What exactly does a content management system do? Sue rarely takes readers on technical tours, but indulge her for a moment. Besides, it's not that technical at all.
I love original, provocative Web site copy. I love the stuff that sticks with you all day and leaves you wondering, "What more will that site offer when I tune in again?" Now that's the best definition of "sticky" that I know.
But there are many in this world (and most reside in your IT department) who implore you to make order out of the wonderful fare you are posting on your site. They tell you it has to be better managed. They tell you that you must have a dynamite content management system.
Think of it this way. Your site may start with a couple of junior staffers experienced in HTML. But that solution doesn't last long. The average large organization's Web site has millions of pieces of content and keeps expanding all the time -- sometimes faster than we'd like. Just think if the Mayberry Country Fair suddenly received 5,000 entries for the annual pie-baking contest. While all those piping hot apple and rhubarb treats may be viewed as a godsend, they would also have the fair organizers scurrying off for a shot of Aunt Bee's "recipe."
What exactly does a content management system do? Now, those who've paged through my past articles know that I rarely take readers on a technical tour, but let me indulge for a moment. A good content management system should be able to do most of the following:
The big problem with getting into the content management purchasing arena right now is that you'll be fighting off a lot of very aggressive vendors. You'll probably have to suffer through multiple presentations and demonstrations before you find the right match and a system that will accommodate your site's growth.
At the risk of becoming snowblinded, check out the blizzard of content management white papers on the Web. I started to print these out but came close to mortgaging the house to pay for ink cartridges. I also found these practical considerations for purchasing a system courtesy of Jonathan Briggs of OTHER media:
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Susan Solomon is the executive director of marketing and public relations for Memorial Health Services, a five-hospital health system in Southern California. In this capacity, she manages promotional activities for both traditional and new media. Susan is also a marketing communications instructor at the University of California, Irvine; California State University, Fullerton; and the University of California, Los Angeles.
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