Your Content Management System… More Than What Your Users See

Gabriel Richards
Founder & CEO

The design of your content management system is more than visualizing the templates your organization will fill content into. The design phase of your CMS is actually an opportunity to review your workflows, your decision making processes, and improve the way you operate and express your business going forward.

There is this ongoing dance between the existing dynamics of your business and how content production and strategy can be streamlined by defining policies and standards.

During the design phase at Endertech, we will establish your content strategy. This will inform the configuration of your CMS to support the desired content management intentions. In order to create the desired content workflows, we need to answer the following questions:

  • What are your content goals?
  • What type of content do you need?
  • Who is responsible for planning, creating and governing content?

Once these questions have been answered we can create a list of all the different roles involved in the content publishing process, including requesters, creators, editors, approvers (owners), publishers and other roles we may want to add later on.

Based on the working content strategy and identified needs, we can document all of the tasks (steps) involved in the web publishing process. This will include the steps that exist outside of the CMS which are important to document as we consider how this content is archived outside of the system. We need to establish answers for:

  • Where does content start and end?
  • What is your content ecosystem?

After each step in the publishing process, what do we need for the next step to begin? What are the dependencies for each task? (e.g., What needs to happen before step 2 of 5 can begin?)

Some tasks might include:

  • Adding text, photos, video, Twitter feeds, sidebar content, forms, etc.
  • Creating new pages
  • Deleting pages and digital assets
  • Adding or updating metadata
  • Publishing content to a test server
  • Returning new or edited content with comments for revisions
  • Scheduling content for publication
  • Properly formatting headers, tables, captions, links, etc.

We will then create visualizations that illustrate these tasks to understand the relationship of various tasks and give them context. We start mapping out the tasks in this way to discover missing steps. For example, you may want to require approval before content authors can publish, but through our task flow chart, we might realize authors first need permission to publish to a test server on their own.

Here are some examples of questions that will come up during this exercise and help establish workflows and a digital governance policy:

  • Can authors create new pages or just edit existing ones?
  • Who is authorized to create subfolders (subdirectories)?
  • Can authors delete pages? What about other digital assets?
  • Can editors approve content across the entire site or just the sections they’re responsible for? What about content they own that spreads across multiple sections of the site?
  • How do we manage multiple approvers (editors)? Are requests for approval delegated to other approvers if an assigned editor is out of the office?
  • How do we manage workflow when multiple authors are working on the same page?
  • Are content managers involved in the workflow process? Are they informed about publishing updates? Are they responsible for documenting changes?

We understand web publishing is more than entering data in fields and hitting “next.” Content can be complicated, and ensuring consistency and clear communication requires a larger set of tools, including brand guidelines, editorial calendars and style guides.

We will establish file naming conventions, editorial style guidelines, standards for file formats and page layout. We will have web writing guidelines which can be upheld in your CMS templates so they’re part of your CMS workflow. This will also include checklists for content editing, metadata, links, SEO and other content requirements.

If this sounds like an exercise we can help you with, please reach out so we can have a conversation. This process is adaptable to your particular needs. Ultimately our goal is to provide the best service we can for you and your organization. Give us a call at 310.400.0800 or fill out the contact form. Looking forward to having a conversation.

- Gabriel RichardsFounder & CEO | 

Filed under: <DesignDevelopment>