Making it easy to reuse your site content

Different types of content collections

Image: Different 'content collections'.

Summary: Making it easy to reuse website content around a site is often claimed but not always achieved. The use of content item collections and blocks containing different content types is a great way of doing this. That's where the website content management system Perch Runway excels.

There are many website content management systems (CMS) and they all make it easier to manage the content (text, images, videos etc.) of your website. Yet, they do this quite differently. On the one hand, there are blogging and page-based systems that give you an easy way to edit posts and pages. Alternatively, there are systems that mix and match this with the ability to add 'widget' (content) areas and to position these in different areas of the site.

These are great systems but I've decided recently that more flexibility is needed. The site's editor (content writer) needs to create the content and be able to reuse it in different areas of the site (in pretty much any location, not just widget areas). They need to choose from pre-existing content items at the same time as they are creating new content.

In fact, I was only discussing this at a Horsham coworking day this morning where my coworker wanted to create travel itineraries. Each itinerary has different sections that are often shared between itineraries but in a different order each time. An ideal job for Perch Runway I said! Unfortunately, he's using a different system, which makes this more difficult, and doesn't want to change for other reasons. Oh well.

Why Perch Runway?

Perch Runway is the bigger brother/sister of Perch CMS. It has several features that make content reuse very easy.

  1. Firstly, it has Collections which are a way of storing content items, for example, product descriptions, portfolio items, and customer testimonials, but that aren't necessarily tied to a specific page for editing. They can be used anywhere on the site.
  2. Next, it's possible to set-up Perch Blocks1. They contain different types of content, for example text areas, image upload fields, and other content areas based on templates. Blocks can also contain items from Collections. This means that an editor can choose an item(s) from a Collection and use it within that area of the page. Blocks can be reordered using drag and drop.
  3. And, there are content relationships which allow items from one Collection to be displayed in another Collection, for example authors and their articles.

I've upgraded this CVW Web Design site to Perch Runway and the combination of these features makes for a very powerful and flexible content management experience. It's awesome! Being a 'reserved' Brit, I don't use that word very often ;-) so take it from me, I'm impressed!

Note: 1 Blocks work with regular Perch as well as Perch Runway. Collections and relationships are only available in Runway.

In conclusion

I'm sure that my clients will appreciate how Runway enables content management and reuse across an entire site. As a result, I'll be using Perch Runway a lot more in my Perch web development work.

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