Treat #6 – Have You Created a CMS Monster?

This is an entry in our HALLoween Blog series. Each week leading up to Halloween 2010 we will treat you with internet marketing topics that have a fun and spooky flare.

Photo Credit: Dunechaser

Every year I look forward to getting creative and making my Halloween costume. This year I took on the daunting task of making my own, as well as my sister’s and fiancee’s. Perhaps I will end up being a zombie instead of a witch come Halloween, but that’s another story…

In the theme of all things classic, my fiancee is going to be Frankenstein’s monster (the Boris Karloff version). I have enjoyed finding old parts and pieces of clothing to put together to create his costume; the more out of place, the better!

When it comes to your website, you want the opposite. Review the 3 points below and determine if you’ve created a well balanced CMS website or if you’ve created a CMS monster!

  1. Too Many Add-Ons – Frankenstein could have added extra parts to his monster, but they were not needed to create it. With a CMS, it is easy to add new features and parts, but are they all really necessary? Just because you can add that cool weather widget or polling functionality doesn’t mean that you have to. Plan out everything that you add to your website and think about what value it will provide visitors and how will it help your site. Otherwise your add-ons can distract your clients from what really matters.
  2. Out of Control Navigation – If you read Mary Shelley’s original book, you will know that Frankenstein’s monster was really just misunderstood and was having trouble finding his way. Don’t let your visitors get confused and lost on your website. When your website first went live, navigation was probably well thought out and organized (and if not, make it a priority!). With a CMS, it can be easy to forget about your organization and just start adding menu items every time a new page is added. Adding too many items to the navigation can easily get out of control, so evaluate your content and figure out the logical way people will navigate. This may include adding a site search or dividing out your content by sections that have their own sub-navigation.
  3. A Large News Section – Do you have a system in place for organizing your news and event items? Over time you can add so many news and events that it can grow to monster-like proportions. If these are just displayed on a page as a list, then the page can take a long time to load and visitors will never get to the news on the bottom. Figure out a system for archiving your news and events items so that only the most recent ones are displayed. Set up a search or monthly archive for those who want to view past items.

Make it a goal to keep your site in control at all times. This means evaluating add-ons, checking your navigation, and keeping a news archive that is easy to search through. Each time you add something to your website, think about the value it is providing. You want your website to be alive (It’s alive! Aliiiive!) with valuable, easy to access information with few random parts and pieces that send people running screaming for the hills!

Read the rest of the HALLoween blog series

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