Or how I mistakenly built a CMS from
scratch while in China, but in the process,
learned an incredible amount of info. about
publishing a Web site, that also happened to
publish a magazine
Why am I here?
• We built a CMS for City Weekend (CW), an
entertainment listings magazine and Web site, using
Django, an open source software platform built by
• We were small and poor. We relied on UGC to help us
• By harnessing user data and making it easy to share
with other users, editors, sales, marketing, distribution
and design, our CMS allowed us to work more
efficiently and intelligently to earn market share.
• The CMS today is scalable, allowing us to turn on new
cities or products very easily.
OMG, this is boring.
What is a CMS?
• Content management systems create, edit, manage, search
and publish digital media. Simply put a CMS
– Gives certain users certain permissions to do certain things with:
• Text, photos, video, music, documents, etc. – virtually anything
– Assigning info. with certain tags, labels, categories, metadata
affects where and how the info. is read.
– They’re made using a range of code – Perl, PHP, Ruby, etc.
• Blogspot, Wordpress, Google Calendar… These are all
content management systems.
• Choosing and working with the right CMS is critical to
successful publishing in today’s thrifty online digital
Four things I heard
yesterday about CMS
• Never buy or pay for an out-of-the-box CMS.
Use open source.
• Avoid complexity. It is tantamount to difficulty.
• Content yearns to be free, be careful about
efforts to keep it hidden.
• The most popular open source CMS systems
are: Drupal, Joomla, Wordpress and Moveable
• Databases are really CMS and CMS are really
Web sites and vice versa, if done well.
• Content management systems really just help
you manage data.
• Data can be anything, including articles, video
• If you understand how data is categorized and
used, then you can manipulate it to your will.
The CMS was the
smartest guy in the room
• Editors and users shared
events, articles, listings, photos, classifieds and
comments with the site.
• Editors andSales and Marketing were alerted to
new content via the CMS’s content approval
• Users were alerted that their content had been
received and when appropriate, approved by CW.
• The CMS exported the best content directly into
InDesign. It also published the content into our
email updates and mobile service.
1 2 3 4
USERS * CMS EDITORS CMS
• Categorized, • Approved • Exports data
• Visit site
ranked, Sorted and into:
managed and edited data • Magazine
shared data • Email update
• Listings • Alerted users • Mobile
• Classifieds • 24/7 phone
• Articles • RSS feeds
It was one big circle
•Magazine, email update, mobile phone •Share data
Editors CMS/Web site
•Organize, edit, share, help design •Organizes, ranks, edits, shares, alerts
So, did it work?
• 800 unique daily visitors in 2006
• Today, 15,000 (more than our competitors)
• 3,000 listings in 2006. Today, 12,500
• In 2006, we had zero registered users. Today,
we have 50,000.
• We’re the market leader in Beijing and
Shanghai. We have a staff of 15 editors. Our
competitor has over 50.
You may still find them tedious, but
hopefully, you’ve seen how they can, in
fact, help you produce a better
magazine and Web site.