What NOT To Do When Choosing a CMS

We’ve given tips in previous articles about what to consider when choosing a CMS. Now, let’s take a look at the flip side and consider what NOT to do when choosing a CMS. It’s good to know what to avoid, too, rather than learning the hard way (and the expensive way!). These tips were derived from experiences we’ve seen with organizations in the past that made a few big mistakes in their quest to buy a CMS. Take a lesson from them and do not follow in their footsteps:

Tips for Easing Into Content Management

You may have a long-term goal to implement a component content management system (CCMS) and structured authoring, but you may only have the staff and budget to dip your toe in and wade slowly through the shallow end rather than to plunge into the deep end all at once. Is it possible to break the implementation down into manageable steps?

Criteria for Adopting a CMS

How do you know if a CMS is right for your organization? Many people struggle to find the answer to this question. Often, these are the questions we hear: Is my content base too small to make it worthwhile? Is the cost of a CMS too expensive for my organization? Is my staff too small to benefit from a CMS? What is the breakeven point for adopting a CMS?

You may be looking in all the wrong places for justification for a CMS. The size of your team, the size of your content base, and the cost of the system may only play a small role in the decision to implement a CMS. The more important factor is: how much will you save in time and costs if you implement a CMS? Here are some criteria to consider:

Tips for Reinforcing Structured Authoring Concepts Before the Actual Transition to XML

One of the hardest things to do is to get people to move from their comfort zones. When you begin to implement your content management strategy and move to structured authoring, you will likely see some resistance from a few writers who will say, “That’s not the way we’ve always done it!“ Ah, change! It can bring out the stubbornness in some people and make their boss’ hair turn gray as he drags them, kicking and screaming, into the new work environment.

New Year’s Resolutions: Get Your Corporate Assets in Shape

New Year's Resolutions: Get Your Corporate Assets in Shape

A new year is upon us once again, and everyone is making their New Year’s resolutions. Topping the list is usually to get fit by eating better and exercising more. From a business perspective, the start of the new year is also the perfect time to think about ways to improve the fitness of your corporate assets. This year, resolve to get your organization’s content assets in shape, too.

Getting a Little Respect for Technical Writing

Technical writers sometimes feel like the ugly step-child. They have too much work, and there’s never enough staff to do everything that must be done. And, the work was needed yesterday! In some organizations, the focus is placed on the engineering and marketing of the product, but the technical documentation is merely perceived as an afterthought. Since technical documentation is a cost of doing business rather than a revenue generator, it tends to get the small end of the budget stick.

Tips for Finding the Best CMS for Single Sourcing Your Content

When thinking about moving your content into a content management system (CMS), there are a few key principles to consider. The first principle is single sourcing. A CMS is a great place to store one copy of your content so that it can be shared with many users. By single sourcing your content, you eliminate all duplicate copies of the content and consolidate your content base down to one trusted source of content. Now, all users who access the content will always get the most current version, and older copies won’t be floating around anymore. In addition, single sourcing your content leads to higher quality documents since the content that is being reused across your publications is current and consistent.

Tips to Avoid Confusion in Translations

When writers create content that will eventually be translated into many different languages, they must really focus on more than just good grammar, clarity and spelling. There are a lot of things we say in the English language that doesn’t translate well – or doesn’t translate at all – into other languages. For example, acronyms and slang phrases usually don’t work so well when translated. Americans can relate to being out in left field, but people in countries where baseball isn’t popular won’t understand it.

Deciding When to Do DITA

The DITA standard has gotten a lot of press in the last few years, making lots of people wonder if DITA is something they should pursue. There are many organizations who have successfully implemented DITA, and many tools support this new standard. But is it right for you? Here are some things to consider when deciding if you should use DITA:

How to Keep Your Content Management Strategy Moving in the Right Direction

How to Keep Your Content Management Strategy Moving in the Right Direction

If your organization builds content with a CMS, you’re undoubtedly reaping the benefits that an effective content management system can provide.

You’ve put a lot of work into implementing your content management strategy and got it just the way you want it! The momentum is high and everyone is still excited about the positive results they are seeing. Better quality! Faster cycles! Lower costs!

Now what do you do? How do you maintain these results? Or improve them? Here are some things you can do to ensure you continue to move forward with your content management strategy:

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