Monday, October 31, 2011

The CMS trap and how to avoid it

Practically every website built in the last few years includes a CMS (Content Management System). This functionality allows website owners to update themselves the content on their website. It is fantastic because it removes the dependency on the webmaster, the IT guy or the agency.

The CMS trap

Agencies developing CMS-based websites usually bill their customers for the creation and installation of a website shell, usually very pretty but devoid of content. Content creation falls into the responsibility of the website owner who does not realize the effort required. Furthermore, the owner is usually extremely busy and not skilled at web content creation. The CMS trap is that there is no longer any budget left to seek the help of content professionals because the web development agency used up all the web budget.

Then what should be done?

In order to determine an appropriate web content budget, the website strategy phase must be completed before handing out the development contract. One of the important elements of the strategy is a reasonable budget for all web components which are: the content curation, the technology infrastructure and the website shell.

When preparing the various deliverables of the strategy phase (see image above), difficult choices must be made. This is because the website ambitions are always greater than the web budget. It is therefore the task of the web strategist to adjust means and requirements. If the budget is too small for the content and functions required, then some of them must be removed or postponed to a later phase. Another approach is to justify a budget increase by identifying how the website can create value for the organization and its customers.

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