What is CMS? If you enter the search terms in Wikipedia you may learn that “Cms is a minor angel in Enochian occult tradition. The angel is the counterpart to Msal, and is a cacodemon.” But there is another definition to CMS, and it has to do with your web site.
“CMS,” or Content Management System, is often the number one function we address in the process of upgrading or launching a new website. Although a CMS has less to do with how the site looks—and more to do with how it works—it does provide inherent design advantages.
If you have an existing website with a CMS, the design and content are stored separately, and during redesign, it is a lot less work to move the content. This makes it easier to make changes to things like navigation, menuing, etc. A website with lots of content (publications, newsletters, articles, news) will definitely benefit. In addition, functional applications like forums, polls, news management, and e-commerce items like shopping carts are also provided as drop-in modules—an advantage against having to build them from scratch.
An advantage to working with content in a CMS is that you can truly manage it. You may upload it, but "hide" it, or schedule it to post on a certain day/time. Conversely, you can schedule your content to expire and be automatically removed at a future date/time, rather than have stale or misleading information remain on your site.
The need for a CMS and range of solutions, of course, depend on factors that include the following areas:
- Frequency and depth of content changes: Throughout the day, once a month? Throughout the site or typically in a specific location?
- Type of content: Data entry or narrative? Will it require editorial review for grammar, style, usage, and ensuring it’s consistent with your core brand? Are your content experts responsible for posting their own content?
- Users: Number of users in your organization entering content, levels of permissions, and editorial review process.
- Looking forward: How are content management needs projected to change over time? Is the system scalable? Does it need to be integrated within your IT infrastructure?
- Social media: What is the extent of your social media activity? Are there other interactive solutions you’d like to add to stay in contact with your customers and site visitors?
- Customization: Do you need to have content translated, and available to an international community?
We host many clients’ sites, and provide an outsourced CMS service, whereby the client provides us with the content, and we publish it. PRI has extensive editorial and journalistic background, so we can copyedit or proof any content prior to posting.
While some clients require a limited CMS functionality, others demand a more robust solution.
As with most things in life, you need the right tools for the job. For example, the online comic strip Kid Inc., requires daily updates. It is the core of the site. We provide the capabilities to upload new strips, and to update the Kid Inc. blog. For their email communications, PRI manages subscriptions and mailing lists. The CMS needs are basic, but essential, and have been made scalable as the site grows critical mass. The content is fresh, and the branding for the site identity is clear.
CMS—Basic and Advanced
Our CMS architecture will ensure that we can upgrade and add new features and benefits without delay.
Basic CMS functions include:
- Content Management and Page Building
- Blogging and Forums
Complex functions are available that may include the following, based on our client’s needs.
- Memberships, Subscriptions and Web Alerts
- Wiki Directory Content
- Polls and Surveys
- Activity Streams and Micro messaging (Twitter functionality)
CMS needs are elevated when meeting the requirements of long-term client Litman/Gregory. Their deep, content-rich site AdvisorIntelligence has a clientele of registered investment advisors. While the paid login system provides access for their subscribers, it also protects their content from non-subscribers, thus retaining the content’s value. Content is time-sensitive, and the CMS requirements for AdvisorIntelligence include the posting of topical financial research, real-time investment portfolio updates, an online content calendar, monthly investment commentary, mutual fund research reports , a communications library provided to financial advisors to communicate with their own clients, and additional sponsorship content management.
In summary, the AdvisorIntelligence deliverables included:
- Detailed content-import plan to move hundreds of files to new system
- Procedures for approvals, publishing, and maintenance of new and current content
- Advanced search function solutions for user access to vast research archives
- Phase planning to introduce new functions and tools
- Registration and credit card payment system
- Blogs, RSS, news feeds, discussion boards
- User-customized home page
- Automated email updates
- Clean, modern, professional website design
- Style and formatting guidelines
A content management system is most effective and efficient when it meets the needs of your clients and is based upon a realistic understanding of your organization’s ability to prepare and post content. With good planning, a scalable system will acknowledge your current requirements while also growing with your business.