support rapid updating of content, changes in Search Engine Marketing, and syndication of content. One of the core indicators of a well-architected CMS, in fact, is the separation of Design, Content, and Information Architecture. Put another way, the layout of a page is independent of the content on it, which is independent of the organization of pages. While there is much focus on getting the CMS to support the content strategies of now and the future, next to none goes into supporting the Brand strategies of the future.
After a project was laid on me in the eleventh hour which had to be delivered in the twelfth, I found myself madly trying to educate myself on a foreign subject. The project and the subject doesn’t really matter. What mattered to me was collecting enough data for me to deliver it on time. Google performed beautifully; but a lot of the sites failed. Why? Pop-ups.
Of course, they aren’t the pop-ups of years past, they’re “modal windows” or “lightboxes”. You’ve all seen them. You visit a page, the background fades to grey, and a simple little window automagically springs into existence. Sometimes they asked me to register. Sometimes it was a sales pitch. The reason didn’t matter. I was there to get content. And now you’ve covered it up and forced me to click on something to get to it.
One of the biggest problems that I’ve found working in the web industry is that outsiders don’t really get what a corporate website is all about. It’s not just about HTML, a really good design, or content. I’m finding that too many young businesses, or immature older ones, think one web designer is all it takes to put together a website. So I’m going to attempt to describe in under 1,000 words what should go into a website. The key word here is should.
I’m beginning the first in a series of posts call the CMS diaries. I’m a contractor for a very large and reputable organization which is launching a new website very soon.I was brought in specifically to serve as the business analyst for the web content management system. As exciting as that might sound, it isn’t. In the wonderful, wide, world of the web – the CMS is the dullest part. The guy who does your CMS is the accountant for Greenday. There’s no chance of being hip, cool, or creative. At best, he can say that he’s the reason American Idiot was 99 cents a song. Regardless, I will sexify the incredibly boring and forgotten part of your web redesign: The Web Content Management System.
Believe it or not, the first person to teach me how to write a program was my mother. Our first computer was a Commodore 64 – and she was a pro at that thing. She has a bachelor’s in English and a Master’s in Reading; not who you’d expect to master BASIC in the early 80’s. In the days before the internet, she did some old-fashioned research, tracked down some books, and experimented a lot with programming until she was ready to teach it in a classroom a few years later. She wrote math programs for me, and she even taught me how to program by giving me the same rules she shared with her classroom, which I’ll share with you.
Not too long ago I had a conversation with a graphic designer who was tasked with designing a website. Web Design was out of her area of immediate expertise, and she asked me if I had anything that I could share with her. After I sent her my email, I realized that I’ve said this before — and I’ll probably say it again. So, in case my mother, or anyone else, asks my thoughts on how to design a website, here are seven rules that I’ll mouth off.
I read, a lot. here’s some recommended reading for those who want to learn more about the web. Some of these speak more to designers, others speak more to the web business owner. Either way, if you want some bright ideas for the web, here’s where I get mine.
Designers and clients come from two different worlds. Two very different worlds; they speak different languages, have different cultures, and can easily get into a fight with each other. Usually, the only thing they’ll have in common is that they both own businesses. With completely different languages, experiences and areas of expertise, it’s hard to make sure you can both walk away from a project completely happy. So let’s talk about four questions you can ask each other to make sure that you get the job done well.
Not every web project needs a web designer or developer. Sometimes all you need a consultant. Whether it’s budget limitations or the fact that you already have the resources, sometimes you’re better served by a designer’s opinion than his work. If you let a web designer act as a consultant, it can actually be great for both parties. He gets the freedom of telling you exactly what he thinks, and you get the choice of listening or doing it your own way.
That’s right, you’re not a Social Media Expert. No one is. I know this contradicts most online marketers’ resumés, but it’s the truth. I don’t deny that there are Social Media analysts, gurus, and students of the field, but I think calling yourself an expert is a bit over-the-top.