This is part one of a two-part topic.
The first commandment of a successful website is that you must have content. So, you’ve realized that maintaining that content is taking a lot of your time. You don’t want to keep track of URLs and meta data for all your pages. You need a content management system, or CMS.
In addition to helping you with the above tasks, a CMS can provide an efficient way to syndicate the content you create to other websites. Similar to a blog, it can also keep track of who created the content when.
Essentially, a CMS allows you and your staff to create and update content quickly and without the use of a stand-alone program like Microsoft FrontPage or Adobe Dreamweaver (and the maintenance and expensive licenses of such desktop software). The content you create can be web pages, sections of web pages such as a common footer, stories, blog entries, news items and pretty much anything your e-publishing workflow demands. A CMS can keep track of those content types (or custom content types) and whether a specific piece of content is viewable (or “published”) to your visitors or just in the draft stage, as well as putting content behind secure sections of your site. The CMS will automatically integrate the common sections of your web pages with your content so you only need to create clean and search engine-optimized code for your common sections once.
Using a CMS has benefits for your search engine rankings as well. Each content type or content category can be assigned its own section of your site even though it’s managed in a central location. This allows the CMS to create keyword-rich, search engine friendly URLs easily. Your meta data and title tags can be managed in a central location also, making changes simpler and faster.
While using a Content Management System can make your life easier, there are a few significant gotchas to be aware of including how they could become SEO unfriendly. Stay tuned next time when I review those pitfalls and offer helpful suggestions. While I can’t promise you’ll get a raise when you implement a CMS at your office, I’m sure you’ll wonder how you got along without a CMS.