Blog Article


Picking a CMS, Part of Your Content Strategy

In the article Training a CMS by Eileen Webb on A List Apart, she talks about how to improve your content authors' chance of success by including useful information in your CMS. Eileen included some questions to consider when choosing a CMS. Let's go over those questions.

You'll also see why it is important to have a Web Developer who is experienced and understands content strategy.

The Questions (and Answers):

  • "What formats of field-level help text does the CMS Support?" (Uses Markdown, multiple formats, anything you need: paragraphs, single lines, lists)
  • "Can the instructions include HTML?" (Yes)
  • "How hard is it to update the help text?" (Easy)
  • "Can you change custom field labels used in the admin interface without affecting database queries and front-end display?" (Yes)

Defining the Problem:

Perhaps in the original web project the resources were not provided to the developer to include content strategy as part of the website build. Without the needed information and with a rushed timeline, your team agreed to simply name all your rich-text fields Body and all the fields had no editorial guidelines.

As Eileen mentions in her article, after a website is built, if your content authors had no guidelines when working in the CMS, it is easy for standards that were originally defined for the website to be forgotten. Now the website has Call To Action copy with no actions, short information areas have multiple paragraphs, and "Click here" links.

After spending money and time working on your content strategy at the beginning of your project, the CMS configuration and build didn't match what you needed.

The Solution:

A very flexible CMS is part of the solution. Craft CMS was created with the developer, designer, and end-user in mind, and it is a "makes-no-assumptions" content management system that starts with a blank slate. You can also hire a developer, like 3 Red KItes Studio, who understands and has experience with content modeling and content strategy who includes it as part of the website build.

Let me show you.

Here is a non-descript Body field on the Editing screen. What is this field for?

Here is the Body field's setting in Craft CMS. We can edit the name of the field without changing the database or template name. Instead of "Body", let's give it a label of "Important Decisive Research Information". Next, we can add instructions to help the content author. The instructions area uses Markdown. You'll be able to create paragraphs, single lines, lists, or link to additional resources if needed. Clean and easy!

Save your changes. The content author now sees an informative label for the field and great reminders as they enter their content.

That's it! It is a quick and easy way to improving the experience of using your Craft content management system.

Additional Resources:

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