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CMS • UWM's Content Management System

Web Site Management Made Easy

Preparing for UWM's CMS

Whether migrating an existing site or developing a new site to use UWM's CMS, there are a number of factors that need to be considered. Analyzing and making decisions about content ownership, branding and templates, site structure and navigation, URL transfer, site review and testing, and user-support planning are important to successfully establishing a Web site using CMS.

Following are the recommended tasks to consider when developing or migrating a Web site to UWM's CMS.

Identify those who will manage your CMS-based Web site

It is critically important to identify a project leader to both guide the converstion of an existing Web site or develop a new site within UWM's CMS. When considering the migration of an existing site to the CMS, this is a process that can be time-consuming and require a lot of planning up front. Time and resources should be made available in order to ensure a successful migration. Once the migration is complete, content contributors can take over the management of content and the role of the project leader changes to focus on general administration of the site (i.e. adding users, setting up subsites and permissions, conducting training, etc.). This is typically a role that requires less time and resources than the initial migration to the CMS.

Identify those who contribute content to the Web site

All content on a Web site must be composed, edited and published. Those tasks can be completed by one person, or several individuals who are defined as the content "owner(s)." Content ownership is based upon an individual's knowledge, expertise and authority. Determining content ownership is vital in setting up permissions within UWM's CMS. It is recommended that a spreadsheet be developed identifying all Web site content, its owner(s) and the role they will have in the Web site. Additionally, your spreadsheet might include information about content work flow or content approval processes.

Download a sample spreadsheet to help you get started
Download spreadsheet instructions

Establish what information will be presented and how it's going to organized

It is important to determine how information in the Web site will be presented as it will affect the way visitors will view and find information.

Examine the Web site structure and navigation. Ask:

  • What are the primary and secondary goals of the Web site?
  • Who are the primary and secondary audiences?
  • What information is most important to those target audience(s)?
  • How should information be presented? By feature/function? By organizational structure? By target audience?
  • In terms of the goal of the site, what action should the visitor take when they visit the site? (e.g., Request more information? Register for a program?)

If the current site is outdated or not providing utility for the visitor, consideration should be given to how the information is presented and arranged. Develop a site map indicating the navigation on the homepage and then all sub-navigation within the site. Include where roll-overs, pop-ups and drop down menus will be used.

Download a sample site map (Word outline format)
Download a sample site map (Excel format)
Download a sample site map (visual representation, i.e. Visio)
Download site map instructions

Determine how the Web site is going to look

How information is presented within a Web site is important. Consistency throughout the site in terms of its "look and feel" is key to ensuring that the site is "branded" (i.e., items of recognition such as a name, logo, slogan, and design scheme that represent the unit; or if it's a personal Web site, the role of the individual whether it is a faculty member or a student).

One of the benefits in using UWM's CMS is the ability to control the "look and feel" of a site through templates and cascading style sheets. Use of these tools will result in a consistent and cohesive presentation of information within the Web site. If the current Web site has pages throughout the site that vary greatly from one another in terms of design (page templates), decide on a consistent design that will prevail throughout the site. If a redesign of a template is needed, consider using one of the templates developed for UWM's CMS. The CMS templates are very flexible and allow for a number of unique designs. The system does allow custom templates to be created, however this is a more technical task and may require consultation time with I&MT's Web Development department.

Download some sample CMS template-based designs

Make sure all the links in the Web site will work

If the current site is going to be migrated to UWM's CMS, identify all vanity URLs and where they should point to in the new Web site. Using a spreadsheet is helpful; it should contain the vanity URL, the current URL destination, and the new destination in CMS.

Create a plan to launch the site

A successful launch in UWM's CMS will depend on the preparation up front. Determine the timeframe and areas of responsibility for Web site restructuring, review, testing and launch. Ensure that all parties of aware of the target dates and tasks that are necessary to launch the site.

Plan ongoing maintenance and follow-up

Determine how Web-related comments and feedback will be processed. Where will inquiries be directed? Who will be responsible for handling inquiries? How will inquiries be tracked and analyzed? For example, a persistent inquiry about a specific piece of information that is deep within a Web site may signal a need to provide access or a link to the information in a more prominent place.

The above tasks are crucial to successful site launch, whether a new Web site is being constructed using UWM's CMS or an existing site is to be migrated.

If you have questions about how to get started, use the online inquiry form.

Last modified on June 20, 2007