CMS User Guide

Let's Get Started

What is a CMS? 

A content management system (CMS) provides website authoring, collaboration, and administration tools designed to allow users with little knowledge of web programming to create and manage website content with relative ease.

What does it do? 

A CMS will enable you to build and maintain your unit's website without any advanced technical skills.

What are the benefits of using a CMS? 

There are many benefits to using a CMS, including:

Roles and permissions

Your unit's leadership will be able to decide who has access to the CMS, and what role each individual will play. Each unit will be able to assign one or more individuals to the role of content manager (CM), and one or more individuals to the role of content contributor (CC).

Workflow management

Your unit's leadership will also be able to set up a workflow, allowing for web content to be reviewed and approved before the content goes live.

Standardized templates

The CMS includes standardized templates that have been designed to provide consistent branding on all USF websites. All styling is built in and applied automatically to your content, so you don't have to worry about things like fonts, logos and color palettes.

Content repository

The CMS includes a repository of shared content that all USF websites can share. This content will be updated on a regular basis by subject-matter experts, ensuring that every website on campus is featuring the most accurate, up-to-date information and resources. Examples include campus maps, points of pride, facts, statistics, history and much more.

Easily editable content

The CMS makes it easy for you to build a new web page, or edit an existing web page, without any advanced technical skills.


The CMS tracks changes to content on all web pages, and allows you to view or revert to old versions when needed.


The CMS allows you to schedule for a page to go live or expire on a pre-specified date, making it easy to publish time-sensitive information even if page content needs to be removed during a time when you are not available, such as during a holiday.


The CMS includes custom widgets so you can introduce additional functionality into your web pages. Examples include news feeds, event listings and more.

Responsive design

The CMS templates are "responsive," meaning that your website will display beautifully whether it's viewed on a desktop, a tablet, or a smartphone. There is no need to develop three versions of your site anymore.

Technology upgrades

The CMS will receive regular technology upgrades, so you don't have to worry about whether your technology is up-to-date.

Security and back-up

The CMS has built-in security features, making it less likely that your site could be hacked. In addition, IT will facilitate regular back-ups, so your site will always be able to be restored if problems arise.

ADA compliance

The CMS also has built-in ADA compliance features. An accessibility check is performed prior to each page being published and the system will alert you to any problems that require your attention.

Who is responsible for migrating my unit's website into the CMS?

Every unit is required to identify content manager(s) and content contributor(s) who will be responsible for migrating websites into the CMS. Your unit's content manager (CM) will be the main point of contact for your unit's website, and will be held accountable for facilitating the migration and maintaining the site after it launches. As such, the CM will be responsible for developing web content, providing training to all users within their unit that will be accessing their CMS site, creating new web pages, editing existing web pages, and reviewing and approving all web pages before they go live. Students, interns, student assistants and graduate assistants cannot be CMs. Like CMs, your unit's content contributors (CCs) will be responsible for developing web content, creating new web pages, and editing existing web pages to which they have permission, but unlike CMs, CCs cannot make content go live without CM approval. Your unit's leadership will also have the opportunity set up a workflow, allowing for web content to be reviewed and approved before the content goes live. We recommend that leadership keep the workflow as simple as possible. The more complex it gets, the more time it takes to update the site. To learn who is leading the website migration process on behalf of your unit, view the USF CMS Content Manager List.

If your unit does not have a CM identified, then please contact UCM (


Is there a deadline for migrating my unit's website?

Deadlines will vary depending on the type of unit and your existing resources. Please contact your unit's CM with questions on the timeline. To learn who is leading the website migration process on behalf of your unit, view the USF CMS Content Manager List

Who will provide guidance and training?

The USF CMS Workgroup, comprised of employees from Information Technology (IT) and University Communications and Marketing (UCM), has assigned each unit a liaison who will provide initial training, information and other resources. In order to streamline all communication, the liaison will work only with the unit's main CM. All CCs that contact the liaison directly will be directed to their CM where they can be sure that they are receiving the appropriate information for their unit. CMs are responsible for training their CCs and providing training to any new employees within their unit.

I've been asked to serve as my unit's CM or CC. How do I get started?

Your first step is to read the entire CMS User Guide. The guide details every step of the website migration process, from developing and organizing your web content, to selecting appropriate templates, to submitting your content for review, and beyond.

What happens after I read the CMS User Guide?

Your next step is to schedule a meeting with your liaison. During your meeting, you will have an opportunity to ask questions about the process, and to express any concerns you may have. You can also determine how frequently you'll need to meet in the future.