Does Your Company Have a Content Manager?
Does your company have a Content Manager?
With Content Management Systems (CMS) Websites becoming the most popular websites on the Internet today, a new skillset within your organization is now required to manage your website. Ladies and Gentlemen – Introducing – “The Content Manager.”
“But we are a small business – we can’t afford a Content Manager!”
OK – don’t panic. Generally every small (and large) business has a Content Manager lurking within. If you have had a website for any length of time – then you most likely have a Content Manager. The Content Manager is the person responsible for updating the content of your website. With the new class of Content Management Systems, updating your website is very similar to using a publishing or MS Word-like writing tool, making it very easy to use.
“OK – tell me again – What Exactly is a Content Management System?”
A Content Management System is a website that is a web-based computer program (or series of programs) that allow the actual content of the website to be updated directly through an administration tool. The Administration is accessed through a web browser so there is no need for additional software. Content can include text, images, online shops, events, photo galleries and even menus, modules, and templates – pending the human web content manager’s expertise. The truth of the matter is the Content Management System has (and will) replace the traditional webmaster’s role of updating the website.
“Awesome – we no longer need a webmaster!”
There is no doubt that the requirement of having a webmaster for web content management is certainly going to disappear from the landscape long term. That doesn’t mean your webmaster won’t be supporting your CMS system as a whole, or providing technical and educational support on using the CMS – but the actual process of updating the web content should definitely fall into the hands of your content manager. The interesting thing is that the company was always the provider of content to start with – something that to this day remains confusing.
“Content should always originate with the Website Owner!”
During my time as a webmaster to date we have developed close to 100 websites. We have worked with our clients (once their sites were developed) and managed and supported approximately 20 websites per annum. When you work with this many clients you develop methods of obtaining client content and helping the client establish the content they need for their website. You also see what the best methods are. When designing a new website, content can be overlooked or at best be underestimated. When the development is very focused on the look of the site, it is easy for both the owner and developer to assume content can be easily created and populated at development time.
During this process, it became obvious to me who the content expert was – the website owner, of course! My role was to collaborate with that expert. With that, I would iterate that no webmaster is going to be able to create (or copy) content as well as the client who knows his or her industry. A collaborative effort (in which the design company works closely with the web client) ALWAYS produces the strongest websites. And a good design then creates the format to maintain that content in the future.
“So, CMS Systems Make Absolute Sense!”
With the fact that the best content always comes from the client, you can really see why CMS Systems are so popular. The client knows the information he wants to add or update on his website – he understand what his web visitors, clients and prospects will be focusing on when they visit his website – and of course if his website is designed well, it will be a very manageable job to update the website content. There is no doubt that the speed of being able to update your website makes CMS very attractive, and the fact that you can update your website from anywhere in the world (even from Australia…) is really outstanding in my book.
“So, what kind of person makes a good Content Manager?”
The Content Manager can be anyone in your company who shows an aptitude for using computer programs such as Word, Excel, Publisher, and Outlook – and is involved with the communications of the organization – which may be Public Relations, Human Resources, Sales & Marketing, or Corporate Communications. Generally, it should be a person who has strong communications skills and works well with staff members. Of course, if you are a one man shop, then you would add this skill to your already long list of skillsets that are part of being a small business owner. In fact, a lot of small business owners developed their own sites in the early days, so CMS combined with a great looking website is probably a dream come true!
“And the company reduces its cost of managing the website?!”
With a person responsible for updating your website content (that ain’t the jolly ole webmaster), most companies will also see a reduction in the month to month costs of managing their website. When my company BeareWare was managing the content for clients, our average client cost was $125.00 per month. Today we still have some clients that we manage content for, but the majority are now updating their own content and pay between $30.00 – $50.00 per month for hosting and technical support (once the website is designed and developed). That is significant to a small business – and the results are a great looking website that is up to date and well within a small business budget.
In summary, I will add that the migration and learning curve in becoming a Content Manager varies from client to client. But the model is sound and here to stay. The CMS system also reinforces how important the design of the website is – as the design will not be changed while managing the content. The design must sparkle at all times. And like most things in the tech world you have to have a positive approach to learning and working with your website. This is something we try to promote heavily with all our clients in reinforcing that their investment in knowledge and understanding of their website (and participation) will be a sound business decision. And today – a great investment will be made in identifying your company’s future Content Manager!
Peter Beare – Webmaster
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Peter Beare is CEO of BeareWare, a Website Design & Development Company located just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. Since building his first website for a local sports club in 1998 Peter has been a webmaster. Over the years Peter’s duties with BeareWare have included strategic website planning, design and development, website marketing and sales, as well as database application programming & project management. But when all is said and done, Peter is still primarily a webmaster. And this is “Interview with a Webmaster.”