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Improving Web content management. (Tech Tool Kit).

"Why is it such a big deal to put information on our Web site?"

One association executive after another voices the same sentiment as they talk about the frustrations of trying to expand usage of their Web sites.

For many associations, the difficulty of posting information results in under-use of the Web site. It's expensive to convert information to Web formats, so only a subset of the appropriate information is made available. The process is time-consuming, so the site can't be used for time-sensitive communication. The result is that the association misses opportunities to communicate with and better serve members.

Solve Web site management problems Content management software is designed to solve these problems, eliminating the headaches involved in creating and publishing information on your Web site.

Empower your staff. One of the reasons changes to your site must be made by your Web team is that they are the only ones who know HTML. Content management software allows people who are not technical to create and update Web pages. For example, when the events manager wants to update information about an upcoming meeting, she can copy the details directly from Word into a form in her browser, and the Web pages are changed automatically.

Ensure standard formatting. Another reason everything is funneled through your Webmaster is to ensure that your Web site has a consistent look and feel throughout. Content management software enforces your site's rules for image placement, text formatting, and navigation. You can give people permission to update the information for which they are responsible, without worrying that they will change things they are not supposed to change.

Increase flexibility. With content management software, your Web site becomes simpler to modify. Your publications director can add new books or directories easily, your Webmaster can change the logo or images throughout your site in minutes, and your Web initiatives can be implemented faster and more cost effectively.

Personalize visits. You can personalize the information visitors see on your site, greeting members by name and showing them relevant information based on their preferences or past behavior. So a member who bought a book on a certain topic can be greeted with the news that there will be a seminar on the same subject in a city near her. She won't miss out on information that is important to her, and you will increase nondues revenue.

Enhance the site with member contributions Having the ability to safely delegate responsibility for the information on your site lets you vastly increase the quantity and variety of information you can offer. Members can contribute content-press releases, product information, articles, white papers, or whatever else you want-making your site a much richer source of information.

Members can also contribute via online community platforms, Web forums, interest group discussions, and online newsletters. Your site becomes more valuable as a networking tool.

The result is a powerful competitive advantage--one that benefits the association every day by making information available faster.

RELATED ARTICLE: Achieve your vision for the Web with creative Web site design, Web development enhancements, content management options, and solid database structure from ISG Solutions. Add data-driven functionality using information drawn directly from your member database. Take full advantage of your members' visits to your Web site. Personalize their experience, cross-sell, up-sell, and develop a stronger online community. Ask about our Web modules and hosting services.




Mark Bolgiano is vice president. Web Services Division, at ISG Solutions. E-mail: mbolgiano
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Author:Bolgiano, Mark
Publication:Association Management
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 1, 2003
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