Home > Articles > Programming > ASP .NET

Content Management Options for .NET Portals, Intranets, and Corporate Web Sites

  • Print
  • + Share This
If you're designing, developing, and implementing Web portals using Microsoft servers and the .NET Framework, at some point you'll need to put stuff on your site. (Well, duh.) The Microsoft .NET platform offers several content management options, and this sample book chapter will give you an exhaustive overview of the choices.
This chapter is from the book

Without content, a portal would be a lonely place. The volume and richness of web content are what brings users back to a portal again and again, whether it is an internal portal for knowledge management or an external portal to create a virtual community and a market for goods and services. While portal content could be created as most web sites are created, one page at a time through authoring tools such as Microsoft FrontPage or Macromedia Dreamweaver or through HTML coding in a simple editor, major portals rely on content management systems to automate the creation, editing, and maintenance of thousands or hundreds of thousands of web pages. You should consider content management for your organization, as it can have the biggest payoff of all your portal initiatives.

In many ways, content management is at the heart of a portal, whether it is an enterprise portal or an external portal, because so much content resides in web pages. The content management system is also an embodiment of the site taxonomy, and it governs the site navigation. It creates the consistent "look-and-feel" that is essential to giving users a positive experience in the portal. If all you did to implement a portal was to implement content management, migrate all pages to the system, and enable users to create their own fresh content, you would be providing quite an enhancement over what most web sites offer.

The first content management systems were created as custom solutions, and some served as the basis for what later became commercial content management systems. Content management systems consist of a repository where content is stored, one or more frontends for authoring and other management tasks such as review and approval, and additional components to enforce content management business rules and provide services such as notification to authors and reviewers of changes in the status of a page. The repository is typically a relational database, and the frontend systems are most often browser-based.

Measuring Return on Investment for Content Management

Automating content management is one of the portal initiatives with the highest return on investment. While portal content does not necessarily bring revenue in the door like the commerce section of a portal, organizations with large, complex web sites spend a great deal of time and money on maintaining that content, and a content management system (CMS) can result in significant cost savings.

The first value in the equation is to determine how much you are already spending on content management. How many hours of your web team's time are spent on creating or editing content? Is your webmaster responsible for fixing typographical errors in content? What is the cost of this time? What is the hourly rate or salary for the people engaged in content management? Don't forget to include the time of content authors who submit items to be posted on the web site. How much time do they spend on this activity?

Next, what is the lag time in posting content, from authoring to going live? The delay is often significant because the web team can be a bottleneck that slows down the process of updating and adding content. What is the value of more timely updates to your web site? Would improved communication on the web site increase customer satisfaction or make other constituents happier? How much would that improvement be worth to you?

Now calculate the cost of implementing a content management system. What would be the cost for hardware, software, maintenance, implementation, and conversion services? Over how many years should the investment be amortized?

This return on investment exercise may be enough to interest management in the development of your portal. By adding content management capabilities, you can significantly increase the growth of portal content, thereby leading to higher use of the portal.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account