Easy content management is key to a functional Web site

Last updated on May 13th, 2019 at 02:33 pm

Bulky corporate Web sites that feature multiple department pages, features or languages are difficult to manage or update and are difficult for prospective customers to navigate.
The solution is an effective content management system (CMS).
"The focus of a Web site is to make the experience better for customers. In our case, it is citizens and businesses," said Randy Gschwind, chief information officer for the City of Milwaukee. "This is an important distinction, because traditional Web sites focused on how the business wanted to organize their information. The focus now is on how the customers see the information and how easy it is to find the information they need."
A CMS cuts out the middleman by enabling employees who may not know HTML code to update portions of the site they are directly involved in. This can be crucial for a client such as the City of Milwaukee, which has many departments within the city government. With a CMS, the site can be updated immediately.
Before CMS was available to the lay person, city departments sent updated information to a Web developer who would then translate the copy into a Web format. In some cases, the process took days to complete.
However, a quality CMS usually comes with a steep price tag. Some high-end CMS products such as Vignette, Eprise and BroadVision can cost up to $250,000, said Patrick Bieser, president of Northwoods Software Development Inc.
Bieser says his company can provide a new, more affordable, but equally effective CMS option.
In November, Northwoods launched Titan CMS, the third version of a content management solution that has been in continuous development for seven years. Northwoods recently moved to 4600 W. Schroeder Rd., Brown Deer, to accommodate the company’s recent and anticipated future growth.
The Titan CMS is now being used by the City of Milwaukee and the Wauwatosa School District.
"’Content is King,’ is the saying in Web development. It is not the first Web site visit you care about. It is the second visit, the third visit and all of the rest," said Keith Murphy, Web architect and media supervisor for the Wauwatosa School District. "People do not visit a Web site because it has a cool Flash application or some animation on it, but because they can find the lunch menu, the bus schedule and homework assignments. They come back because they know the site is where they can find the information."
Both Gschwind and Murphy have implemented the Titan CMS to manage the contents of their sites and said the product has cut down on maintenance and management for the organizations.
Murphy was able to pull a pool of eight school districts in the Milwaukee County area together to split the cost of the Titan CMS and maintain separate Web sites at the same time.
Each district’s Web site has a similar standard code that Titan CMS works through, Murphy said.
"Previously we had a couple hundred teacher Web sites that were non-standard and were whatever the teacher wanted to create," Murphy said. "The Web sites were all of different quality, and CMS allows us to standardize and professionalize the sites."
Titan CMS starts at $18,000 and includes features such as the abilities to track work flow and to share, search and co-brand content.
"We are also in the process of working with Milwaukee County and Northwoods in integrating the city and county for a combined Web site," Gschwind said. "(Citizens) will be able to go through the same portal and find information through a single Web site. CMS lets you integrate information from a number of portals, whether it is departments within an organization or different governments."
Northwoods designed Titan CMS to be handled easily by an internal technology staff member or a third-party information technology manager.
Northwoods also offers to host Web sites and leaves the updating of content to a client’s staff.
Titan CMS allows a user to copy and paste text from a word file into the program and converts it for the user while keeping the same format, Murphy said.
"For a non-trivial Web site that is beyond a brochure, contains more than 50 pages and changes frequently, we can fit pricing that can be attractive to people," Bieser said. "We are happy to come in and start from scratch. We will be the best at that solution, and if you take the time to look, we will be head and shoulders above nationally comparable solutions."
Elizabeth Geldermann is a reporter for Small Business Times. Send technology news to her at elizabeth.geldermann@biztimes.com or by calling her at (414) 277-8181, ext. 121. Technology news can also be sent to: Elizabeth Geldermann, Small Business Times, 1123 N. Water St., Milwaukee, WI 53202.
January 7, 2005, Small Business Times, Milwaukee, WI

Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

No posts to display