18 CMS best practices for multiple content administrators

Mike Erlindson

We have considerable experience working with CMS best practices particularly for sites with multiple content administrators. One of our clients, Centennial College, for example, has over 100 content administrators. The best practices below are based on our key learning’s from working on multiple CMS projects over the past 12 years.

New York Times Newsroom 1942

New York Times Newsroom 1942. This image is used under public domain available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3c12969.

  1. Ensure content is aligned with your current business strategy.
  2. Ensure content has a consistent tone and manner and is consistent with the most current brand framework.
  3. Establish an easily referenced/searchable content library.
  4. Design content to be reused (consider removing information that may date your site).
  5. Use automatic date expiration for articles related to events. This means the article are removed automatically from the site after the event takes place.
  6. Optimize for search.
  7. Ensure visual design is relevant to your target audience.
  8. Train content contributors to ensure alignment with your business and brand strategies.
  9. Track how your content is being viewed through Google Analytics.
  10. Create and edit your content offline in an application such as MS Word or an alternative such as Apache OpenOffice. This has a number of benefits:
  • You have a saved version just in case your Internet connection drops while you are adding content.
  • Word has powerful tools such as spell check, grammar check and change tracking.
  • It’s easier and faster to mark-up a print-out than make edits on screen.
  • It’s easier to collaborate on the Word file with multiple reviewers and content writers.
  1. Train the trainers – create specialists in different departments who train and support other administrators within their group. This cuts down on the amount of time your IT department will have to spend providing support.
  2. Create roles and permission access levels for users. Only give administrators as much control as they need. This prevents a user in one department editing or deleting an article from a different department.
  3. Create a publish approval process. This gives a more senior administrator the ability to vet any content generated by a more junior user before information becomes public on your Web site.
  4. If you don`t already have one develop and use a style guide. The style guide may include proper grammar and spelling conventions as well as design considerations such as use of color or headings. Ensure users run a spell check on their content before posting to the system. The goal is to present a unified front across all the Web site touch-points.
  5. Use a system with version control. This ensures that if an article is deleted or edited by mistake it can be returned to its proper state quickly.
  6. Use scheduled publishing. The systems we are recommending allow content be published in advance and scheduled to be taken down as soon as it is no longer relevant. For example, you may wish to promote an event but make sure the promotion is removed after the event starts. This ensures that your content still appears to be relevant and also means you don’t have to keep track of removing it.
  7. Finally, for SEO purposes Google pays a premium on “humanized” content. This means they are continually updating their algorithm to filter out robotic, directory-based, mechanical content. Real content by real people with unique insights to your company trumps “churned” stock content that could appear anywhere.  There is no substitute for hiring a professional writer on contract if you

About The Author

Mike Erlindson is the President & CEO of Soulfx Technologies. He manages the design and development teams and has worked on hundreds of projects for clients in a wide range of industries. He previously worked at the Southam Infolab, Cyberplex and was Senior Producer of The Toronto Star Online.

He’s been both an Adjunct Professor at the University of Western Ontario and an Associate Professor at Centennial College teaching classes on User Experience Design and Client Service for Technology Consultants.

His entire career intersects content and technology. Always on the cutting edge, his masters degree research paper about online newspapers won the top award of his graduate school class.

Mike can be found at:

About Soulfx

Soulfx specializes in digital strategy, user experience design and cloud software development. Our software applications help clients become more efficient which increases revenue and decreases costs. Client industries include health sciences, pharmaceuticals, financial services, insurance, government and education. Contact Soulfx or call 1-877-827-4555 xt. 228