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Multi-site Fundamentals: Managing Multiple Websites With a CMS

by Siv Rauv

26 Sep 2018

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Many larger organisations now engage in enterprise website planning to handle their multiple websites along with its content and all of the authors and users that manage them. However, the inconvenience of logging in and out of various screens to manage each site can be daunting.

An enterprise content management system (CMS) solves this problem by enabling organisations to manage multiple sites (multi-sites) from one central database. This makes for a powerful tool for those running more than one website and can also be used to manage intranets, online training programs and more, all from within a single instance of a CMS deployment.

This means that assets, users and content can all be accessed from a central database with the help of comprehensive and granular permission control. Not only does this save a huge amount of time for those working on projects, it also massively increases productivity as employees no long have to switch between screens and logins, in order to update multiple sites.

Common Asset Repository

Managing common assets such as blogs, articles, videos and so on can be tricky if it’s not all held in a central database, as it can be difficult to avoid duplication or even find where a particular piece of content is kept.

With a multi-site single interface and login, this is avoided as all content is stored in the same place. This makes it a simple matter to use common assets for more than one site, as changes made to the central document are automatically updated across the board. This does of course depend on how permissions and workflows are set up, both of which can be done to offer the most efficient process to the company.

This also improves on search taxonomies, as this can be configured to allow for enterprise-wide searches. Search can be adapted to suit each site, both internally and externally.

Each site can have search configuration altered to suit the individual needs it requires. This can be done so that search results are hidden from outside parties, or microsites can have results returned in the main company results.

Results can also be extended to allow for more content types, such as events etc.

St Vincent's Health, for example, manages 36 facilities including 6 public hospitals and 9 private hospitals. They required individual websites promoting and providing information on each hospital and chose to use the Elcom platform to launch multi-sites for their facilities. There are common services and resources across all hospitals resulting in the same content on each website. However, there is also information such as location, services, specialist directory that is unique to each location.

Ease of Use for Employees

One of the biggest benefits having a multi-site CMS can afford a company is ease of use for employees and content creators. The single login allows for increased productivity and a common experience for them to work within.

How this helps is obvious, time is reduced on administration and employees can find and alter content across multiple sites with ease. The common interface allays confusion and gives a uniform working experience, so that less training is required when a new member of staff is employed.

It’s not just the employees that benefit from a single database environment though, having just one database to maintain is obviously going to do more to reduce maintenance time than if all assets are managed from different databases.

Not only does this mean that it’s only necessary to apply software updates to one single database, but it is also very useful for managing logins. With a multi-site CMS, gone are the days when it’s necessary for an employee to have several logins in order to access different databases and software, now it can all be done from a single login.

Again this cuts down on time needed when new employees join the company or someone leaves. Rather than having to track down and delete several logins and permissions for an old employee, having a centralised database means that this can be done in next to no time. Likewise, setting up an account for a new worker is quick and simple, reducing IT support and administration considerably and saving on the cost associated with it.

Powerful Web and Intranet Solutions

A multi-site CMS is a powerful and necessary solution for those that manage more than one web site alongside staff training initiatives and the company intranet. The benefits are numerous and mostly concerned with time and money-saving.

Having one single sign in where content creators can find and alter one document for all instances where it’s used has obvious benefits. The ROI on purchasing a multi-site CMS can be substantial for many enterprises, especially those that use ecommerce as it can significantly reduce the amount of time necessary for managing them.

Further to this, a centralised database streamlines the company’s operation overall by placing everything in one place and using single logins for different permission groups. This automates many work processes and reduces the time needed to update content, sign into different sites, administration and the overall productivity of the company. 

Need more assistance selecting the right CMS for your needs? Check out 'The Ultimate Guide to Selecting Your Ideal CMS'. Developed by experts, this guide is your essential resource for selecting and implementing the ideal CMS for your needs. It comes packed with ready-to-use templates for content audits, migration, and implementation plans, setting you up for success from day one. Simply fill in the form below to receive your copy.

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