When you have a large website – the media you use can get overwhelming.
Digital Asset Management
Digital Asset Management (DAM) is a term used to talk about how and where you store your files offline, and manage things like licences and rights for the content.
Your library of website files should be simple, accessible to all members of your web, and administrative teams. This might be a network storage device on your corporate network, or a cloud service like Google Drive, iCloud, or Sharepoint.
Most critical – is that this storage be a part of your backups, and be maintained so long as your site is active. Historical content should also be a part of this archive, as there will often be needs for ‘old’ content.
Licensing and Rights Management
Somewhere in your file library – and ideally on an ‘online’ storage location – you should have a copy of all images, sounds, videos, music, pdf’s, or downloadables that may be found on your website.
Any image, video, or music used in videos is considered ‘published’ once it is on your website. As ‘publishing’ is a specific use of media, you’ll need to ensure your licencing is valid. If you’re using images you captured yourself then you own the rights, and don’t need to worry. If you’re using content you found online, or created using a service like Canva for example, you need to be sure you have not only the ‘right’ to use the image, but a copy of any applicable licence for the image.
When getting images from online stock and royalty free tools – there should be either a ‘blanket’ or ‘global’ licence for the image you acquired – often a page on the site, or an image specific licence. You should keep a copy of this licence (either a screen shot from the site) or a PDF if that is supplied.
Licences should be stored in your file library alongside the media. When you have media created for you – your provider can provide a copy of any licences required, or provide you with access to ‘clear’ any possible copyright claims made on a platform like Epidemic Sound, or Artlist.io.
Why all the concern over these licences, and organized files? Well – as the democratization of the web continues, and creators enlist support for their rights to photography, graphics, and music – your ability to prove the ‘right’ to use those materials is critical. Single images without appropriate licenses can cost you thousands – if not tens of thousands – of dollars in claims or worse – legal proceedings.
Keep originals, keep records, and ensure your licenses are maintained carefully!
Assets and your Web Site
With quality images, video, and downloads on your website stored properly, you may wish to turn your attention to website performance and ‘serving’ those files well. A website functions by providing a coded document to the web-browser when requested. The browser parses that document, and then requests the assets identified in that document. Though it’s not always relevant what technology is used to generate the ‘page’ documents, your webserver is responsible for delivering those items that are requested.
When a webserver is requested to return a document, stylesheet, PDF, file, image, video, sound, or other element for your webpage – it is queued based on the configuration of the server. Browsers have limitations on the number of assets that can be requested at once, Servers limit transfers, and as a result – your page’s performance is dictated by these factors.
Dealing with assets on your site isn’t as simple as dealing with assets on your file system. Your Cloud Storage is about keeping assets secure, and available.
On your website – something more ‘technical’ is called for. A Content Delivery Network or CDN is the best solution for dealing with the content of your pages. As pages are requested and delivered on your website, the CDN stores copies of materials on servers technologically and geographically optimized for your clients – ultimately providing a faster source for the material.
While this seems to be a small thing (because websites are fast right?) it truly is a notable function. Incrementally the small time and performance savings add up to seconds on a page-load, and as far as Google is concerned, those seconds matter.
CDN options are readily available and systems like Cloudflare are easy to configure, needing only some basic domain name information, and access to your domain name controls.
The most recent major algorithm update to Google Search recognizes performace as a significant metric in search results. Moving to a CDN for your website could provide the performance increases needed to move you up the search results page – and onto the first page!
We explained the value of keeping your files organized, and the potential legal value of good Digital Assets Management. You’ve seen how attention to those files once integrated with your website can impact your position in search results.
Managing your assets offline and online are part and parcel to operating a website. If you haven’t paid attention yet – now is the time!