According to Research and Markets, experts predict that the web content management market will grow from $4.91 billion in 2017 to $10.63 billion by 2022.
Content management is more than just a matter of filling website pages with text and images. Successful content management requires creating a proper strategy and clear decision-making from Day 1. After working with clients on their Adobe Experience Manager Sites and Assets implementations for the last few years, I have compiled a list of suggested best practices to follow to make sure that as a content owner, you get what you need from your content.
Start with a Model - Make content structure decisions early
One of the most critical content decisions you’ll make is the definition of your site structure. This should occur before development.
Why is this important? This decision will impact how you use AEM going forward. You want your pages to be easily found in Author for content managers, as well as by your site visitors when they browse the site.
Another reason is that the site structure defines your URL. For SEO rankings, the shorter the URL the better. Don't nest pages too deeply. You can leverage AEM's Sling Mapping to remove unhelpful parts of the URL such as /content/.
Also consider what permissions you might need to grant for your authors and create the structure to fit these needs. Now is a good time to think about who will be able to create content, who will be able to publish content and what parts of the site you may want to restrict to a certain group of authors.
If you’re using multilingual sites, leveraging Multi Site Manager (MSM) will help you make use of Blueprints and Live Copies saving time and keeping content organised while the number of sites expands globally,
Lay the Tracks - Use Editable Templates
AEM’s introduction of Editable Templates with version 6.2 gave a lot of flexibility to authors by removing the need to use a developer to create and update templates. Using Editable Templates, the author can define the responsive grid structure, what components are allowed on a page type and what components are added by default when a page is created with a template. The author can also lock components to a template to ensure important areas of a page are not modified.
An added benefit is that updating the template will update all pages created with that template which is a huge timesaver.
Keep in mind that with great responsibility comes great risk. You don't want your pages to suddenly have the footer missing for example - so choose the gatekeeper of templates wisely.
Safety First - Create Versions
Before you dive in and make major changes, you consider creating a new version of your content just in case you need to roll back. Using Versioning you can save versions while you author, then go back in time (only in AEM unfortunately) and compare versions or restore previous ones when needed. AEM nicely highlights the differences between two versions for you so you can see what changes and maybe where things went wrong.
Additionally, you can use the timewarp feature to simulate the published state of a page at specific times in the past allowing you to track the content published to your website at specific points in time.
Both Versioning and Timewarp are useful for investigating issues or understanding what content is most effective.