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Online Ministries Community Blog

Aug 02

How to Write for Web Pages - Part 4 - Do the Writing

Posted by Bill Anderton

In the third installment of this series, I wrote about the very important process of preparing to write. We begin this installment assuming that you have completed all of your preparations.

With all of your givens of your story researched, information collected and confirmed and with your field reporting completed, and quotes gathered, you are now ready to start writing your story.

The writing phase is where you bring everything together and compose the text of your story. It is the payoff of all of the past preparatory work.

In this installment of the series, we will discuss the process of writing your story.

Of Course, Use a Computer to Write

Imploring you to use a computer for your writing almost goes without saying, but I feel I should state it: use a computer to write your story!

Yes, you can write on a table or any other computing device that produces machine-readable text files that can be transmitted to the webmaster upon completion of your assignment.

upi_writing_stories_400w.jpgUse your favorite word processing program so you can use all of its tools and applications like spelling and grammar checkers. However, before you start writing make sure that your webmaster and the website’s editorial team can work with the file you produce.

Don’t embed any photo into your word processing file as a method to transfer your pictures. Send all of your images separately to the webmaster in full resolution when you submit your story. Most word processing programs will do various conversions or transformations of all images embedded into a word processing file. None of these modifications is desirable!

I have met several webmasters who have old-school writers on their web teams that still submit their stories via typewriter-written paper manuscripts. I have even talked to one webmaster that has a writer than hand-writes stories in longhand on legal pads. In all cases, the webmasters accept these non-machine-readable physical manuscripts because these particular people are very good writers. Such paper manuscripts do cause a lot of extra work for the webmaster, but they feel it is worth it to have the participation of such good writers working on their websites.

Make the work of your webmaster easier; use word processing software and computers.

Do You Outline or Not?

For an important long-form story, I might make an outline the story before I begin to write the full text of the story. Long in-depth stories with lots of details often require an outline to keep everything straight.

Also, I’ll develop an outline if the story has to be very short and I need to be very economical with my words. In these cases, if I have to synthesize a lot of concepts and information into very few words so have to prioritize the information I include, I will work everything out in my outline.

In both of these cases, very long and very short stories, outlining my story helps my writing.

I use mind-mapping techniques and a mind-mapping software tool on my PC to develop these outlines. These are highly-efficient tools and well worth the effort. However, nothing more complicated than a legal pad and a pencil can be great outlining tools as well.

For typical short-form stories (a few hundred words), I rarely bother with making an outline first.

Many writers don’t outline before they write. They work their stories out in their head. If you have this ability and it works for you, skip the developing the outline.

Write the Full Text of Your Story

The full text of your story contains the full and complete set of words for the story you have to tell. The full text of your story is what most people think of when asked to write a story. Indeed it is the most important part of the assignment but as you see from this series, the full text of the story is just one of several aspects of the full assignment.

The full text of the story is your opportunity to tell a complete and interesting story to your readers.

If appropriate to your assignment, write the full text of your story should in the following structured format. This structure was specifically developed to give you guidance about how you can communicate the full details about the news you are reporting and supply your readers with the information they need. The proffered structure shown below isn’t the only way to structure a story, but it is a good one and you won’t go wrong using it.

The full text of your story will have several important components written in a certain order. From the top to bottom, we recommend that you follow the format shown below:

  • Dateline - Start the full text of your story with a dateline. A minimum dateline states the city from which news story originates and the date of news you are reporting. A dateline always establishes the context of the origination of the story; when and where. Datelines can be very helpful in the future when people are looking at a past event that is long over and done.
  • Lead - The lead of your story is the first sentence of the first paragraph (or perhaps the first couple of sentences) that contains the most important information about your story. The general idea is quickly to engage the reader and make them want to read more. The next 1-2 sentences expand upon the lead. Your lead must sum up the story while the remainder of your new release elaborates on the lead. The lead should grab the reader’s attention and say concisely what is happening. It is a good idea always to assume that your reader has NOT read your headline or brief abstract; the lead should be able to stand on its own even if nobody reads anything else in your story.
  • Body – the body of your story is the content you write below the lead that provides the details about your lead and expands on the information the lead provides. The body of the full text is typically several hundred words long. The body of the full text of your story should include quotes, if possible, from key staff, parishioners or subject matter experts. It should contain the details about the story you are telling.
  • About - Include a short backgrounder about your church or ministry. A paragraph or two is sufficient. Using "boilerplate" is okay as long as it is descriptive. When a News Editor picks up your news for a story, she would logically have to mention the company in the news article they are writing from your story. News Editors can get the company information from this section.
  • Contact Information – Be sure to include the name and phone number of a contact person for this story. The contact details must be limited and specific only to this particular story. The contact details must include: the church or ministry official’s name that will serve as a contact, office address, telephone and fax numbers with the proper country, area codes and extension numbers, mobile Phone Number (optional), timings of availability. We do not recommend that you include your email address in the body of your release. If you include your email address in the body of your story, you run the risk of receiving SPAM email because your email address will be available on a public website. Rouge spiders from bad actors routinely crawl the Internet harvesting email addresses for spammers. If your website has a “Contact Us” web form with SPAM protection, you may list the web URL for your contact instead of an email address.
  • Your website URL – List the Home Page for your church or ministry. Also, if you have specific web pages set up for you news or event, list the page for this story on your website. The link should be the exact and fully-declared URL of your page without any hidden embedding so that, even when printed, the full URL page is visible.
  • End Signal - Signal the end of your story with three # symbols (###), centered directly underneath the last line of the release. The end signal is an old wire service signal that is now a  journalistic standard.

Tips for Writing the Full Text of Your Story

  • The very first part of your story is your “lead” and it start your story as strong as you can. Your headline and lead should tell a story, and the rest of your story should provide the follow-up details. You have seconds to get the attention of your reader. You have little chance if your opening is weak.
  • Write in an inverted pyramid style like newspaper writing. Place the most important information at the top of the story, extra information in the bottom and the least important information near the bottom. If your readers only read part of the page, they will get the most important information before the move on.
  • Write the full text of your story in news style, which keeps both your sentences and paragraphs short. Paragraphs should be about three or four lines long. The first couple of paragraphs of your story should answer the who, what, when, where, why and how questions for the reader.
  • You must provide more than one paragraph in your story. It is nearly impossible to tell any story to a bunch of total strangers in just a few sentences. Remember, people who are not from your church or your inner circle read your pages and will not likely be familiar with your traditions. If you do not have more than a few sentences in your story, chances are you do not have a newsworthy story.
  • Include your church or ministry name in your lead for better visibility.
  • When writing, use a tone that is personal and upbeat. Avoid bureaucratic writing, which readers will likely consider as out-of-place.
  • Write in the active voice, not passive voice. Using verbs in the active voice will help to bring your story prose to life. Without resorting to hype or superlatives, use strong verbs.
  • Write with economy of words. Use only minimum number of words you need to tell your story. Avoid using unnecessary adjectives and redundant expressions. The fewer number of words you use the better. Keep your story tight, and make each word count. Wordiness and flowery language dilutes and weakens your story, distracting from your message.
  • Assemble your points sequentially: the headline > dateline > the lead > introduction of the news > event or achievements > people > the concluding summary > the church or ministry information > contact information. Tie all of your points together.
  • Never, ever submit a story in all upper case letters. It is very bad form. It is also harder to read. Use mixed case.
  • Avoid the hype. Hype destroys your credibility.
  • Avoid exclamation points when possible. The exclamation point is not your friend in your story. If you must use an exclamation point, use only one, never use multiples.
  • Be careful with puns, innuendoes and double meanings. It takes a very good writer to make this work well. It is even harder, if not impossible, to make this work in a story.

Write the Headline for Your News Story

Your main headline should be brief, clear and direct summary of the key point of your story. Headlines should attract readers. Pay very serious attention to your headline. Also, your main headline on the page (the text within the <h1> tag) carries a lot of weight with the search engines and how they index your page so pay a lot of attention to how you craft the main headline of the story.

Headlines will typically be displayed in bold face and slightly larger than the body text, typically the largest text on the page.

Tips for Writing the Headline for Your Story

  • Good headlines provide a simple statement that conveys the main idea that is in the text of your story; it is the principal concept. The headline may be your only chance to grab your reader’s attention. Keep it concise and factual.
  • I usually recommend that you write your headline last after you have finished the story, so you’re sure you include the most important news elements in the body of the story. If you try to write it before you write a story, you won't yet exactly know what you are going to write in the full text of the story. When you have finished a draft of the story, you may even decide to revise your headline. Then, when finished, write your headline.
  • If practical, include your ministry name in the headline for better visibility if your primary target readers are outside of your congregation. If you can’t work it into the headline, make sure it is in your lead.
  • Conventional headlines are present-tense and exclude "a" and "the" as well as forms of the verb "to be" in certain contexts.
  • Use title case in the headline only, capitalizing the first letter of every word except for prepositions and articles of three characters or less. Do not capitalize every word.
  • Headlines should not have any ending punctuation like periods but can have exclamation points or question marks if needed.
  • The simplest method of planning the headline for your story is to pull out the most important keywords from the full text of your story. Print the full text of the news release and use a highlighter on the keywords. Looking at those keywords, try to construct a logical and attention-getting statement. Using your keywords in your headline will also give you better visibility in search engines.
  • The ideal headline is rarely longer than 80 characters long, but this is only a guideline.
  • Don’t be surprised if your webmaster or web editor changes your headline.

Write the Subheads for Your Story

With your story written, go back and review all of the subheads you have written. If you haven’t written any, add some to your story, particularly if it is a long block of text. The use of subheads will help the readability of your story.

Your subheads should amplify your story as it unfolds. Subheads support and summarize the section of your story below each. Each subhead should capture the essence, the main idea, of its section of the story.

Also, if possible, use important keywords that are targeted for the search engines in your subheads. Subheads typically are encoded with <h2> to <h4> tags and provide readable signals to search engines as they crawl your web page.

Subhead will be displayed in boldface and typical slightly smaller than your main headline.

Tips for Writing the Subheads for Your Story

  • Write your subheads to summarize the section of the story below it.
  • Use the subhead to provide a different supporting perspective to the main headline.
  • The creative use of excellent short quotes can be very effective.
  • Use your important targeted keywords for search engines in your subheads.
  • Your main headline and all of your subheads should serve as a pretty good outline of your story.

Write the Brief Abstract for Your Story

It is often a good idea to include one- or two-paragraphs as a summary, or abstract, of your story.

You can use an abstract in various places and is useful for adding to the home page of your website to interest people and for getting them to jump to the story’s web page to read it.

Typically, your webmaster or web editor will write an abstract, but it will help them if you write it as the author of the story. If you write an abstract, it will help them understand what you consider important within the story.

The brief abstract is also VERY important for getting the full text of your story if it is going to be a long feature.

If your brief abstract, supported by your headline, doesn’t interest your reader enough to click to read your full item, you will reduce the effectiveness and visibility of your full story.

Tips for Writing the Brief Abstract of Your Story

  • Brief abstracts should contain a few sentences that summarize the main points of your news.
  • I recommend that you write your brief abstract after you have finished the full text of your story.
  • Capitalize the first letter of the first word in each sentence of the brief abstract, as should all proper nouns. Most words in the brief abstract should be in lower-case characters. Never capitalize every character in every word.
  • Use proper punctuation including ending periods, exclamation points or question marks.
  • Ask yourself if your reader only reads your headline and brief abstract, will they get the main point of your overall message?

Write a Page Title for the Web Page

The Page Title is the information that appears in the <head> section in the HTML coding of the web page and appears in the <title> tag. Page Titles appear in the very top of web browsers.

The page title is not necessarily the main headline of the story, but it could be.

Often overlooked, Page Titles are very important in how (and if) your page gets indexed into the search engines. All pages in your website should have a unique page title. Always populate this tag.

Write the Description Information for the Web Page

After you have finished writing your story, write a great “description” of the content and furnish the description so your webmaster or web editor can include them in the <meta> tag in the metadata of the web page. In the <meta> tag, you can add a descriptor to include your description that tells search engines what your page or site is about. If it is a good description, search engines will show it verbatim in the search engine results pages (SERPs.)

You should write a good description for each page. However, if search engines determines through their algorithms that a description is badly written or inaccurate when compared with the actual text of the page, the search engines will replace your description with one of its own.

Your hand-written customized description can be much better that what the algorithms make.

The description can greatly improve the click-through rates to your site. Getting your page indexed and made relevant enough to display in the SERPs are just the first steps; the actual payoff only comes when people click on your link in the SERPs and arrive in your web page. A good description helps get more people to click through to your site. It both describes the content of the page and entices them to click.

Click-through rates are very important because they are also signals that the search engines use in ranking your page. Sites with poor descriptions will get fewer clicks which, in turn, will cause search engines to demote your site in favor of other sites with higher click-through rates.

Your description should be no longer than 155 characters including spaces, which is the rule of thumb for most search engines. Some are longer, and some are shorter, which is why this limit is only a rule of thumb.

Write the Keywords for Indexing

When you finish your story, make a list of the important keywords you are actually using in the text of your story, in its headlines and the page title. Furnish this list with your story when you submit it to your webmaster or web editor. Your staff can include these keywords in the <meta> tag in the metadata of the web page when it gets encoded into HTML.

Keywords in the metadata allow you to make suggestions about indexing the story. Web spiders will crawl your pages, and index every word in your story. The keywords listed in the keywords tag doesn’t have to contain everything, only your strongest keywords. Reserve the metadata for only your best keywords.

In the <meta> tag, you are only suggesting to the search engines the way the story indexing. Some search engines, including Google, ignore these suggestions, but it is the best practice still to include them.

  • Choose and use your keywords carefully.
  • Use only keywords in the text of your story.
  • Write keywords from the perspective of the reader. Think like your reader. Use keywords most likely queried by people looking for what you want them to find in your story?
  • Choose good keywords and check to make sure that you are also using the same keywords in the full text of your story.

Don’t go overboard by making too many keywords. Excessive use of keywords just for the purpose of generating signals for the search engines is called “keyword stuffing” and will have a negative on ranking.  There are no hard and fast rules for how many keywords you can optimize for on each page. Only one to three keywords or phrases are a good idea.

General Tips for All of Your Writing

Here are some general tips for developing a good story:

  • Your story usually isn’t advertising; its purpose is to inform the world, not to “make a sale.” Rewrite your story if it starts to read like an ad. If it sounds like an ad, it is. Ignore this tip if you are indeed writing for direct promotion on your website. It is okay to write ads like ads, but don’t write feature stories like ads.
  • A good story answers all of the "W" questions (who, what, where, when and why), providing the media with useful information about your organization or event.
  • The tone of your writing should be neutral and objective, not full of hype and puffery.
  • Write in the third person. A story purports to a report from a third party; be a reporter when you report on yourself or your ministry.
  • Don’t excessively use text formatting like boldface, italics and font color to attempt to emphasize something. Similarly, use exclamation points sparingly. Never underline text for emphasis (underlines implies it is a hyperlink.) It is very easy to go overboard with these types of formatting for emphasis. If you emphasize too much, nothing is emphasized. Instead, use your writing style to make things important. Also, something important enough to require emphasis is worth a headline and dedicated paragraphs in your story.
  • Deal with and stick to facts like events, services, people, targets, goals, plans and projects. Always tell the truth. Avoid the hype, fluff, puffery, over-embellishments and exaggerations. Try to provide the maximum use of the solid facts available to you. If your story sounds too good to be true and is light on facts, you are probably hurting your credibility. Even if it is true, you don’t want to overstate your case. Tone it down.
  • Avoid jargon, particularly church jargon. Jargon is a short-cut language known only to insiders; your potentials reader may have no clue as to what it means. While a very limited amount of jargon may be necessary for your story for online search engines, jargon is a bad idea. The best writing speaks plainly, using ordinary language that can be understood by everyone.
  • Explain your acronyms. Using short cuts like FCC, FBC and CWF are very likely to be unknown to a large part of your audience. Remember, the scope of the distribution of your story. The distribution of your story will far outside of the circle where such acronyms will be well unknown.
  • If you are new to writing, search for actual stories on the web to get a feel for their structure, language, tone and format.
  • Rarely, if ever, write in all capital letters. All-caps is harder to read than upper and lower case. Acronyms are just about the only things that should use all-caps.
  • Pay some attention to the timing of your story. It must be relevant and recent; not too old and not too far off in the future.
  • Where appropriate, include a "call to action" in your story stating directly what you want the public to do with the information that you are releasing. Do you want them to attend your event? If so, include information on where to make reservations or how to find a venue. Do you want them to visit your Web or learn more about your organization? If so, include the Web address and ask them to visit.
  • We recommend that you write your headline and brief abstract (rather than leaving it to the webmaster) so you’re sure that those items include the most important news elements in the full text of the story. The headline may be your only chance to grab your reader’s attention. Keep it concise and factual. If you try to write it before you write the new release, you don't yet know what you are going to say in the full text of the release and may miss the best angle for your headline and abstract. When you have finished a draft of the release, you may even decide to revise your lead. Then, write your headline.
  • Always get written permission before including information or quotes from employees, church members, companies or organizations.
  • Desk-check your story when finished writing. If you don’t have proofreading skills, read your story out loud. Reading you story aloud makes it easy not only easy to spot mistakes, but also find rough spots in your prose as well.
  • Always follow rules of grammar. Errors in grammar affect your credibility. Excessive errors will cause a lot of extra work for your webmaster.
  • Be sure to check spelling but don’t rely on just spell-check.
  • Proofread all of your text before turning your story over to your webmaster. Consider having someone else read your text, someone who has not previously seen the material. Typically, your webmaster will also proof your story, but in the rush to get content posted, don't depend on it.
  • After the story gets posted, check to make sure something important wasn't accidently changed in editing.
  • Check and recheck your facts and all links. Incorrect information or information that is out of date is useless to your readers. These types of errors will also reflects poorly on you and your church or ministry. Double-check spelling of names, phone numbers, statistics, dates, titles, addresses, and link URLs. Also, check any other facts cited in your story for accuracy before you hand the story over to your webmaster. Recheck facts on a regular basis to make sure the information remains valid.
  • Be consistent throughout your story. Some words have multiple spellings; i.e. “email” and “e-mail”. Pick one spelling and stay with it throughout the entire release. Style guides (like the AP Stylebook) often list the commonly-accepted style for these types of words. Staying consistent.
  • Standardized way things like street addresses and dates are written in your stories.

Scanability of the Finished Web Page

Here, I am using the term “scanability” to describe how the page scans when someone lightly skims the web page when reading. I’m not talking about making a digital photocopy of your page!

People read web pages differently than other media like books. It is imported to understand how your writing and its layout on the page will best make visible your relevant topics.

Granted, the scanability of a page involves more than just the writer because the way the page is presented to the user is also a product of how the webmaster encodes the page in HTML. However, how the page scans to a reader certainly begins with the writer of the raw text. Keeping scanability in mind when you write your story, it is very important to the success of the resulting web page.

Reading the content of the website is much like reading a newspaper. When typical readers pickup a newspaper to read, they don't start with the first sentence in the upper right-hand corner on the front page and read sequentially all the way through the newspaper to the last sentence on its last page. In other words, you don’t read a newspaper like you do a book. It is not a sequential media; people jump around and read things that catch their attention.

When reading newspapers, readers scan the front page for headlines and subheads that standout and then stop on the headlines that catch their attention. With their attention captured, they read the related article attached to the headline.

Also, it is possible that readers first see an interesting sub-headline for a story on its “jump-page” on page 6, and immediately turn back to the front page to read that story in its entirety. Readers often jump back and forth. Newspapers, by design, are “relational” rather than “sequential.” They are not ready just one story but of many different stories. People jump around and read only those things that catch their attention and interest. Rarely does anyone read an entire newspaper; only those things that they find that engage them.

People read websites much the same way. No matter what page they use to enter the site, they scan the web page for those things that capture their interest. Typically, these people scan for things that easily stand out; like headlines, bullet items, links and navigation aids. In other words, both text and its formatting will enhance the scanability of your web page.

Commonly, visitors to websites might come into the site looking for something specific but find something else in their scan of the page that is entirely different from what they came in to see. Instinctively, website visitors on the lookout for information they are interested in after the fact of landing in the web page. The quick click-in and click-out behavior is typical “web surfing” common to most visitors to a web site.

It is wise to exploit this fact. Make sure all pages can be scanned by providing obvious cues for important information so your visitor can quickly spot them.

  • Make your headlines obvious and relevant
  • Subheads are important!
  • Use bullet point where appropriate
  • Use appropriate text formatting, such as boldface and italics to draw the eye to important points
  • Don’t hide your links to other content by making their color the same as regular text. Similarly, think twice about removing the underline
  • Pay a lot of attention to the design of your navigation systems that make it easy for people to move around in your whole website
  • Be frugal with your scanability features and reserve them for the most important things; you can do too much and, if so, nothing will stand out!

Scanability is important for all website visitors, but particularly important for visitors who land in your website from search engine referrals. If your pages scan well, you will capture their attention before they click out to go to another search result. The content on your page only has a few seconds to accomplish the initial capture. A story that has good scanability will not only help the capture visitor initially, but also will hold them for a longer time and increase the visitors’ dwell time of within your story.

Further, upon additional scanning, your newly-captured visitor might click on another one of your pages. Typically, if you can get them to click once, they will click a lot. If you apply this technique to a whole website, your website visitors might stay and ready ten pages or more and come away with a deeper look at your church.

Establish and Nurture Trust

Never approach developing web pages with the assumption that just because you are a church or ministry that what you say is trusted or believed.

Any website, even those of churches and ministries, operates in an environment of low initial trust among visitors, particularly among those visitors who do not belong to your church. After all, we’re talking about the Internet, and your outside visitors don’t know you.

You only have limited opportunities to build trust, but many opportunities to lose it. Never take trust for granted or put your trust in danger by overselling your story with hype or incorrect information.

It is okay to be enthusiastic but don’t be too pushy. Present your story in a way to build trust.

Special Note About Plagiarism

In short, never plagiarize; not even for a little bit of your story!

Plagiarism is not only bad form; it can damage your credibility and the trust your visitors place in your website as a source of information.

With so many sources on the web, copying text from an outside source is a big temptation. There are a lot of good sources on the web. You may sometimes wish that you had said what they said and be tempted to copy. Don’t yield to this temptation!

Please understand that copying open-source material like Wikipedia (and others) is still plagiarism even if copyright isn’t an issue. Copying any third-party source without attribution and proper citation of the source is still plagiarism.

Merriam-Webster.com defines “plagiarize” as “to use the words or ideas of another person as if they were your words or ideas.” In this example, I copied the Merriam-Webster definition exactly, but I cited the source and put the copied information in quotations. I did not claim the words or ideas as my own. By citing the source, I avoided plagiarism.

Plagiarism can also happen accidentally. Your might copy something into your note, typically a short paragraph from some source and then forget that you copied it. When you start writing your story, you can then copy from your notes and end up plagiarizing the source accidentally. Be careful, even in your notes.

Plagiarism is very easy to avoid. When using any copy of any source material, always accurately cite the source. Citations turn plagiarism into a perfectly valid third party source.

Check with your webmaster about any standards your website has and about the style of citations to be use.

Submit Your Completed Story Assignment

Assemble all of the components of your finished story for submission to your webmaster.

Be sure that you use a good naming convention for all of your various files that you will be sending to your webmaster. What is clear and obvious to you might not be so obvious to an outside third party looking at your files for the first time. Remember, webmasters have to work with lots of files so using clear and intuitive naming convention will be very much appreciated.

Some webmasters may make a file-naming standard for use by the entire web team. If so, be sure to comply with the furnished standard.

Your submission should include all of the various files you make including the main story, metadata and any other files with important information including any photos you are submitting.

If you think submitting your notes and other background information that you didn’t include in your story will help, submit these things too if you wish. Be sure to label the files appropriately. In addition to making a page(s) for your story, often webmasters will also make promotional material like blurbs and paragraphs that appear on other pages in the site. Some of the information in your notes might help making this material.

Also, if your story is very complex with lots of details that need fact checking, your notes might help the fact checker.

On large stories with many files in their submissions, some writers bundle all of their files into a single ZIP file. This technique is used not necessarily to compress the files for faster transmission but to put all of the files into a single ZIP archive to aid logistics by putting all of the files in one place.

Submitting completed assignments by e-mail is pretty much the standard convention although some people pass files in USB drive in physical meetings. Some webmasters setup FTP (file transfer protocol) services on their web servers specifically for the purposes of transferring files among the members of their web teams. Since FTP does not have an upper limit of the size of the file that it can handle, this is particularly effective for the files that are too large to attach to e-mail messages. Also, some webmasters are setting up DropBox services for the same reasons.

Some churches and ministries use advanced content management systems (CMS) for the production, operations and management of their websites. I strongly recommend this approach for all ministries, even small ones. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a provider of a proprietary CMS for churches and ministries. I am naturally biased toward the use of CMS in any website. When CMS are used, each writer and contributor may be given access to the CMS to post their content (text, pictures and metadata) directly into web pages.

Work-in-progress stories are supported by most CMS systems through workflow management processes; stories can be embargoed and not published until you have completed the editorial process. Workflow management allows checking and editing the story privately before it gets published and made available to the public.

CMS-based websites have a major advantage that results from abstracting all of the designs, coding and technical operations from content authors. Authors only have to focus on creating their content and posting their work product into purpose-built form fields (including drag-and-drop or copy-and-paste methods.) When finished entering the content, the author clicks the “Submit” button. Submission triggers sophisticated and automated process that yields a properly formatted web page only awaiting the editorial process. The bifurcation of authoring from the complex coding and formatting of web pages means authors can almost solely focus on the creation process rather than technology ones.

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