"Web sites have gone through an evolution," says Dale Pease, president of Walking Stick Productions, a Cuyahoga Falls-based Web developer. "First you had the brochure sites, then people saw the need to update the information and try to use it as a tool to interact with customers. But this was still based on the model of calling your Web developer to make the changes, and it ended up being a bottleneck.
"The changes were made to fit the developer's schedule, and the content was being separated from the people that know the content best."
With new tools like Walking Stick's siteMpower, it's possible for companies to update their sites without the assistance of a programmer or the need to know any computer code.
"This does two things: It keeps you from having to outsource the updating of your Web site, which helps save time and money, and it also helps you distribute the responsibility of the content within your company," says Matt White, vice president, account services, at Walking Stick. "If you have five departments, you can have someone within each department managing their part of the site. On the outside, it allows you to provide the most updated and relevant information to users of your site. You might update it once a month, or update it hourly or weekly."
Special password-protected sections can be established where sensitive information can be shared by certain clients or employees.
"You can do all of this without Web knowledge and no help from the IT guy," says White.
Someone in the company can screen new information before it goes live, if desired, and dates can be set when information appears and is removed from the site.
"Anything they want to the ability to be changed can be changed," says White. How to reach: Walking Stick Productions, (330) 923-7708
How it works
siteMpower is one of several products on the market that allows even a Web novice to update his or her site.
"When we were creating this product, we tried to design the easiest way to go in and update your site," says Dale Pease, president of Walking Stick Productions. "With siteMpower, you physically go to your Web site and log in on the home page. If you have edit rights, you'll see a little edit button on the page that you click on to go into edit mode.
"There is no disconnect, because you add things right there on that page. If you want to edit text, you click on the text you want to change, then click on edit and change it."
For one client, Walking Stick created 20 base template pages to meet specific needs. The client has taken those 20 pages and created a 300-page site, and is expected to have about 1,000 pages when finished.
"When we sat down to do this, we did a lot of research on what was out there," says Pease. "There were a lot of packages that had all the features, but from a usability standpoint, they still looked like they were written by programmers. We started from the ground up, thinking from the standpoint of, 'If I'm a computer dummy and know nothing about the Web at all, what's the easiest way to get in and update my site?'"