Many inquiries we get from potential customers are focused on the development of their company’s website. Often, part of that conversation focuses on the future control of their site and invariably turns to the demand for a content management system, or CMS, which is a web-based application that allows businesses to update website content from the website itself.
When a customer emphatically demands a CMS—I immediately answer, “of course—but why?”
Understanding the needs of our customers is part of Mudbug Media’s credo and is critical in determining if you need a CMS, and if a CMS is warranted, what type of CMS will best fit our customers’ needs. At Mudbug Media, we are very experienced in the implementation of a wide range of CMS types and competent in identifying the best solution for each client.
While content management systems do provide a substantial amount of website control and update capability, they’re neither a maintenance cure-all, nor a “really easy way” to make revisions. As with any type of interactive component, any good developer should set appropriate expectations for your CMS’ capability, prioritizing functionality options and learning how to maintain your chosen approach. Likewise, it should be made clear that any CMS requires some level of programming and design competency, and there will be portions of your site that will require an expert to adjust.
There are alternatives to consider before adding the cost of a CMS to your site:
1. Just send the updates to us and we will make them for you!
Many of our customers need a simple website that does not need a lot of updates. The assumed need for a CMS is simply one of having control of the site and/or not wanting to rely upon a developer to update the site to avoid future expense. If you really do not plan to make a lot of updates to your site, the addition of a CMS is likely to be more expensive than paying for the occasional update.
2. Add a little CRUD
No, by CRUD, I do not mean dirt or slushy snow! CRUD is an acronym for Create – Read – Update – Delete. In most cases, you will not need the ability to edit each-and-every section of your website. It is very possible that you’ll only need to provide regular revision to a select group of page components, such as an employee contact list or special announcements box. If this is the case, rather than a full CMS, you will likely benefit from a CRUD – a simple custom written admin area that can provide a more straightforward interface for updating a specific type of content. Our goal when creating a CRUD is to make the contained content accessible and applicable for straightforward, seamless updates.
3. Web Editing Software
Another approach to site upkeep, a software package, such as Dreamweaver, can provide you the means to manage your online content. However, to successfully use any new software, someone on your team will need to acquire some basic programming and design skills, such as rudimentary HTML and tagging rules. While we can recommend books for such tutelage, before investing, you will want to ensure that you have someone who is not only willing to learn, but also has the time for the responsibility of ongoing maintenance.
If you do select this approach, we will always be available for supplemental support and advisement. In addition, if your site is hosted on our servers, you can rest assured that a back-up file will likely be available in the case of ‘accidental editing mishap’. At Mudbug, we backup the files on our servers multiple times per day. If you happen to make a terrible mistake – don’t worry! We’ll get the last saved version back online for you.
Despite these options, sometimes an all-inclusive, comprehensive CMS is exactly what you need. For example, if you’re a large corporation, academic institution, or healthcare provider, you will be consistently providing comprehensive, fresh, and in-depth content to a variety of customer audiences. The ability to upload and deliver this information quickly and efficiently will be imperative, and you’ll want to be able to do as much in-house upkeep as possible.
Our team will work with you to find the best widely-adopted CMS for the creation of your website. We will need to determine which CMS fits your needs. We are very proficient at a wide variety of widely adopted systems such as WordPress, Drupal, Expression Engine, TextPattern, Oracle, SharePoint, and Common Spot – which vary from basic to enterprise level in nature.
A word of caution, try to avoid content management systems that are not widely adopted or developed in-house by the company trying to get your business. Wide adoption allows you to avoid the “no one else knows how to use it” scenario, guaranteeing long-term CMS value that can grow and evolve with your organization. Who knows, you may want to move your business to another company, so don’t be in the unfortunate position of having to start from scratch.
Likewise, understand that (like all software) content management systems often have security vulnerabilities through which hackers may attempt to access your site. As a result, it is important to make constant monitoring a priority, upgrading as needed to mitigate any vulnerabilities. To ensure the highest level of safety possible, Mudbug Media can provide the utmost attentive care.
Ultimately, regardless of your business’ size, goals, and organizational priorities, our team can advise on the best content management system, or alternative solutions, for immediate implementation and ongoing use. A training guide and/or session can be provided for the direction of ongoing management; and, of course, if needed, you can always just give us a call. Even when an initial development project is complete, we will make ourselves available for site support and user guidance. After all, helping our clients achieve success is another part of our credo.