Managing Your Internet Content
Many organizations and businesses face great challenges when it comes to continually keeping their sites fresh. Community-based NPO’s and groups of faith are among those who need to keep its members up to date. Whether it’s big events or small group meets, the people who most need all this updating often just can’t justify the expense.
As a solution provider, we’ve been working for years to create internet sites that these organizations can use to easily edit their sites. When blogs started appearing on the scene, our lead developer Jefte Puente of Jefte.net dug right in and showed us the logic in building sites that others can easily edit. Other sites, powered by CSS (cascading style sheets), allowed us to put simple tools in the hands of many authors, yet kept a consistant style site-wide. As a brief primer, here’s our guide, helping you choose which is right for you.
Simple html requires skill to edit. Macromedia gave us Dreamweaver (now an Adobe Product), and revolutionized the way we build sites, but using it requires considerable knowledge and skill, and a $400 investment. Training staff, often volunteers, can be a daunting task and the final result often was a site that quickly lost continuity and focus. When we design and work in simple html for a client who needs to make occasional edits, we realised we had to streamline and simplify. Today, we like to manage these kind of sites, as it saves considerable time and effort. A great example is the Tourette Society of Florida at www.tsa-fl.org
The CSS Powered Site
While we’ve been using css for years to create style sheets that set the look and feel, site-wide, it wasn’t until we focused on creating a site that others could manage that we made a breakthrough. For First United Methodist Church of Melbourne, we created a content sorting system that simply created page shells, which rarely changes, that then hold content areas. CSS still styles all our pages, but it also controls our page navigation and buttons, all fom one file. This kind of site lets users open a content file, edit it and select an “H” setting, H1, H2, H3, etc. and when they publish the area, all the styles take over.
For large organizations that need a member directory, calendar system or eCommerce hooks, we turned to long time partner Artemis. The Insite system is a platform that lets users create and edit pages. With an extensive ala carte bundling of modules, you choose which functions you need, and pay a monthly fee for the services you use. Visit the Melbourne – Palm Bay Chamber of Commerce for a good look.
The Power of Blogs
Our latest foray into the technology behind blogs has so taken us, that we’ve rebuilt all our own sites. First, we get the easiest content management system we’ve ever used. Write an article (or news release), select a category, add keywords and press publish. Syndication tools like Technorati project the piece out to anyone who cares about that subject. The net result is traffic–Search engines love the way we build these things. Visit the Longbow site for a quick view. This site, Giant3, is also built on our blog platform.
Managing your site requires effort and if you need to continually keep things fresh, it can be a real burden. From simple to blog-powered Wundersite, there’s hope out there, and it does not have to break your budget. For more info on how we can help you leverage the right platform for your organization, contact us.