Once live, many websites get little or no software and security updates anymore, so they become quickly outdated and their security also leaves much to be desired. This is an even bigger challenge for government agencies or companies that cover more than one website. Unless they opt for a scalable Content Management System that allows all websites to be realized in the same corporate identity and that implements technical updates through a central platform automatically. One ensures more uniformity and recognizability; the other makes for huge timesavings and predictability of costs. Bloovi spoke with Wouter Rummens, account manager at Paddle. At the request of the Flemish government, this SaaS company developed a CMS that guarantees uniformity across multiple websites. We asked him why such a system is a must for many companies with multiple brands and/or websites.
Do not put everything into one website
Do not doubt that the problem the Flemish government struggled with until a few years ago, is painfully recognizable for many organizations and companies: a tangle of many websites that differ so strongly in terms of branding that consistency or uniformity has long ceased to exist. "Moreover, it turned out that many of those websites were no longer up-to-date in terms of content. Staff turnover resulted in new colleagues no longer knowing how the website could be adjusted or simply because it had become too complex. Moral of the story; the more websites you manage, the more time it takes to update them all."
In the case of the Flemish government, it was clear that there was an urgent need for a harmonized approach: not only visually - one digital corporate identity to increase the online recognizability for citizens - but also regarding technical updates and support. "Integrating all the content in one website proved to be unrealistic," according to Rummens. "For some, that might seem like the ideal scenario, but when everything is poured into one website, you are quickly confronted with conflicts, usually to do with structural issues within the organizations. The big advantage of working with separate websites that use the same platform is that every department can still do their own thing when it comes to content.”
Ease of use is key
In 2013, Paddle started developing an Open Source Drupal Content Management System at the request of the Flemish Government. Because the focus was on ease of use, future users were very closely involved in that development process. "The intention was to enable people without technical knowledge, but with a marketing or communication profile, to build a website, maintain it and add new functionalities themselves. Today, five years later, we can say that we have succeeded in doing so."
Individual web administrators no longer need to worry about the visual corporate identity and technical updates since they are managed in the overarching level above them. "That means that people without any html or other prior technical knowledge can easily collaborate on the website as well. They are perfectly cable to create new pages on their website and manage them. They can do so with or without an editorial team, as the system allows for different user roles."
The perfect cocktail
“Everybody has different priorities when choosing a scalable CMS platform like ours: a marketing manager will favor brand consistency, an IT manager finds the monthly updates with new developments and security updates as well as predictability of the costs most important, while others may prefer speed, user-friendliness and time savings. By combining all of these ingredients into one system, you get the perfect cocktail," emphasizes Rummens.
"Suppose that an organization covers several websites that have all been built in different ways, you are forced to re-create every development or link for each of those websites. Thanks to our concept, our CMS continues to grow and a company or organization only needs to do that once."
"Every four weeks, we carry out an update so that all websites managed from the central platform remain technically up-to-date at all times. The moment we add new functionalities, bug fixes and security updates, these are immediately available for the hundreds of websites that are linked to the platform. That way, you build an open source community, which can be very valuable. We also provide a central access management to avoid access problems when a colleague leaves the organization.”
Open source community
Today, over 300 websites and no less than 1.800 users have access to Paddle's Content Management System. For now, these are mainly from the government and education environment, but Paddle now also wants to break into the business world.
"At the Web Summit in Lisbon, we once again saw how many companies have a hard time realizing corporate branding across several websites," explains Wouter Rummens. "Companies that realize they are stuck there want to be helped. Because they realize that a uniform corporate identity and a website that is up-to-date and continues to grow helps to create more brand consistency and more online recognizability."
"Our CMS is always centralized, but for every new website we define the visual theme in advance. Such a theme determines the visual guidelines for each organization and can be centrally updated. Content-wise, every website is free to do their own thing without compromising the uniformity of the digital corporate identity. That makes us quite unique in the market.”
Do you want to know more about how to ensure consistency across multiple websites? Take a look at our website and register for more information without obligation.
Original was posted on Bloovi, on 13/11/2017: link.