How the NY Public Library Successfully Rolled Out Website Content Management

At yesterday’s quarterly meeting of the Not-for-Profit Webmaster Round Table, we shared a particularly interesting discussion on website content management.  As group founder and leader David Milner pointed out, nonprofits spend considerable time and money to update a website, but not nearly as much effort to keep site content fresh and relevant.

Although there are many great open source content management systems available, I’ve noticed that it’s still a challenge for many nonprofits to decentralize the process of updating website content at our organizations.  But at least one organization at our meeting has figured out how to do it right.  Michelle Misner, Digital Project Manager at the NY Public Library, kindly shared her experience with us yesterday in rolling out Drupal which “revolutionalized” how their website is maintained.  How did they do it?

  1. Setup extensive training both during rollout and on an ongoing basis to familiarize staff with the new software
  2. Recruited senior management to spearhead the process, including the modification of staff roles to include responsibility for website content updates
  3. Using permissions, user rights and specific Drupal content types, entrusted staff with responsibility for specific areas of the website and chose not to use an intricate approval process.  Instead, there is a staff person who monitors site updates.
  4. Encouraged in-house developer to learn Drupal to maintain the system instead of having to continue to rely on the outside firm which assisted with the implementation.

We also took a look at how to optimize web content for specific contents, such as the Boston Globe‘s impressive use of responsive design,  shared tips for getting the most from Google AdWords and debated the latest Facebook news feed updates.

Thanks to David for having kept our group active for several years and to Michelle for sharing her story about how we can better manage content for our websites.  Quoting David, paying attention to your website could make the difference between your organization receiving an online donation, attracting a volunteer – or not.

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