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Pretty But Useless

I've spent a bit of time the last few weeks helping out a friend who has a beautiful web site for her band, but can't update some of it. It was done as a favor -- and a nice favor it is -- but while she's able to edit some pages using a WYSIWYG editor like Contribute, other pages are produced by scripts and therefore can't be edited without digging into code she doesn't understand and doesn't want to deal with.

Because she's in a hurry, I'll probably end up redoing the photo pages so that they're flat HTML pages, therefore editable, rather than Javascript-generated windows. But it was yet another lesson in the value of content management. A gorgeous web site is of no use whatsoever if you can't easily update it and change it.

The sites I build are not nearly as beautiful, but they do work. If you are going to spend time and/or money on designing a knock-your-socks-off site, then make sure to ask questions about the behind-the-scenes tools you'll use to update it. (You also might ask whether your audience actually wants their socks knocked off, or just wants to find out when your next show is and maybe buy a CD, but that's a larger philosophical discussion.)