CMS Implementation Key Steps

By Kathleen Long, Senior Consultant, Digital Experience on Aug. 13, 2014 View Comments

CMS implementation

For many, the mere thought of implementing a content management system (CMS) seems daunting. But while CMS implementation can be varied and overwhelming, the juice is worth the squeeze. A CMS can:

• Simplify website updates
• Organize your content
• Accelerate business processes

Solid content, well-defined technology, and a team with all the right players can lessen your burden and make implementation more manageable.

 

Step 1 – Organize your website content

It helps to think about a CMS project in the same way you might approach a home project that involves organizing something tangible, such as a pantry, a closet, or a garage. The natural tendency is to categorize the food, clothing, boxes or tools that live in those storage areas, consequently eliminating anything that’s spoiled, out-of-style, or no longer used. This is the same approach you’ll use to organize your website content.

Warning: There’s a common misconception that CMS technology will automatically organize and categorize website content for you. This incorrect assumption leads many people away from focusing on content as a starting point. But it’s up to you to work with your CMS web design team to create your information architecture - i.e., categorize your content and make sure your users can find it. After all, content is king on your website - it’s why your visitors visit, and it’s why they stay (or leave).

Step 2 – Build the right team for CMS implementation

Here are some of the key people you’ll need on any new CMS web design implementation.

  1. A SME: Consider yourself the SME (subject matter expert), since you are the one who knows your digital content and your users best.
  2. Information Architect: An information architect will help you with content prioritization, placement, and categorization, ultimately resulting in a well-designed website that’s easy for users to navigate.
  3. Developers: Now you’ve got someone to architect your information, but what about the technology for the actual system itself? The same way someone built shelves to store your cereal or racks to hang your shirts, there is also a team of builders who size and create your digital content storage spaces with you in mind. When implementing a CMS solutions, a technical team of developers and architects will also figure out what’s needed based on your categories of content to include text, graphics, videos, content derived from other systems, as well as any interactive forms and applications.
  4. Project Manager: A healthy, successful CMS project is only possible with a strong project manager in place to ensure rollout occurs on-time, on-budget and most importantly, to your satisfaction.

Step 3: Develop a Maintenance Plan & Processes

Now that your content, team, and technology is in place, how do you maintain your CMS and this new level of content organization?

In our home project scenario, we derive a sense of satisfaction by comparing “before” and “after” scenarios. For example, that hallway closet that was once packed with boxes and tools actually has some utility now - you can fit your guests’ coats and jackets! And you know you’ll maintain this standard because you’ve decided to purge your closets at least twice a year.

How does maintenance work for a CMS? Your content is organized, your team is in place and the technology suits your needs.

You’ll need to coordinate effective processes within your company to support your new digital content solution. For example, you might assemble a group of digital content managers who write, edit, approve, and update content, text, graphics, and video on a regular basis. And what about the technology? Constant communication is key in supporting CMS website design & development; implementation is just the beginning! Regular meetings with developers, project managers and information architects will ensure the system is running smoothly and will also serve as a forum to discuss new ideas and possible upgrades.

We’re big fans of applying an Agile framework to projects like this, asking for continual feedback and making incremental improvements along the way. Keep your CMS projects evergreen by adhering to Agile development best practices.

Are you ready for a to CMS website design project? Start organizing your digital closet today!

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Posted in: Web Design & Development