New Feature: Playlist Center! Pick a topic and let our playlists guide the way.

Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Core features to research

From: CMS Fundamentals

Video: Core features to research

Although they shouldn't be the sole deciding factor, comparing features of content management systems are a logical place to start when searching for the right system. Unfortunately, people often just don't know enough about the features of a CMS to make an informed decision about what to research. In this movie, I'm going to take a closer look at the core features of a CMS that you should explore when comparing systems. First, explore how a CMS controls page management. One of the most important tasks of a content management system is the creation, organization, and management of pages.

Core features to research

Although they shouldn't be the sole deciding factor, comparing features of content management systems are a logical place to start when searching for the right system. Unfortunately, people often just don't know enough about the features of a CMS to make an informed decision about what to research. In this movie, I'm going to take a closer look at the core features of a CMS that you should explore when comparing systems. First, explore how a CMS controls page management. One of the most important tasks of a content management system is the creation, organization, and management of pages.

Sometimes it's easy to read through a system's feature set and just assume that the capabilities that you need for page management exist. For example, if you're looking at a CMS that's primarily a blogging system, you may have a hard time separating content into a page structure beyond the automated structure of a blog. In other cases, it might be hard to archive pages or restructure page hierarchies outside the default site structure. Think carefully about how your site will need to organize pages, manage them, and evolve over the life of the site. Any CMS you choose should be able to do this in an organized intuitive way that still fits your specific needs.

You also want to take a close look at how easy it is to add and modify content. How intuitive is the content editor? Is it something that clients of other team members can use intuitively. Or will it require a good deal of training before people can comfortably add content? If you need to upload content, such as images, media, HTML snippets, or other documents, how are those processes handled? Now, ideally they should be simple and should always give you options for organizing or structuring the content as it's added.

That leads me to another important feature, asset management. If your site has specific needs regarding images, video, audio, or multiple document types, you need to carefully research how a CMS manages those assets. In some cases, asset management is either rudimentary or nonexistent. Now for some sites, that's fine. However, if you need to manage PDFs, Word documents, or other document types, and make those files available to users, make sure your CMS can do this in a way that meshes with your requirements.

If you can upload assets, can you also add metadata and categorizations that make those assets easier to find and manage? Does the system have the ability to add alt tags and address other accessibility concerns? If you're building image galleries, are there automated processes for creating thumbnails and organizing images by type. Digging into these capabilities will help you ensure that you won't be working with a system that limits your abilities. Now from a design standpoint, explore how the CMS works with templates or themes. If you're a designer, you're going to want a system that allows you to easily customize the presentation of your pages.

In a larger organization, it might be more important to limit the amount of access users have to the presentation layer. In some cases, CMSs make it difficult to have multiple layouts or to switch from one layout to another. Look for systems that separate the presentation layer and generate clean, well-structured HTML that you can access and change. If you're not a designer, look for a CMS that has a large number of customizable templates or themes, and for a system that makes it simple to migrate from one theme or template to another. If you're going to have a team of content creators working on your site, take a good look at the CMS's ability to create user groups and assign roles and permissions to them.

Now, too often, CMS implementations fail because organizations have to fit their workflow into a system's limited abilities. Make sure that you pick a CMS that allows you to work as your organization will work naturally. In many cases, this might be as simple as having authors and editors, in others, this may require staging points where content is approved before publishing and includes complex roles that control this process. In short, know your team, know your processes, and find a CMS that can make them seamless.

Finally, you may want to explore whether the system you're looking at can handle multiple web sites from a single installation. For a designer, this would allow you to run and manage client web sites without needing to do a new install for every site. This can make updating installations, adding modules, and extending capabilities for your sites much easier, since you'd only have to do it once. In the case of an organization, you may want to run the company's intranet, mobile site, or a smaller branded web site from the same CMS installation. This feature is not as common in CMSs as other features, so you should carefully consider whether or not this is something that you might need now or in the future.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for CMS Fundamentals
CMS Fundamentals

44 video lessons · 23654 viewers

James Williamson
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 44s
    1. Welcome
      1m 0s
    2. What CMS means for this course
      1m 44s
  2. 22m 52s
    1. What is a CMS?
      2m 47s
    2. The evolution of CMSs
      4m 4s
    3. CMS types
      6m 7s
    4. Basic CMS capabilities
      5m 4s
    5. When is a CMS right for you?
      4m 50s
  3. 1h 23m
    1. Comparing CMSs
      4m 28s
    2. Core features to research
      4m 41s
    3. Commonly overlooked issues
      4m 12s
    4. Properly assessing needs
      4m 39s
    5. Knowing when to seek assistance
      4m 15s
    6. Choosing a CMS for designers
      4m 45s
    7. Choosing a CMS for organizations
      4m 12s
    8. The pros and cons of hosted solutions
      2m 58s
    9. Hosted solution examples
      5m 51s
    10. The pros and cons of open source solutions
      4m 36s
    11. Open source CMS examples
      7m 6s
    12. Proprietary CMSs
      7m 48s
    13. A closer look at Drupal
      5m 7s
    14. A closer look at Joomla!
      4m 0s
    15. A closer look at WordPress
      5m 33s
    16. Resources for comparing CMSs
      9m 2s
  4. 43m 58s
    1. What is an open source CMS?
      3m 4s
    2. What is a LAMP stack?
      2m 53s
    3. What are WebDAV and FTP?
      2m 39s
    4. What is MySQL?
      2m 24s
    5. WYSIWYG editors
      3m 56s
    6. Understanding users, groups, and permissions
      4m 12s
    7. What is metadata?
      5m 19s
    8. Understanding taxonomy
      3m 35s
    9. What is version control?
      4m 23s
    10. What are themes and templates?
      3m 30s
    11. What is SEO?
      4m 42s
    12. What are web analytics?
      3m 21s
  5. 36m 31s
    1. Content management as a process
      4m 38s
    2. Properly defining roles
      5m 3s
    3. Planning a content strategy
      4m 1s
    4. The importance of taxonomy
      5m 7s
    5. Controlling content lifecycle
      6m 22s
    6. Challenges for CMS migrations
      3m 45s
    7. Steps for migrating content
      4m 16s
    8. Avoiding distractions
      3m 19s
  6. 2m 24s
    1. Additional resources
      2m 24s

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.