There are some organizations still developing their websites using the more traditional design and build from scratch approach. With all the capabilities that the latest web content management systems can offer, the question is why?
The Web is an exciting place. With excitement comes innate complexity and an overwhelming abundance of choices when defining how to take your website into the future. Ask web evangelists of today versus evangelists of say 5 years ago, and they will highlight the importance of device support, marketing tools, analytics and focusing on creating great content that will stand the test of time.
Recently, companies like Google and Apple have prompted questions to the public, such as, “Why are we still building things like we did 30 years ago?” These types of provocative questions are spawning answers in the form of new tools, such as the iPhone 4 and the upcoming wave of Google WebOS notebooks. Ask yourself these questions:
- Would you still create artwork using MS Paint?
- Would you still write articles using Notepad?
- Would you still use Netscape as an Internet Browser?
Then why are you still developing websites in the traditional approach?
Traditional Website Development
Let me start by defining what I mean by “traditional”. Traditional Web Development refers to the act of taking a Web Framework such as HTML, ASP.NET or PHP and building a website from the ground up. This includes everything from setting up Database connections, setting up Database Tables, creating separate files for your Contact Us and Products page, the list goes on.
Most web agencies that I consult with have control libraries that make this process less tedious and time consuming but this is not addressing the fundamental issue, being, this is a traditional methodology for building websites. Weddings should be traditional, your grandmother’s brownie recipe should be traditional. Your web presence should be innovative.
Everyone Should Be Involved in Designing a Web Presence
There is a major flaw with using traditional web methodologies that I would like to highlight. The web these days is so much more than a developer’s playground. Testers, Authors, Marketers, Web Strategists, SEO Experts, Lawyers and Managers, they ALL should play integral roles in the implementation of your organisation’s web presence. Like it or not, I cannot stress enough the importance of involving all walks of life in what is traditionally a developer’s terrain.
How many times has a project you have been working on, stopped in its tracks because someone wasn’t part of the project life cycle from day one and needs to be brought up to speed before the project can carry on? Was it because you thought they shouldn’t be involved? Was it because this idea of creating a website is way above their technical ability?
Probably, because that is the way we have always done it. The traditional way. In addition to being just involved in a web project, you would traditionally have to be considered technically adept to be able to have a large impact on how the web project is implemented. This is exactly the issue that a Web Content Management System addresses.
The Advantage of a Web CMS
One of the key issues with the traditional approach to creating websites is that the website’s developers will often take the requirements given to them and spin them into something that they understand, not something that a Marketer can play with, or a Content Author would comprehend.
Mention the words XAML, jQuery or MVC to a Web Marketer and I guarantee they will think you are talking about the latest popstar that the kids are currently raving about. Once again, this is exactly the issue that a Web Content Management System is addressing, as each player in a web project has their own space, their own environment, their own surroundings that they are familiar with and feel comfortable with exploring.
Then what is so magical about a Web Content Management System that takes something that has been working for so long, and not only discredits it, but rips it up, runs it through the shredder and burns the remnants to ashes? Simple. The same thing that is making landlines redundant and mobile phones the norm. The same thing that cured diseases and made medicine what it is today. Innovation.
A Web Content Management System offers all walks of life the ability to play their role in the web field. It allows web designers to build the style of the website with CSS and not worry about what the Database Administrator is doing in the backend. It allows content authors to write content and publish it live to the web without having to know a line of HTML.
A great Web Content Management System keeps all roles in the web life cycle in mind. If not more importantly, it offers users a canvas for expressing ideas in a format that most would assume impossible without formal training in web technologies. Think of all the Musicians and Philosophisers with everything in the world to proclaim but with no mouth, all the Authors and Poets with words of divine wisdom but no parchment. Now think how enlightening the experience would be, with offering these artists their canvas. Inspirational, no?