As Web content management tools have evolved, so too have the responsibilities of the people who manage this content. Gone are the days when a site's webmaster wrapped content with HTML and created Web-safe graphics.
As a matter of fact, we feel a more than little funny even using the word webmaster these days -- it sort of conjures up visions of browsers past, when AJAX was still found under the kitchen sink and the <BLINK> tag was just a glimmer in a madman's eye.According to the 12th edition of the Web CMS Report, the new generation of web managers care little about what is under the hood of their website and more about the reaction of visitors to the website -- and specifically, how to measure that reaction.
Today's website manager has a team of copywriters, graphic artists and content strategists whose job it is to insure that appropriate content is being produced. Furthermore, the team has a Web CMS that is (hopefully) easy to use and alleviates both the worries of publishing and the need for a traditional webmaster.
However, what many of the current generation of Web content management systems lack are the tools to measure the impact and effectiveness of the content being produced. It is this gap in functionality that is causing organizations who have made significant investments in a CMS architecture to constantly shop around for a tool that more closely meets their needs.
But for those groups who have shifted their focus from production to consumption, the question is: what is being learned about the behaviors of readers? CMS Watch Founder Tony Byrne puts it best, "The new Web manager looks at information from the consumers' perspective and more often than not, asks, 'what can we get rid of?'"
These aforementioned issues are further complicated by the fact that the people who can fill the shoes of this new breed of website manager are in extremely short supply.
Someone who understands the technical infrastructure may lack the soft skills required to manage both a content production team and the expectations of site visitors. An established leader and manager, while great with people and getting things done, must also have intimate knowledge of the Web's technical nuts and bolts or the disconnect is simply to great to overcome. (Read Lisa Welchman's Why I'm Disgusted with Web Teams for more on this.)
Additional findings in the report include:
* Metadata and classification are cool again as a new focus on site visitors is pushing the capabilities of current Web CMS offerings.
* Lending credence to Byrne's quote above, the standardization of editorial and graphical processes are pushing enterprises away from distributed web content development and toward stripped down editorial interfaces.
* The need for visitor-focused content goes beyond e-commerce and online marketing to cover all publishing scenarios, including (gasp!) intranets.
* The reporting tools provided by the current generation of web content management systems are simply not sufficient for the new web manager.
CMS Watch's 2008 Web CMS Report is a culmination of exhaustive research of 30 web content management platforms and hundreds of interviews with website managers from around the globe.
There are multiple flavors of the report available including a free excerpt, a standard edition, an enterprise edition, and a version focused solely on the European market. Prices range from US$ 975 to US$ 2 975.
If your organization is looking to implement a web content management system or offers services related to the management of web content, we encourage you to invest in the Web CMS Report. Your clients, stakeholders, and shareholders will be glad you did.