Best Practices for Implementing a CMS

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Technology & Development, Usability

Best Practices for Implementing a CMS

Congratulations. After all the research, investigation, and maybe even an RFP, you’ve chosen your content management system (CMS) and are ready for the implementation stage. This means you can kick back, relax, and let the vendor do all the work, right?

Not quite!

OmniUpdate has implemented OU Campus for hundreds of customers. The process we’ve developed is designed to make things as smooth as possible. But, inevitably, there can be bumps in the road. So how can you ensure your implementation is setting you up for future success with OU Campus? Read on.

communication is the key elementBefore we delve into technical best practices, it’s important to note that communication is the key element of a successful and timely CMS implementation. With OU Campus, you are assigned an OmniUpdate Implementation Manager who works closely with you to ensure your individual needs are addressed throughout the implementation process. Take advantage of this resource by keeping in contact on a regular basis.

As part of the implementation process, you’ll need to provide three things (ideally, all at once):

  1. Template files
  2. Template file instructions
  3. Production web server access specifications

Template Files

Our team takes your existing templates and uses them to build new templates in OU Campus with editable regions. This is why the state of your existing templates is so important! Unnecessary divs, legacy code without any apparent purpose, and overall messiness don’t just go away! The best practice for your template files is clean HTML5 and CSS3, if possible.

You’ll want to make sure your code follows W3C and accessibility standards. Here are the tools we use to validate:

Your HTML should be tested, approved, and include the functionality you want before it’s sent to us. Additional requests made during implementation will inevitably cause delays.

Template File Instructions

Have you ever built build-it-yourself furniture without following the instructions? Chances are you could figure it out after some trial and error, but how much more efficient is the process when you just read the instructions? Building your website templates is the same—we can infer and interpret all day long, but it’s much faster just to follow your instructions! We want to hear all your needs, wants, and expectations up front so we can understand what you’re looking for and collaborate with you to make your site even better!

Production Web Server Access Specifications

As a decoupled system, OU Campus resides on its own server and publishes out to your live production server via FTP/SFTP. For this reason, we need complete and correct information to access your preferred web server. Your OU Campus Customer Care Kit comes with a checklist of the required ports, IP addresses, firewall rules, and so forth. Read each step carefully and make sure all the information you provide is correct. Triple-check it! Missing information causes delays that are easily avoided.

Know What You Want

Every OU Campus implementation is a custom implementation, tailored to each customer’s specific needs and specifications. This is what makes OU Campus such an awesome CMS, but it also requires you to do a bit of research and prep to get the best outcome. Have an accurate understanding of what you’re asking your Implementation Manager. Learn more about modules. Understand what goes into migrating content. The customizability of OU Campus will make this upfront work worth it.

Bottom Line: You Get Out of It What You Put into It

The perfect implementation happens when all the right groundwork has been laid. If you spend the time and give good code, good notes, and the correct server credentials, magic will happen. Help us understand your environment, context, content editors, how you want your CMS to function, and how you want to manage your CMS—all of this hard work and preparation will make for a smooth implementation experience.

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Marcel Ayers

Director of Web Development

Marcel is a California native who has called Camarillo home for the past 19 years. A lover of both coffee and tech, he founded an online coffee bean and home roasting supply business in 2003 and then an IT and web development company in 2004. Today, as Director of Web Development at OmniUpdate, Marcel oversees the process of bringing customer sites into the OU Campus system. In his free time, you’ll find him taking advantage of the California outdoors from mountain biking and skiing, to surfing and hiking.

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