Content Management

What is an anchor skill?

Anchor_art_t An anchor skill is a basic component in a professional's repertoire that one should have, regardless of any other changes in environment or technology. So, what anchor skills should a writer have? Read the rest of this entry »

Beating Windward toward success

Sailboat

Beating windward: it’s a nautical thing.

My younger days were spent as a daily beat reporter and later, as a freelancer, and I had a lot less stuff to worry about. Knocking around central Florida in an old Toyota Celica with a couple changes of clothes, a volleyball, and a battered copy of Neal Stephenson’s Snow Crash in the trunk is a fond memory now.

As a writer, I doubt that I’ll recapture the spirit of those younger days, crashing on friends’ couches and brainstorming with them about our respective Next Great Novels. But I still keep moving forward and writing. The skill remains necessary even as the medium changes around me.

Take a few minutes to check out the site of a friend of mine who’s moving forward with his own vision, one he talked about often when we hung out during those central Florida brainstorming sessions. What I mean is, he started an independent publishing company. And he did it right: he went and got a master’s degree in the field, and then combined his love of the written word and his love of sailing with a wish to see more of his friends’ awesome stories in print. And now the world has Beating Windward Press to deal with. Check out his first imprints, and enjoy.

How to query editors: A guide for freelancers

As an editor I regularly get queries across my desk. And because of the size of my company, I often play a deciding role in hiring a freelancer. So I've moved to the other side of the desk, figuratively, from being a freelancer trying to figure out what pitch is going to sell, to being the person being sold to. If that makes any sense. Anyway, I've seen good and bad queries. By “bad,” I mean that the freelancer didn't just not get the nod to write for my company – he or she got roundfiled. Read the rest of this entry »

Content management systems for beginners

One thing I was surprised to learn when I became a web editor is that there is still a sharp divide between writers: those who know how to use content management systems, and those who do not. There is no in-between. They either have had exposure to the CMS environment, or they have not.

This is heartening to me, believe it or not. Because I have not yet met any freelancer or new hire who said, “well, I'm kind of good at online blogging but haven't learned XYZ yet.” They say either, “I have used CMSs in the past and can learn yours,” or “I do not know how to use a CMS.” Read the rest of this entry »

PawsCorner.com: stay tuned

PawsCorner.com

Those of you who visit the PawsCorner.com website have probably been thinking lately, what’s up with the site? It’s got a very generic look at the moment.

PawsCorner.com is in the midst of a slight technical meltdown. As a result of that, and just a lot of months of frustration in trying to manage its CMS, PawsCorner.com will soon be sporting an updated design and a new back end.

Basically, I’ll be shifting the site from a Joomla platform to a WordPress platform. This is a bit of an undertaking and some of the old content may be lost in the process, so I’m taking my time and making sure everything is backed up, accessible, and can be loaded into the brand-new platform without any glitches.

Why the shift? When PawsCorner.com first went live, true content management systems were expensive, custom-made, and out of reach to most small businesses and individuals. The choice was either a blog, or a static HTML site. The blogging format wasn’t a direction I wanted to go in at the time. But then open source CMS entered the picture: Drupal and Joomla (Mambo, at the time). With just a little technical knowledge and enough time on one’s hands, an effective CMS could be built relatively quickly. I sat down, compared the two, and went with Joomla. The learning curve wasn’t as steep as Drupal’s–the hardest part for me was designing a functional template, not figuring out the CMS. So while Drupal in my opinion was and is vastly more flexible for developers than Joomla, my goal at the time was to get a CMS-driven website up quickly.

Joomla was in a great position at the time to grab small business owners like myself who had almost no web budget, and did a great job of it. Its community was enthusiastic–I attended at least two of the New England region Joomla workshops in the past four years. But I think the competition has caught up, finally. Read the rest of this entry »