A couple months ago, I posted about one of the great features that Sitecore brings to content managment on our public-facing web sites--content workflows. This week, I'd like to take a few lines to describe the idea of reusable content.
First the context: Across our web sites--especially sites for our colleges--there is a LOT of content that is (or should be) the same from site to site, like tuition rates. Until now, the content managers of each site have been responsible for their own content. Of course, with so many sites, it's easy for content--even content that should be exactly the same--to become inaccurate, get out of date, and even give contradictory information.
With the advent of Sitecore--our System wide content management system--we now have the opportunity to centralize management of common information and services. So let's go back to the example of tuition rates and talk about how reusable content can help.
In Sitecore, we can create one master page that lists the correct tution rate for the current academic year. This page can be managed by one person who has ultimately responsibility for the tuition rate. Then we can take that single page and "syndicate" (or reuse) it to all of our college web sites. This simply means that each college's tuition and fees page will pull in the information from the one master page, instead of the tuition rate information being managed separately for each site. But the best part is that whenever a change is made to the one master page, the change will be reflected immediately on all of our college web sites. No more need for e-mails to web masters to change information, no more delays in updating content, and no more contradictory information. Resuable content lets us cut down on duplication while also ensuring greater accuracy and freshness of content.
We're extremely excited about this possibility, and we've even started using it for our "Tuition and Fees" pages, as well as our "Policy and Terms" pages. It's a small start, of course, but we know there will be lots of areas where reusable content will help make our web sites better and more usable for all our visitors.
Interested in learning more about reusable content, or anything else that Web Services is working on? Be sure to let us know--we'll be glad to chat about all the exciting things we're involved in!