Web Site Content Management
Your web site content management
Web site content management isn't just about keeping track of the information that appears on your website. A well-designed site requires well-designed content management systems. The user usually won't have any idea of the amount of work and organization that goes into managing your web site, but that's the way it should be. If you want people to use your site, you need to do all the work for them and make their part as easy as possible.
The first step for good web site content management is to keep your files stored properly offline. If you're using Windows, the easiest way of keeping your files in order is to use folders. Keep your web-ready HTML files in one folder, and have another folder for notes and rough drafts. Some companies also keep copies of older versions of their web pages, for archiving purposes. Make regular back-ups of all folders. Keeping spare copies on disk gives you extra security in the event of a hard drive crash.
If your web site is divided into sections, your folder of web-ready HTML files should be too. You could have sub-folders labeled, for example, "Product Information", "Company Information" and "Feedback/Testimonials". The larger your site is, the more important it is to keep the information organized with sub-folders. That way, you won't lose track of where files are when you want to upload them. If your site is small, with only one page for each section, this kind of organization is less important.
Storing files for web site content management is fairly simple if you're writing each file yourself. However, web sites for large businesses nearly always have more than one content writer, as well as a designer and someone in charge of the technical side. This makes web site content management more complicated. The only way to avoid chaos is to have one person as a conduit for all online content. That person would be responsible for:
- receiving content from writers
- editing content to remove errors and make it fit the web site's style
- deciding whether or not new content should appear on the site
- deciding where content should appear on the site
The same person might also be responsible for designing web pages and converting text into HTML. However, it isn't necessary for one person to fulfill both roles, and it might prove to be too much work for one person if the site is large and requires frequent updates.
After the editorial work has been completed and pages created in valid HTML, it's time for the pages to be uploaded. The person who does this job may be part of the company's technical support team, or they may be employed full-time as a webmaster (which usually means writing scripts too). There is a variety of software suitable for uploading web pages. However, if you're using Dreamweaver to create all your pages, you might want to use Dreamweaver's built-in FTP client.
This page has given a very brief outline of the web site content management process for small businesses. If you work for a larger company, our page on enterprise content management may prove more helpful. You should also cast your eye over this site's section on content management tools.