View Full Version : Content Management Systems

08-10-2004, 01:45 AM
Vicky, I posted this in another thread for you but decided it might be easier for you to notice here.

Sorry guys, my mundane life has taken over lately, and I've been buried in what little free time I have with trying to figure out the Gotmead re-write. Should I put it into a content management system, and what will that do to my Google ranking, or should I laboriously re-code the whole thing by hand, and maybe save the ranking?

Meanwhile, I am backlogged about 6 months on updates, so I'm just trying to catch up. Sorry about not being around much, I haven't even had time to rack my own batches lately!


I deal with this problem every day at work and I must say that every day I am frustrated by the restrictions our content editors bring to the table, especially in the head section of the documents, which the ones we have almost completely restrict access to.

I came to my job with web design experience and, being forced to use content editors, I must say that I find them to be too restricting for comfort, and prone to errors. Granted, I know nothing about the one you plan to use.

I hope that helps. Please let me know if you have any questions about my experiences.

08-10-2004, 04:42 AM
Hey Vicky,

I come at it from a different perspective. While I was working at two large financial institutions in Downtown LA we felt that the need for content management was absolute for the following reasons.

1. Brand recognition - we needed a consistant immage and message with consistant content to support them.

2. Corporate culture - a large part of the attraction for our clients was the "corporate culture" and the attitude, mentality and ethic of the corporation in dealing with its clients, partners, investors and employees.

3. Mission and goals - again this points to consistant content and the re-enforcement of the mission of the companies and the goals. The content needed to be delivered in such a manner as to consistantly and effectively communicate that the mission and goals were not just a plaque upon the wall that we pointed to during interiviews and orientation.

4. First contact - we wanted our portals to engage both current clients and potential investors alike. In a very large sense our Investment Officers were directly responsible for that because they are what generally attracted the high dollar investors. Having the content monitored and influenced by the prime attraction of our company, rather than the design time was key to the sites success stories.

Those were the basic reasons, and certainly not the only reasons for going with a content management system. During the time that I worked for both companies we really had to reign in the design team. Not that the work was bad, on the contrary it was excellent design, presentation and publishing work. However, it was not fully reflective of what the Corporate Management Team wanted, and one of the reasons they got me involved.

Content management systems can be a blessing or a curse, depending on how you implement them and allow them to serve up your content. If you intend to use a content management system, I would suggest that your first orders of business are to have a strong business and financial plan for Gotmead.com inplace well before you decide on a system. Also be prepared for a level of discipline in development and publishing that may not yet be there. If you work well within the lines, it shouldn't be a problem, if you like to be a lot more flexible then content management may not necessarily be the way to go.

Hope that helps,


08-10-2004, 05:10 AM
It also depends on the system. The ones we are use to are prone to errors and, to someone like me who is use to having 100% control of the pages I work on, very restrictive.

Content Management Systems are all different. Ours are usually called something like "Content Editors". They have a Microsoft Word-esque interface and have a button at the bottom to toggle between a WYSIWYG mode and html mode, which is great for someone who knows html. However, ours are very restrictive in the sense that the only thing displayed in the editor is what is within the BODY tags of the document, minus the body tag itself. This can be very frustrating if I want to, say, change the background color of the entire site (normally done in the body tag), or input javascript that would normally go in the head section. Also, sometimes there is CSS present in the editor that causes errors that you can't get to. Like if a link is the wrong color and for some reason you can't fix it, even if you edit the html. In a case of adding this kind of javascript, you often have to ask the company in charge of the system for help, which is exactly what they want. Then they might bill you! :o

Another huge factor is how much the user knows. For a big company where the users have limited knowledge about Web Design, a Content Editor can be a blessing. But this is where it ends IMHO. I don't know how much Vicky knows but she mentioned on her site that she is a web designer, and to be able to do as much as she has to gotmead, she must be pretty knowledgable. If she is going to be the only one working on the site, she might eventually feel like ripping the training wheels off.

Sorry for talking your ear off. This is just the basis for my opinion.

One last thing. Content editors are often introduced by companies that want you to depend on them, that's the point of it all. If you sign up for it, it might be hard to break away from it. It is their way of controlling things. I never liked the idea of being dependent on a third party...

08-10-2004, 05:52 AM
From my perspective the need for content management systems in the corporate world is reflected in the boom and availabiltiy of content management systems.

The companies that I have worked for have excellent design teams and technical staff who are completely capable of turning out some very fine products in their own right. However, the need was very apparent need to take control of the content and publishing efforts which were being done at that time by the designers, web-weavers and design team. The need for a publishing schedule, quality assurance, migration process was very apparent. We implemented Vignette which can get as granular as you want to get when it comes to serving up your content.

Again, to me, content management is more of a corporate tool to be used in a competitive corporate environment. I'm sure there are plenty of designers our there that hate the insulation they experience at the hands of a content manager. In my experience getting design teams to adhere to a schedule in a corporate environment is very difficult, but not impossible, and a content manager is a vast help in this respect.


Vicky Rowe
08-10-2004, 08:48 AM
Well, to tell the truth, I've played around with several of the open source content management systems out there, from Nuke to PHPWebsite to Mambo, and so far I tend to fall on the side of them being too restrictive. I can't get the design I want to work in there, and frankly, there are too many errors cropping up.

My goal now is to develop a 3-column, liquid, CSS driven site that will allow me to make global changes easily, while letting me keep creative control. So I'm researching *that* now. I've been messing with CSS for a while, but hadn't really buckled down and *learned* it, rather I was playing with pre-designed CSS layouts, and backwards engineering them (which is how I learned HTML, PHP and mySQL, so I guess it works).

So, Gotmead is going to have a whale of a CSS behind it, and still have all the content you know and love. It will then still be search engine friendly (which was another big fear with CMS), and I'll just find or make some more scripts to handle some of the bigger messes, like the recipes and the meadery list. Right now, I've a recipe DB I like and am modifying. And I *really* need a mod that will let me list the meaderies better.

I want to be able to not only list and search by name, address and such, but also to list their products, their volume, and perhaps a small comment field. So far, a tool for that has eluded me, and I simply don't have time to write one.

So, if you know of a tool to handle that, let me know!

Vicky - plotting and planning

08-11-2004, 01:13 AM
My goal now is to develop a 3-column, liquid, CSS driven site that will allow me to make global changes easily, while letting me keep creative control. So I'm researching *that* now.

Vicky you might already be familiar with this, but you might want to try Macromedia Dreamweaver. It's a WYSIWYG html editor that is very very popular. It might be right up your ally, it saves alot of time. Also, it adds fast, creative control over css and javascript, especially the newer versions.

08-11-2004, 03:32 AM
That's an excellent suggestion Norsk!

I use DreamweaverMX2K4 and it is an excellent tool. There is a special CSS editor in the version listed above.

There are also pretty considerable resources available on the Macromedia website (Dreamweaver extensions), along with the usenet Macromedia groups, and alt Dreamweaver newsgroups.


08-11-2004, 03:38 AM
I really need to update my version. I'm still using Dreamweaver 4. ;D :o

08-11-2004, 03:46 AM

MX2K4 rocks out loud. You should get it!


Vicky Rowe
08-11-2004, 10:13 AM
Yeah, the main reason I haven't switched from Homesite to DW is that I'm gathering cash to buy the new one. I've got MX right now.....

08-12-2004, 03:01 AM
The user interface has matured somewhat from MX to MX2K4 but the differences are pretty easy to deal with. The tools are arranged differently and in some cases are klunky, but in other cases are more elegant.

I suppose it is the case with any evolution of an application that the simple act of adding features affects or excludes others. Ah symmetry, where would be be without it! LOL