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Don Schindler

Executive Reputation Coach & Digital Marketer

Tag: conductor

What’s the right web content management system (CMS) for you?

Too Many Choices (courtesy of Pinto and the Bean) This is a tough question for most communicators. Sometimes it’s because they are unfamiliar with the technical aspects of a CMS. Sometimes it’s because there are too many choices out there. At ND, we have tons of different CMSes and it’s difficult to know which one will be the right one to choose. I know because I’ve had to help them make the choice before – for my past clients and for current clients.

So what are some good questions to ask yourself when you are picking your CMS?  I’ve got five questions that you should answer before buying one.

1. How easy is it to use?

This may seem like a silly question but if you want other people than yourself to put content on your website (which you should – there should never be a bottleneck of one content person), the CMS better we crazy easy to use. It should be “log in”, “select the page”, and “type into the content”, then “save” or “publish”. If you make it too hard or give people too many bells and whistles available, they won’t login again and they won’t help you load content.

BTW, if you have a system where only one person in your office can use the system at a time – that’s not good. Make sure the interface is easy and clear for someone who doesn’t play on the internet all day.

2. What are special content needs for my website?

We get this a lot.  People want a website but don’t know exactly what they’ll put in it.  You’ll save yourself and your team a ton of time, money and frustration if you just do some homework and get your content together first.

This way you’ll get a really, really (that’s two reallys) good understanding of what content is for your audiences. If you don’t have a good idea of the content, then you need to stop your CMS buying process and go back to the whiteboard. Laying out all your content will help inform your decision the best.

Well, what if you don’t know what all your content is.  What do you ask yourself to help you find all your content.  Here’s what I do.

Write down all the content you currently have, what it is and where it is. Text, video, photos, audio, pdfs or word documents, etc…  Is digital or in hard copy form?

Once you have it all down, think of how you’ll want to display it.

When it comes to video, do I want to use YouTube and embed it on the page or do I want people to download them and play them locally on their machine (I don’t recommend this)?

When it comes to photos, do I want to have them access to my flickr account? Do I want a photo gallery where they can see all the photos on my website? Do I want to make a slideshow? Or maybe display all photos in a lightbox?  What is best practice for displaying a photo?

Do I want to people to be able to download my presentations or embed them on the page using something like Slideshare or Speakerdeck?

Do I want an automatic news feed so I don’t have to index news items? Do I want it to be shared with other sites on campus? Do I want an RSS feed?

What about events? Do I want events to be auto archived after the event is over? Can calender.nd.edu sync with my website? Do I want it to be easily shared to social media?

Speaking of social media, how will I handle social media pages on my website? Can I get an feed from my twitter? Do I want people to see my Linkedin company profile, etc…

What about forms? How will people contact me through the website? Can they sign up of a newsletter? Do I want to have a newsletter? (Which I recommend)

What we usually find is that people make a selection of a CMS without really looking through the content or structure or audience or any of that. This should be done before you move forward.

3. Is the code up to standards? Continue reading

Why do websites need a content management system? I’ll give you four reasons.

Yes, I know I have issues with this. I really dislike websites not built with a content management system.

Why?

  1. Because you’ll always need a webmaster. This was a good job to have a few years ago because you would be the only person who had the keys to website.  You were the gatekeeper. If anyone wanted to change anything including just text, they had to go to you, the person with the knowledge of how the website was built. That is unacceptable in my book and for this day and age.
  2. Because you don’t know how people will be visiting your website. Mobile traffic is up everywhere. Do you really understand all the different browsers and how your website will look in them? It’s not worth your time to adjust, adjust and re-adjust just to get two pictures to line up on your website while looking through Firefox, Google, Safari and the dreaded Microsoft Internet Explorer.  Whoops, I forgot all the mobile browsers.  Better check those, too.
  3. Because you should be spending time on your content. You are a content producer (you write paragraphs, produce graphs, answer questions, maybe make a video. Stop worrying about how to deliver it to the internet. With a content management system, you can easily add all these things without fighting how to code it. Continue reading

5 Reasons Why You Should Not Be Using Webfile to Publish Your Web Site in Dreamweaver

dreamweaver logo

Dreamweaver is not the answer

Does anyone have a doubt that the web is a very different animal then it was ten years ago, five years ago, two years ago?

Campus has changed quite a bit in that time – just look around at the new buildings, new roads, new football coach…again. But you are still struggling with Dreamweaver and Contribute, then you are doing it wrong.

Dreamweaver was a great tool back in the day. It helped us build lots of sites but it’s not the answer now. We’ve grown up, moved along and now we take the web very seriously – as the university should – and we don’t offer any Dreamweaver help (except to get you out of it) and we dislike dealing with Contribute tremendously.

So why should you get out of Dreamweaver?

  1. Dreamweaver doesn’t build clean code. The code that it dumps into your website slows the user down. Why do that? Conductor and WordPress have much better code and it’s updated all the time to make it better. Continue reading

Are You Struggling With Using WebFile to Publish Your Web Site in Contribute?

Using Contribute To Publish Your Website

Frustrated? Stop using Contribute and use Conductor or a Blog

Do you need help with Contribute? Can you not access your web site because it was built using Contribute?

We get lots of these types of questions dealing with Contribute everyday. We struggled and continue to struggle with Contribute as well. The keys won’t work. It’s hard to manage. No one ever remembers the netID that was used to set up the web site.  The software upgrade skipped a few upgrades and now the web site won’t work with Contribute CS4.

Maybe it’s time to just move on. Contribute was the prime way to get a website built on campus a few years ago but that’s not the case anymore.

AgencyND has built two different platforms that make it easy to get your web site up on the internet.

  1. Conductor – web content management system
  2. WordPress Blogs at ND – blogging tool and web content management system

And both of them are controlled by your netID and you don’t need to know HTML to use them. How great is that? Continue reading

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