When a web designer creates and develops a new site for a client, a common strategy moving forward is for the client to continue to pay for site maintenance as changes are needed. Site maintenance can include technical tasks such as adding new features and functionality but most often it means keeping text content fresh, adding news stories, switching out images and letting site users know about upcoming events and product offers, that sort of thing.
At Wiredhat we like to let clients know they have options for maintaining their own content through the implementation and use of Content Management Systems (CMS). The benefits of this to the client are:
- keep costs down by updating a site without going through the developer
- make changes fast and as often as they like without ever having to learn coding techniques
- never have to worry about breaking the site – content is separate from structure
- updates can be made from anywhere – all you need is internet access
- content is stored in a database and becomes highly portable, allowing future design changes or even mobile versions of your site to display all your great content without it having to be re-created
- structured data capture allows your content data to be used in other facets of your business
The way it works is really simple for the client. During the design process we plan which areas of the site are going to require the most frequent updates, sometime the entire site! We then create an admin area to which the client will log in with a username and password. In this admin area the client can type text and insert images and links exactly the same way as one is used to on any common word processing program. Click on the “Publish” button and as if by magic all that great content is presented on the front end of the website, styled to fit in perfectly with the site design.
Content management systems can be either a third party solution adapted to work with your site (for example: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla etc) or if you happen to have very specific structured data requirements we have years of experience developing highly customized content management systems to the exact specifications of the client. For example a recent project we completed involved creating an admin area for a tools manufacturer. Each tool has a detailed but standardized data format, requires a gallery of multiple images and includes instructional files that users can download as necessary. We were able to quickly develop a custom CMS where the client can add new tools to their site in just a few minutes and that structured data is captured for multiple uses away from the website such as inventory, product catalogs and packaging.
A CMS can be a great feature for the client although it is not right for everyone. Sites that require frequent updates would benefit most as the initial cost of developing the CMS would offset the potential cost of paying the designer to do all the updates manually as needed. Of course a site that is seldom updated can have a CMS developed and implemented later if the need for more frequent maintenance arises. Part of the Wiredhat design process is to take into account and plan for future changes in website dynamics.
When you discuss your website needs with Wiredhat, be sure to ask about CMS options.Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this post are those of the author alone and are not reflective of opinions or policy employed by Wiredhat Interactive. Wiredhat Interactive is a professional organization committed to client satisfaction. While willing to offer advice on best practice Wiredhat Interactive will always complete projects to client specifications.