CMS Q&A

What is a CMS?
A content management system (CMS) provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming languages or markup languages to create and manage website content with relative ease. (Source: Wikipedia)

What does it do?
A CMS will enable you to build and maintain your unit’s website without any advanced technical skills. 

What are the benefits of using a CMS?
There are many benefits to using a CMS, including:

Roles and permissions:
Your unit’s leadership will be able to decide who has access to the CMS, and what role each individual will play. Each unit will be able to assign one or more individuals to the role of content manager (CM), and one or more individuals to the role of content contributor (CC.) 

Workflow management:
Your unit’s leadership will also be able to set up a workflow, allowing for web content to be reviewed and approved before the content goes live. 

Standardized templates:
The CMS includes standardized templates that have been designed to provide consistent branding on all USF websites. All styling is built in and applied automatically to your content, so you don’t have to worry about things like fonts, logos and color palettes. 

Content repository:
The CMS includes a repository of shared content that all USF websites can share. This content will be updated on a regular basis by subject-matter experts, ensuring that every website on campus is featuring the most accurate, up-to-date information and resources. Examples include campus maps, points of pride, facts, statistics, history and much more.

Easily editable content:
The CMS makes it easy for you to build a new web page, or edit an existing web page, without any advanced technical skills.

Versioning:
The CMS tracks changes to content on all web pages, and allows you to view or revert to old versions when needed.

Scheduling:
The CMS allows you to schedule for a page to go live or expire on a pre-specified date, making it easy to publish time-sensitive information even if page content needs to be removed during a time when you are not available, such as during a holiday.

Widgets:
The CMS includes custom widgets so you can introduce additional functionality into your web pages. Examples include news feeds, event listings and more. 

Responsive design:
The CMS templates are “responsive,” meaning that your website will display beautifully whether it’s viewed on a desktop, a tablet, or a smartphone. There is no need to develop three versions of your site anymore.  

Technology upgrades:
The CMS will receive regular technology upgrades, so you don’t have to worry about whether your technology is up-to-date.

Security and backup:
The CMS has built-in security features, making it less likely that your site could be hacked. In addition, IT will facilitate regular back-ups, so your site will always be able to be restored if problems arise. 

ADA compliance:
The CMS also has built-in ADA compliance features. An accessibility check is performed prior to each page being published and the system will alert you to any problems that require your attention.

How does a CMS work?
You will login to the CMS using your NetID, the unique username and password you use to login to the MyUSF portal, your email account and other business systems on campus. Once logged in, you will work within the CMS to build new web pages, edit existing web pages and more. 

How will I learn how to use it?
The USF CMS Workgroup, comprised of employees from Information Technology (IT) and University Communications and Marketing (UCM), will assign you a liaison who will provide training, information and other resources. 

What do I need to do to get started?
University Communications and Marketing and Information Technology’s Web Services Division are working with senior leadership within each academic and administrative unit to determine when each university website will migrate into the CMS. When the time comes for your website to migrate, you will be assigned a CMS liaison, and you’ll schedule your first meeting.

Is there anything I need to do before the first meeting with my liaison?
Yes. To prepare for the meeting, you should meet with your unit’s leadership to determine the following:

Identify your website’s content manager:
The content manager (CM) will be the main point of contact for your unit’s website, and will be held accountable for maintaining the site. As such, the CM will be responsible for developing web content, creating new web pages, editing existing web pages, and reviewing and approving all web pages before they go live. You will need to determine who is going to play this important role before you can move forward in developing your new website. Keep in mind that more than one person can play this role.

Identify your website’s content contributors:
Like CMs, content contributors (CCs) will be responsible for developing web content, creating new web pages, and editing existing web pages to which they have permission, but unlike CMs, CCs cannot make content go live without CM approval. You will need to determine who is going to play this role before you can move forward in developing your new website. Keep in mind that more than one person can play this role.

Identify workflow:
Your unit’s leadership will also be able to set up a workflow, allowing for web content to be reviewed and approved before the content goes live. You will need to determine who will play the role of CM and CC for each section of your site, and you will need to decide if there are other stakeholders who need to review content before it goes live.
That said, we recommend that you keep your workflow as simple as possible. The more complex it gets, the more time it takes to update the site.

What else will be discussed during the first meeting with my liaison?
During the first meeting, you will receive your CMS User Guide, which will include an introduction; a content development manual; a technical manual; a CMS toolbox with template specifications and wireframe forms; an addendum of additional resources; and a glossary of CMS terms.

You will also have the opportunity to ask questions about the process, and to express any concerns you may have.

Finally, you will receive your “new” URL.

What happens after the meeting?
You and your CMS liaison will schedule additional meetings as needed to ensure your project moves forward at a reasonable rate. You’ll also receive training on how to use the CMS. But your biggest task by far will be to develop great content for your website.

In the meantime, how can I learn more?
For more information about the launch of the new USF website, or about the CMS and the content development process, please email Stephanie Harff: sharff@usf.edu.