Do you find it harder to link in a CMS than a blog?

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The difficulty of adding links in a content management system is one excuse Amy Gahran (@agahran) hears from news organizations for not linking.

Our content management system makes it difficult or impossible for reporters to insert links into stories.

Before reading Gahran’s post about how missing links hurt online news, I had heard that same reason. I admit that it feels more cumbersome when I add a link in most CMS platforms that when I do the same in WordPress, although I can’t pinpoint why. Most systems I’ve used implement a WYSIWYG text editor that includes that nearly ubiquitous chain-link icon for links.

I need your help to understand this. Do you use a CMS and a blog? Do you find it easier to link when you’re blogging? Why or why not?

6 thoughts on “Do you find it harder to link in a CMS than a blog?

  1. I have indeed found it more difficult to encode outbound links in some content management systems then in blogging platforms like WordPress. I stress "outbound" because your typical CMS is mightily concerned with interlinking of site resources, but often blind to the existence of a world outside of that site's URL. I've had to had development work done on more than one CMS to enable link functionality, or more robust link functionality (such as the ability to specify a link target window, or add attributes – like "nofollow" – to a link).

    In part I think this is a legacy issue. Older content management systems, especially, saw themselves very narrowly as an *internal content* management system.

    In part this may just be an issue with generally poor CMS design, where all sorts of seemingly basic functionality is just flat out missing. Inadequate CMS functionality is an issue that plagues us SEO types, and it's rare that SEOs working in an enterprise environment haven't had to instigate numerous customizations to enterprise content management systems so they can work WordPress with three plugins installed.

    Sometimes, though, it is a control issue, where a CMS has link functionality available but blocked by over-zealous administrators wanting to control the link environment – boo!

  2. Wow, I honestly never thought this would/could be an issue. I'm used to in-house CMS or even (gasp) manually coding the link in HTML. I don't think there's ever a good excuse to miss an outbound link that gives the reader more information (which is number one – you want to back up what you say with more info – gives credibility), references a previous story, or gives credit to a source or contributor. Links are online currency. If you wouldn't stiff a server at your favorite restaurant, don't forget the links! :)

  3. I've "hand-coded" hyperlinks at my last few jobs out of necessity because none of the CMS's I've worked with offer WYSIWYG editors.

    I agree with @abourland — links should be there, no matter the obstacles — but a CMS without a WYSIWYG editor is a huge obstacle, especially for newsrooms in transition.

    • Technically, a CMS is a "content management system" and blogging platforms really are just one type of CMS. I agree with you that it isn't very difficult to add links in either, but there definitely seems to be a perception that one is easier than the other.

      I probably should have framed the question a little differently: Does it feel easier to link using blogging software than in non-blog content management systems? Why?

      • On my self coded sites, I will usually code the link myself (obviously!) but I find it no more trouble adding a link in my WordPress blog…

        Thanks for the response by the way :-)

        What makes you think that one is easier than the other? Does this only apply to a no HTML literate person?

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