Building Great Websites


Using a Content Management System (CMS)

Large organisations with complex web publishing requirements like UCL often use a Content Management System (CMS) to manage and co-ordinate their web presence.

Key points

  • The benefits of using a single, enterprise CMS greatly outweigh those of using a variety of different technologies to deliver a large complex web presence.
  • UCL’s Drupal CMS is supported and maintained by Digital, Information Services Division, and training for editors is available.

This video (10 minutes) by digital expert Paul Boag presents an overview of this page's information on using a content management system.

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/9532


What is a Content Management System?

A Content Management System (CMS) is software whose primary purpose is to make it easy for multiple people to add, edit and manage web content without any technical knowledge.

UCL uses a CMS called Drupal which is supported and maintained by Information Services Division. This is the preferred method of building and managing UCL websites as it ensures:

  • accessible content that works on all devices
  • content that is fully UCL branded
  • content that is easily found by search engines due to the strength of the UCL domain

Benefits of using a CMS

A content management system is especially useful in large organisations with complex publishing needs because it:

  • allows authors and editors without any technical expertise to manage their own pages or sections of a website
  • enables websites to have a consistent look and feel
  • provides a central suite of styles, features and functionality; reducing the need for lots of bespoke design and development
  • ensures any technical updates or changes to style or design can be made centrally and cascade throughout all sites built in the CMS
  • makes it easy for all websites built using the CMS to communicate with each other – meaning better internal search capabilities and more sophisticated cross-referencing of content between different sites
  • can be used to grant appropriate levels of editorial access to different people.

Drupal: the UCL CMS

The UCL CMS, Drupal, is available to all staff and research students who require a website for their UCL organisational unit.

Find out more about requesting a new UCL website in the CMS: New website requests

Every Drupal site requires a trained editor to manage it. This person is known as the Senior Editor. Although this person does not necessarily need a technical background or have any prior experience with websites, it helps if they:

  • are able to learn new software quickly
  • have a good understanding of how websites work
  • have a natural flair for writing, editing and communicating clearly
  • can coordinate, and occasionally challenge, their peers as part of their web management role



If you would like to discuss a web project or Drupal, contact: web-support@ucl.ac.uk