Absolute control over every detail of your CMS might be what you think you’ll get once your digital project is built and handed over to you. And in the recent past, that would have been more likely. But, actually, how desirable is having total authority over content and its appearance? As every Spider-Man fan knows, with great power comes great responsibility. In the case of content management, it can definitely mean too much responsibility.
For a website whose content rarely changes, having too much or too little control over that content isn’t a big deal either way. Editors with a lot of control can manipulate the page to look exactly the way they want, populate it with its content, and that’s that. But such pages are becoming fewer and fewer.
Website users increasingly expect an experience tailored to their behaviour, which requires pages that surface content based on their actions and queries. Additionally, the business landscape is moving ever faster. Companies need to be able to respond to changes in their offer with new web pages quickly. And new content channels.
Running through the fields
Taking some of the content management responsibility off your plate can help keep all those balls in the air without sacrificing design integrity or brand alignment. You can think of it as just another way of delegating work from a managerial perspective. Your web technology agency can take on some of that onus by locking down page templates for your most frequently created page types (product and service pages, perhaps), and by creating content fields to be used on them.
Content fields allow you to set parameters on the backend so that blocks of content that get used again and again only need to be formatted once. When you want to create new content in that style, you choose that field for the page you’re making, fill in your content, and it is pushed onto the frontend with the parameters in place—character limits, branding colours and fonts for text, for example.
Flip the channel
Coupling content fields with page templates doesn’t limit your ability to create new and exciting content on the fly. And it doesn’t even limit your ability to generate original page types and drive new initiatives. What it does do is keep your most used page types and content types consistent in appearance and on-brand with minimal managerial effort on the part of your team.
It also means that the same content can get pushed onto different channels without the need for duplicating the data. That is, you don’t need a separate database containing all the same details in order to display the same information on a different frontend design on a mobile device versus a desktop. You can use the same content field with a new design template. That means less in storage requirements.
New approaches to CMS are making this easier all the time, including headless CMS such as Kentico Kontent, which completely decouples content creation and storage from the frontend view. And as more platforms implement MVC technology, which keeps the development of the database and the frontend separate, handing over some content control will become standard—and smart.
If you’d like to talk more about how content management is affecting your business, get in touch with Ben.