Whether you’re working on a new blog post, creating a new page to highlight new content, or otherwise making changes in your CMS, things can sometimes get frustrating. Our Service Desk team is familiar with the ups and downs of CMS platforms, especially Drupal and WordPress, and we realize that when you have trouble updating your site, it can feel like you’re getting nowhere. Luckily, there are a few ways to adjust how you work in the admin in order to make things easier (and improve your website function) on the whole.
Related: How to Choose a Website Platform
Here are 5 tips to keep in mind when building content in your CMS.
Don’t forget to provide a meta description for each blog you post—metadata might seem like an invisible part of blogs, but it plays an important role in helping increase your search engine optimization (SEO). Although these 155-character meta descriptions are not seen by the general public, search engines use them to understand what kind of content each post and page on your site contains. Meta is also important because it helps describe content on each post and page for anyone working in your HTML code (like Service Desk or your web administrator, if they work in HTML). For similar reasons, it helps to keep URL slugs for each page and post on your site short and sweet. When scrolling through metadata, it’s easy to get bogged down in long descriptions of each page. Plus, shorter slugs also improve your SEO. Keeping URL slugs pithy and concise helps keep your site organized and limits headaches on the back end.
If you plan to embed media, like images or video, into a page or blog post, it is important to keep size in mind. Sure, you don’t want your image or video to be so small that your readers can’t see it, but often images and video can be much larger than necessary, which can slow down upload times, website speeds, and cause other issues on your site. A great way to ensure that your image is properly optimized is to make sure your image is compressed in the right way. With adequate image compression, your image can be large in dimensions but won’t cause lag in your site’s speed. Hubspot has a good post on image size guidelines for different types of content. (For those of you who want to take your image optimization process to the next level, check out this page on Google Developer about how to make your site’s images responsive and more). No matter what, it’s a good idea to make sure to resize your images and media before you set out to post your content—the last thing you want is a lengthy image render to slow down your posting process in the moment.
When building out content in your CMS, don’t forget that the preview tool is there to help you ensure that what you’re building is going to look exactly how it should. While you often will be able to see what your content looks like in the editor (more on this in a moment), it’s always a good idea before you publish your content to use the preview tool to check out what exactly your content will look like when you hit publish. Previewing your page before publishing allows you to make any adjustments or anticipate issues. You can also keep your page in a “Draft” or “Unpublished” state until it’s time to go live with the post.
If you’re someone who happens to be comfortable with some basic HTML (or if you’re interested in learning), you can anticipate posting issues by taking a look at your site’s source code in a plain text editor like Sublime Text. Most CMS platforms ask you to edit your content in what is called a WYSIWYG (pronounced “wizzy wig”). WYSIWYG is an acronym for “what you see is what you get,” and these editors allow you to make changes to your site’s page or post content the same way you would in a standard word processing program, like Microsoft Word or Google Docs, instead of having to physically code your content’s formatting requirements into the page or post’s HTML.
While WYSIWYGs are obviously very helpful tools, they can have their limits, and sometimes what they show is not necessarily true to what your page’s code looks like. If you find yourself running into problems between editing in the WYSIWYG and previewing your content with the preview tool, it might be helpful to copy and paste your post’s source code into a plain text editor and examine the code for inconsistencies. You can also use a plain text editor to remove any unwanted formatting from these programs—just copy your text from the WYSIWIG and paste it into a plain text editor to start with a clean slate. Needless to say, if you’re not comfortable with HTML, you can always reach out to our Service Desk team if you’re concerned that the HTML code on your page or post is flawed.
Read more: What is a WYSIWIG?
Last but not least, our most important web admin tip is to always leave yourself enough time to handle any unexpected issues that may come up with posting a blog or editing a site page. No matter how prepared you are, you might find yourself running into issues on the back end, and the last thing you want in that situation is to be on a tight deadline with no time to troubleshoot. It’s important to QA your work before it’s published. Set aside time to have a friend or coworker take a second look at your work—if you check your post for errors before it goes live, you’ll save yourself time trying to fix problems in the post once it’s published. When you rush, errors happen. When it comes to working with your CMS, errors—even small ones—can lead to larger problems in the future, so be sure to set aside enough time.
No matter what, our Service Desk team is here to help your company and your website be the best it can be. When it comes to troubleshooting site issues, posting blog content, or helping your team understand the ins and outs of your website’s CMS, we are here for you. We hope these pointers help ease the process of working in your site’s back end. Happy posting!
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As a Service Desk Associate, Michael provides full service support for Fruition clients, and he also facilitates web maintenance and content management. He brings a range of experience to Fruition, including work in website administration, client support, graphic design, and digital print media. Outside of work, Michael enjoys snowboarding, mountain biking, playing golf, and attending live music concerts.
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