A long time ago, Deane Barker swung through DC on business and I was lucky enough to have breakfast with him. Even luckier, he gave me a copy of the book he had recently published through O’Reilly, Web Content Management. After nearly two years, during which I read very few non-fiction books, I picked it up and gave it a read.
I’m glad that I did.
I am not going to profess having learned a ton about Web Content Management (WCM) from reading Deane’s book. After all, I have been doing this whole content management thing for a while. However, it was great to read a collection of wisdom from Deane’s decades of experience focused in this domain. Deane is an excellent write and his practical (and witty) use of footnotes really conveys what is involved when you tackle a WCM project.
The book covers everything you need to know in implementing WCM in your organization. Just a sampling of important topics he covers are
- Foundational WCM concepts
- Flavors of Web Content Management System (WCMS or simply CMS) out there
- Technology selection
- Realities of running a WCM project
- Migrations and why you need to pay more attention to them
While he doesn’t cover every topic definitively, he brings them together in a way that is definitive. Each of the topics could be their own book. Many do have excellent books written to expound upon that topic. Deane brings many of those experts to offer their perspectives in his book.
An important thing that Deane doesn’t cover in depth, which he clearly states, is the design of your website. You aren’t going to learn about Content Strategy, Information Architecture, or User Experience. What you do learn is how to best take those elements to use in selecting a CMS and building a website.
The Best Part
This book isn’t aimed at consultants. While they will get a lot out of it, this book is aimed at people who are tasked with getting their organization’s website up and running. Too often the people tasked with building a new website have never done it before. If they have it was for their church or kid’s Scout troop.
This is a must read for people who are responsible for a website. Ideally it should be read before undertaking a fresh build, a redesign, or a platform migration. It sets the expectations for how a project should work, what you can expect from implementers, and how to best take advantage of your resources.
If you are in the business of helping people build websites, read this book. More importantly, give it to your clients. When you receive a Request for Proposal (RFP), send them a copy of this book immediately. THEN start working on your response.
If you are ever tasked with building a website of sufficient complexity that you are hiring people to build it, you need to read this book first. You will be able to better anticipate issues, create realistic plans, and work better with both the CMS vendor and your implementation partner.
Deane has written a great resource distilling his hard-won experience that is easy to read. Do yourself a favor and read it yourself.
Disclaimer: I was not paid or otherwise compensated for this review. The author gave me a copy of the book for free and requested that I write a review of it if I liked it.