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Setting Up Your CMS Admin Structure

Publishers discuss how their structure affects workflow and troubleshooting.



By Vanessa Voltolina
10/08/2009

As many publishers have discovered when it comes to CMS, the size and internal workings of your organization directly impacts the philosophy behind your admin structure. In the name of time and limited resources, smaller publishers generally tend to give admin carte blanche to staffers loading and managing a publication’s site; larger organizations, meanwhile dole out admin rights more sparingly and have a more defined system in place. Here, publishers talk about what works and what doesn’t for CMS admin.

Hanley Wood’s general manager of online, Kim Heneghan, said that their CMS system, Tridion, allows for a very flexible admin hierarchy. “However, we haven't implemented a lot of it because we really wanted to get into the system and see how we used it in conjunction with the then new print content management system, K4,” she added. For the 30,000 –plus circulation Love Media Inc. title, Las Vegas Sports Magazine, editing and maintaining the CMS is primarily done by its small staff. Editor-in-chief Isaac Kulhman has more of an issue with the current Joomla CMS format than the number of admins. “When you go to plug in a story, you have to reformat the entire thing before you even put it in there with all of symbols screwed up,” he said of their current system, Joomla. “And as editor-in-chief of the magazine, I end up going over lots of this content within the system.”

The Set Up

Despite implementing its current CMS in 2007, Alec Dann, general manager of online residential new construction for Hanley Wood Business Media said that the company they will revisit the print and Web workflows over the coming months, which will in turn end up changing the admin structure.

Currently, though, the company has a very limited number of users who have admin rights. General editorial users typically have limited publishing rights so that they can only publish to a specific Web site, or group of sites, said Heneghan. “While Tridion allows us to get really granular at the user level (for example, it could limit a user to only publish a specific type of content to a specific section of the site), we haven't needed to take advantage of that type of flexibility. We also have several users who can access specific types of power tools, such as our librarian who is responsible for managing bulk uploads of articles that include metadata changes, etcetera.”
 
“In our original planning (blame me), we kept the number of user types simple to creating obstacles that would impede work,” said Dann. “Now, we are finding we'd like to have more flavors so that we could empower editors to do certain tasks (move specific content around the home page, for example) without having the risk of inexperienced users accidentally breaking things.”

Las Vegas Sports Magazine, which Kulhman equates to a smaller, regionally-focused ESPN The Magazine, sees about 20 stories loaded on a weekly basis. The team solicited its Web designer to develop its CMS “so it’s literally ‘Web site development for dummies,’” said Kulhman. “The staff goes into the CMS back end, and logs in as administrator to work directly on a page. The CMS is broken down into a sublist of content categories, for example, ‘College Sports.’” While Joomla was a good option initially, LVSM is “looking to get away from it now and into more advanced stuff,” he said. The small, four person staff (Kulhman, publisher Thomas Love, assistant editor Jordan Goodrich and Web designer Brandi Sabado) has access to the CMS, with the editors and publisher doing the most with the content.

When its new system is implemented, Kulhman anticipates creating a clearer separation between the five sports divisions it covers. “Once we get these divisions rolling, each division editor would also be content editor,” he said. This will involve the assigned editor to act as a sole admin for their designated section.

Troubleshooting

“We have a small enough team that trouble-shooting is done an informal basis,” said Dann. “Sometimes problems are due to system bugs but they can also be due to user error.  In recent months, we've instituted post-release training for our power users so they know how to use new features that have been moved into production.”

Hanley Wood credits Tridion with removing a number of tech issues around administering the site but as they removed technology constraints and the rules embedded in them, they learned that we had to develop business processes to provide structure.

For troubleshooting tasks, Las Vegas plans to hire on their current tech team full time, or outsource these duties to a tech support team. “For our new system, we’re looking for something with the simplicity of Joomla but with much better design,” said Kulhman. Over the past year, the title has grown two-and-a-half times its readership, and he expects it to continue to grow once the site and newsletter are revamped.

 

By Vanessa Voltolina
10/08/2009







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