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CMS Fundamentals

Knowing when to seek assistance


From:

CMS Fundamentals

with James Williamson

Video: Knowing when to seek assistance

One of the most common questions people ask themselves as they begin researching content management systems is, can I do this myself or am I going to need some help? Now bringing in outside consultants or developers can be extremely helpful in migrating to a CMS, and in many cases can ease the time required for the transition to a CMS-based workflow. It's also quite possible that you or your organization can adopt a CMS on your own without the additional expense of a developer. So how do you know which category you fall in to? Let's take a look some of the things that you should consider when deciding on whether or not to use outside help.
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  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

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CMS Fundamentals
3h 11m Beginner Apr 06, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In CMS Fundamentals, James Williamson defines content management systems (CMSs) and explains their role in web site development. The course demonstrates the different CMS solutions available today, including WordPress, Drupal, and Joomla; reviews CMS terminology and best practices; and shows how to develop a content management strategy. Guidelines are also included for evaluating a potential CMS, whether hosted or self-hosted, open source or proprietary, and choosing a CMS based on a specific need or focus.

Topics include:
  • Defining and understanding a CMS
  • Understanding taxonomy
  • Assessing an organization or company's needs
  • Comparing content management systems
  • Planning a content strategy
  • Controlling content lifecycle
  • Migrating between CMSs
  • Understanding users, groups, and permissions
  • Using web analytics
Subjects:
Web CMS Web Foundations
Author:
James Williamson

Knowing when to seek assistance

One of the most common questions people ask themselves as they begin researching content management systems is, can I do this myself or am I going to need some help? Now bringing in outside consultants or developers can be extremely helpful in migrating to a CMS, and in many cases can ease the time required for the transition to a CMS-based workflow. It's also quite possible that you or your organization can adopt a CMS on your own without the additional expense of a developer. So how do you know which category you fall in to? Let's take a look some of the things that you should consider when deciding on whether or not to use outside help.

Now obviously your technical skills or the skills of your team are going to be the main thing to consider when deciding whether to seek assistance or not. If you're the type of developer that's comfortable in the code base environment of the CMS you choose--now whether that's .NET, PHP, Perl or any other scripting language--and you're equally comfortable with HTML, CSS and JavaScript, you should be able to handle setting up and administering your CMS with no problem at all. Of course if you're rather technophobic, the initial install and set up of your CMS might be something that you won't to seek help with.

This is going to vary greatly based on the CMS that you choose. Now some systems are designed to be easy to set up and administer, even for those that don't have a high degree of technical proficiency; others require a bit more attention to detail and require specialized skills in order to get them working the way that you intend. In the end balance your technical skills against the requirements of your CMS. This will give you a pretty good idea of whether or not you're going to need some help. You also want to consider how long you have before you need to be productive in the CMS.

If you have the luxury of learning at your own pace or setting up an internal site that you can perfect before going live with it, you might have the time required to get up to speed on the CMS before using it commercially. Just be sure to be honest about how long it's going to take you to become proficient in the CMS. Always allow for more time and expect there to be some bumps along the way. Now if on the other hand, you have a client or a management staff that needs the functionality right away, you shouldn't hesitate to hire an outside developer to help you set up and walk you through the proper way to configure and use the CMS.

If you have the budget, this approach can greatly lower the learning curve required when adopting a CMS, and it ensures that you're doing things the right way. Paying a professional to help you learn your way around the CMS and make sure it's set up correctly can save you a ton of money in the long run. This is also a perfect time to dispel one of the most persistent myths about content management systems. Over and over and over I've heard that a CMS is a perfect way for a non-technical person to set up and run a complex site.

This type of marketing spin is the direct reason that so many organizations turn to a team of content creators, buy or download them a CMS, and then express disappointment when the outcome is less than ideal. The fact of the matter is that you need to be a web professional in order to properly configure, customize, or manage a CMS. If you work in an organization with content creators, editors, and administrators, but really no web professionals, you are either going to need to hire web designers and developers to manage your CMS or contract a development team to oversee the technical part of the process.

Of course, instead of going that route, you can always choose a hosted solution, or a proprietary CMS that has a dedicated development team behind it to assist you along the way. We're going to talk more about those options a little bit later on. It's also up to you to decide at what stage of your CMS development that you want to bring in assistance. You could engage a consultant to assist you in your search for the proper CMS, help you set it up once you have selected it, or help to extend or customize it once it's installed. If you bring in a consultant to assist you in your search, make sure that you select one that has a broad range of experience with various content management systems.

You will want to make sure someone is giving you a recommendation based on your needs rather than the way they just prefer to work. Now just as it's important to take the time to assess your needs before choosing a CMS, you should also honestly assess your internal skill sets in order to make the correct call when deciding on engaging outside help.

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