent to managing content.