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Centralizing Content Management

this post is cross-posted from delta.ldlwebservices.co.uk

Gerry McGovern has been talking recently about how a Decentralized publishing equals amateur web management. This is something we have direct experience of and when we launched the current liverpool.gov.uk in Feb 2011 we moved from a decentralized model to a centralized on, and we saw all the benefits Gerry talks about.

the real challenge isn’t moving to or indeed working with a centralized model, if you have the right team, a centralized model is always going to produce great results. the real challenge is persuading people that a centralized model is going to work.

Evidence based Content Management

We approached the management of our content the same way that we approached the design and development of the site – with evidence.

We had an inclination that our devolved model wasn’t getting the best out of the content , but until we went and looked at the evidence we had no idea if we could do something about it.

Usage of the content system

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First we looked at how our current site was being used by our editors. What we found was just a few editors were making the most edits to the site,

  • Of our 260 editors – only 116 had used the site in the last year
  • Only 20 of the editors did 70% of all the edits on the site
  • The core of the activity was not actually focused on the top tasks of the site

On of the issues with a decentralized model is the lack of focus on the core content for the site, people with an interest edit the bits they are interested in – but that’s not necessary the bit users are interested in.

Resource Effort

One of the big concerns with centralized content is the resource effort required to manage a large site with only a small team. Again this is something where the evidence helps. By looking at the number of edits being made to the site we were able to quantify how much effort would be required by our central team to maintain the site.

By using evidence where were able to confidently show that a centralized team could do the job, and get the organisational buy in to move from a decentralized to centralized model

At the moment the 2 content managers manage the bulk of the content on liverpool.gov.uk