It makes great sense to manage the content of own website, so naturally you want to introduce a Content Management System (CMS) to help you maintain your site without the daily interaction of your website designer.

There is however a delicate balance to be maintained here.

Compromises

If you ask for an entire website to be content managed, you will have to pay more for the initial development of this type of website.

Content managed websites are naturally more complicated to engineer and develop than non-content managed sites as the website needs to know which content goes where as well as provide you with a suitable interface to manage the content within the bounds of the design.

There may be some compromises in the site design as the website may have to take into account unknowns such as the number of pages in a navigation menu, or the length of pages of textual content.

If your website can add and remove pages, the navigation may have to be vertical so that it can cope if you add 17 more pages. A horizontal menu just couldn’t cope with this as websites seldom stretch width-ways neatly.

Development vs. maintenance

What you need to ask yourself when asking for a content managed website is “What do I want to manage?”

Many people say everything by default, but ask yourself “do you really want to manage every single page?”

Remember, you are going to pay for this extra development initially and if you then only manage the content of those pages once in a blue moon, you may have been better making those pages more static and using an ad-hoc arrangement with your website designer as and when you need to change a particular page.

For example: Your company history page isn’t going to change every week. It’s likely that this will only change every couple of years, so you are better off having this page not controlled by the CMS and not wasting money having something engineered that you are not going to use. It will work out cheaper if you just ask your designer to look after this page every couple of years for you. If it’s just a quick text change, most designers won’t even charge you (Clarke Design usually don’t)

What you should be adding into your content management system, is content that changes often.

Prices, offers, news, articles, announcements, products, services – are all examples of items within your website that you, as a business owner, should be changing often to keep your website dynamic, relevant and current.

You don’t want to be calling up your website designer and asking them to change the price of your widgets from £7.50 to £9.99 (and no offence, but we website designers don’t want you doing this either). The response time for this small change won’t be instant from your designer, so make sure that you get the things that will change often into your content management system.

It’s all about compromise when designing a content managed site. So before you ask for ‘everything’, just take a few moments to determine what you do and do not need managed. You’ll get a more affordable system if you do this and won’t end up paying for something that you don’t use.