How Do I Make Content Editing Easy For My Clients?
by Rob Nijkamp
As a web designer, in your daily workflow, you often face the never-ending content revisions requests from your clients. Usually those changes are limited to some point but wouldn't it be easier if they can just do it themselves? It will save you and them precious time and also will keep you focused on current projects. In this article we will review some of the best practices used in Web design for content editing, even for people that have no idea of HTML but yet very powerful and simple to use.

Available Content Editing Solutions

So what is the best way to let your clients edit static website content without the use of technical expertise?

You have to make sure it is a WYSIWYG authoring environment, so content authors and contributors can edit or update any website or blog without having to learn HTML. WYSIWYG stands for "What You See Is What You Get". In these editors you don't have to edit the source code of your web pages. So instead of writing blocks of code manually, you manipulate with design components using an editor window. This means that you view something very similar to the end result while the document or image is being created.

There are a number of WYSIWYG editors and here you can explore the things you can do with them. Our list consists of 4 Adobe products, a CMS and the latest DMXzone's Online Page Editor Add-on with the Advanced HTML Editor 3, all great but yet effective enough?

Adobe Dreamweaver

Actually Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 is the last to think of, because this is the tool for you as a web designer.

Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 lets you create professional websites by code or the designer's view. The program is very versatile and has extensive tools to implement any needed component to the website. The adaptability is huge, but Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 is not quite cheap and it is a complex program wherefore professional expertise is needed.

Adobe Contribute

Another powerful web publishing and site management program is Adobe Contribute CS5. As mentioned before, Adobe Dreamweaver CS5 is used for creating websites, but Adobe Contribute CS5 is especially built for the clients who want to edit their webpages as easy as possible.

Adobe Contribute CS5 enables instant preview of the edited content with enhanced CSS rendering, and without the need of author's HTML knowledge.  Adobe Contribute CS5 consists of two components, a client for editing, and a "publishing server". It also includes an in-browser editing component, that works as a plug-in but also very pricy.

Adobe Business Catalyst

Adobe Business Catalyst is a hosted online business building application. Since it's hosted, you can access it and edit it from any browser anywhere.  So it is perfect for your clients to edit the content without breaking the design. Because of the adobe licensing it brings many disadvantages wherefore you'll never provide a full independent platform to let your clients work on. It won't even allow you to create a beautiful website with seamless merging.

InContext Editing

Adobe InContext Editing is an editingcomponent delivered with CS4 and CS5, but will be discontinued as a standalone service in 2011. When userswant to modify a Web page, they can skim the page, activate it into Adobe InContext Editing and are ready to edit. The editing options are simple and elegant and again no HTML knowledge is required.

Before you let your clients edit their website you still need Adobe Dreamweaver to finalize the process and its future is uncertain at this moment of time.

Content Management System

Another tool is the Content Management System (CMS), because a CMS gives your clients complete control over their websites. They will have the ability to update content, add pictures, links, articles and even change or add more categories to the navigation bar. Seems like the perfect solution for websites that contains hundreds of pages but not so much.

Free dominating CMSs are Drupal, Joomla, and WordPress. Many web develop companies sell their own CMS but these are very expensive because of all the hard work they put into it.

The problem is that once you give your clients full control you also open up for errors, which you will probably have to fix later on. Not only you will spend additional time on digging the source code but also it will frustrate the site owner. It is a major disadvantage that it is too complex for a non-expert just editing website content.

Online Page Editor Add-on

The Online Page Editor Add-on is designed for the very busy web designer who wants his/her clients to do the little things by themselves. Together with the Advanced HTML Editor 3 it is a powerful web publishing and website management tool that integrates authoring, reviewing, and publishing in an easy-to-use WYSIWYG HTML editor. Increase web publishing productivity while simplifying oversight and approval tasks.

It is easy to define your editable areas so your clients can edit any HTML content, directly in the browser. With only one single key press the Editor becomes visible and they can start editing their online content.

With the Advanced HTML Editor 3 Dreamweaver extension from, you can enable editing of live text, images, tables and other content without any HTML knowledge. This is a very light weighted solution for editing you content visually like in Microsoft Word. Put the Advanced HTML Editor 3 into your own custom CMS with just a few clicks, directly from within Adobe Dreamweaver and make your websites dynamic and editable by your clients.

The main purpose of Online Page Editor Add-on is to allow editing web-sites and blogs for users without any technical expertise. Online Page Editor Add-on enables content authors to update existing websites and blogs while maintaining site integrity. Online Page Editor Add-on offers a Dreamweaver integration, wand editing from latest web browsers, like Internet Explorer, Opera, Safari, Chrome and Firefox. The smart context menus and rich editing options will save you time throughout the content editing process.

Rob Nijkamp

Rob NijkampHi, I am Rob and proudly introduce myself as the Marketing manager of Dynamic Zones International BV.

That means that I am responsible for all sort of things like professional news articles, world leading premium content, the outraging Dreamweaver extensions & web components and helpful tutorials for the DMXzone community.

It's a honor to have the opportunity to participate and bring the DMXzone community to a whole new and stronger level with more high quality and superb DMXzone content for our loyal members.

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