Tips for using a Content Management System

Posted By Katie on Mar 24, 2014

A content management system (CMS) is a great tool in the right hands, but as our Dan always says, there’s a reason why large companies have webmasters – and that’s to stop their website getting into the wrong hands (i.e. their employees). We have designed some stunning websites over the years, only to see them deteriorate within months of the client getting their mitts on it. Of course we’re not naïve enough to think that every company can afford their own webmaster, they can’t, hence why the CMS was invented. At the same time however, to prevent a CMS website from turning into a dog’s dinner, the person using it needs to follow a few simple rules:

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Be careful what you change

The website when it was designed was done so in accordance with Internet protocol and Google’s algorithm. If you want to change the text, make sure there’s a good reason; don’t do it just because you’re tired of the existing text. If you need to change it, make sure you know what you’re doing and how it might impact on your search results. Also, whatever about changing the wording, do not interfere with the font style or general layout; leave that to the designers. Otherwise, before you know it, every page will begin to look different, and the whole site will gradually unravel and appear disjointed.

Learn how to deal with images

We can guarantee you are going to have images that need to be colour corrected and resized before being let loose on the outside world. Unless you have the right software though to edit photos, this is going to prove difficult. It’s worth investing a bit of time to find the right editing tool and then learning how to use it properly. Otherwise, the images you upload to your website won’t look right and your beautifully designed website won’t be so beautiful anymore.

Keep on good terms with your developer

We are all for letting our clients update their website themselves. That said, you will invariably encounter issues such as software updates, security breaches and plugin incompatibilities that are best left to the professionals. So even if you decide to maintain most of the website yourself, there’s no harm in taking out a retainer or SLA with your web developer. That way, whenever you come across something tricky (and eventually you will, because websites are not infallible), it’s nice to know there’s someone you can call.

Leave it to the professionals

In summary, use your CMS wisely. If it’s a simple text change, go ahead and make it. If it’s something a little more complex, leave it to the professionals. To use a motoring example, websites are a lot like cars; it’s good to be able to perform routine maintenance tasks like changing the oil or adding screen wash, but if something needs to be done to the engine or bodywork, you should leave it to the mechanic. Otherwise, you run the risk of doing more harm than good and having to pay for someone to fix your handiwork.

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