Create Your Company’s Best Digital Future with a CMS

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In most cases, when companies set up their websites, they really don’t think beyond simply having an online presence. However, there is so much more to consider such as the mobile capacity of their site. Can a customer easily access the site from their phone or is it only meant for desktops? What about the hundreds of Google algorithms that power their search engine? These factors absolutely must be considered along with the best CMS (content management system) for the business. When setting up your business, asking yourself the following questions is a good place to start:

Will my company’s site give a premium customer experience on desktop as well as mobile?
We live in a mobile-first world. So much so, in fact, that according to Gartner, ecommerce-driven mobile revenue will increase by 50% next year alone. For that reason, Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) and mobile first indexing is becoming the main strategy for Google. In order for your business to keep up and offer a seamless experience from desktop to mobile, a quality CMS is key. Remember you only need one URL for all versions in order to keep in line with Google’s recommended best practice, URL architecture, and of course, keeping the site customer-friendly.

How do I get users to click my link first?
The better the meta description and title, the more likely a user will click on the link for your company instead of a competitors.  Unfortunately, it’s duplicated or missing titles and meta descriptions showing up in Google’s search for your company that often stand in the way of whether or not users choose your link. Luckily, this is easily resolved with a good content management system that allows you to change them quickly as well as check for missing ones.

Is my content reusable?
This is where it gets tricky. Many websites have content in multiple places simply because it is necessary. From blog posts to product descriptions, it’s not unusual for content to arise in more than one place on any given website. Yet when it comes to Google, these pages of duplicated content make it difficult for the search engines to know which option to show users. The good news is this will not affect your Google ranking, it simply just makes it harder for Google to crawl your website for highest value content. Again, a good CMS can easily take care of this for your company and make it much easier to manage and tag your content.

Is it possible to optimize my URLs for multiple languages?
In general, a website is done in one language. However, if you’re looking for multiple language options for your site, consider the use of subdirectories with generic top-level domains (gTLDs). A good content management system can easily set this up without requiring much maintenance.

Can I style my page for both Google and the human user?
Yes, this is possible with a good CMS. A good CMS will give you multiple options while allowing you to style your text with tags, even without knowledge of HTML or CSS. Remember, use your most important keyword in your URL, H1 tag, first line of text and, if you can, the alt tag.

Can my content be optimized for social media?
Again, this is tricky. Often, companies find that social media platforms won’t recognize a website’s headline or image, and then posts something completely different. It’s not what you want, and it’s certainly not enticing enough for users to click on. To avoid this, you’ll have to mark p your content using Open Graph for Facebook and Twitter cards. If this sounds daunting, it is, well, if you’re doing it manually. Yet, a good content management system can easily take the stress off your hands and do it automatically. The content is marked up so it looks great and can be easily shared.

As you can see, choosing a content management system is practically a no-brainer. Having a user-friendly and search engine friendly website is one of the best ways to ensure that your content will get noticed. A good CMS gives you the ability to produce superior content while also being readily available to the millions of people searching on the World Wide Web.

Three Customer Experience Stats You Should Know

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As an enterprise, you’re very familiar with the calls to deliver the right content to the right people at the right time to best optimize the customer experience. You can credit the focus and investment in digital customer experience to crowd-sourced company and product reviews, numerous forms of social media, and savvy customers connected to companies and their competitors through a variety of digital platforms.

Read on for three important statistics that highlight the opportunities for successful customer experience, along with best practices and tips on how to address them.

1) Loyal customers are seven times as likely to test an offering, five times as likely to buy again, and four times as likely to refer. (Source)

Knowing your audience’s personal preferences and needs goes beyond understanding what products or services they are interested in and the money they’re willing to spend. This understanding of individual preferences is about analyzing behaviors and tendencies—even as they shift over time—to present the most relevant and compelling messages, content, and offerings. Also, leading enterprises are listening to consumers, and they understand what they will get in return for satisfying consumers’ demands.

A modern CMS platform, which serves as the centerpiece of any digital customer experience strategy, can help by converting that insight into action and by offering the right digital experiences in a way that resonates with site visitors each and every time, and collects relevant feedback that reinforces customer loyalty.

2) 94% of companies see “higher engagement and conversion rates” as benefits of a commitment to customer experience (Source)

Consumers have shown their willingness to invest more in the enterprises who deliver a customer experience that matches their expectations. Why do site visitors reward these companies so generously? It’s because they recognize the value of doing business with an enterprise that has taken the time to learn who they are and what they want and created a digital experience that delivers without fail across all devices and channels.

3) By 2017, 89% of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator. (Source)

Marketers are on the front lines when it comes to engaging customers, and they see how important it is to create appealing digital experiences. Everywhere you look, enterprises are vying for your attention; and once they have it, they strive to keep you coming back for more. As different digital platforms emerge, it will get even tougher to stand out from the pack and keep brand loyalty steady. That is why some of the most successful enterprises use personalization to engage site visitors.

So how do they provide this level of attention? Only with a modern CMS platform, built from the ground up to deliver high-performance personalized experiences, that enables marketers to target specific audiences and deliver compelling experiences that authentically connects with customers and ensures brand satisfaction.

Clearly, enterprises that can answer the call to not only meet but exceed the customer experience stand to win big. Simply put, both short- and long-term profits and brand loyalty are at stake. But providing great customer experience requires work. In fact, to get customer experience right, you must have the right technology in place. Explore our white paper: Building and Optimizing Multi-Channel Web-Experiences to learn about the most modern technology available to you to better engage your customers. Download it today and discover how to deliver modern digital experiences that today’s site visitors expect.

Is Your Enterprise’s Website Working?

“Is my website working?” In many, the answer is a resounding “no!” The good news is website analytics make it fairly easy to regularly rate your website’s performance. So, by simply taking a closer look, you can make the necessary changes for it to function efficiently.

For starters, you will need to begin by establishing benchmarks to conclude if your website is meeting your goals. Be it 10,000 more visitors a month or a day you’re looking for, the following are factors you will need to consider when creating these benchmarks.

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1.) How New is Your Site?

As you know, the digital marketplace is a pretty big beast, so don’t be surprised if it takes your new website some time to gain momentum. By setting benchmarks to gauge your progress, Google Analytics can help you measure how quickly you get there. While it may be tempting to set lofty goals, try to stay reasonable. For example, if you have a big sale in May, your visitor count may be much higher than in say June or July.  Keeping track of your analytics will help you keep it all in perspective.

2.) Are People Aware of Your Site?

Marketing strategies such as paid search and SEO can work wonders to improve the visibility of your site and help you gain more visitors. Brand awareness plays a big role here too. Name recognition will bring more consumers to your site and, in turn, increase sales. If you invest in these marketing strategies, you are more likely to see significant results.

3.) What is the Main Purpose for Your Website?

Simply put, is your website primarily intended for marketing, generation of revenue via traffic or for e-commerce? The analytics for these two are as different as their primary purpose. Websites heavy on content such as blogs, ebooks and other publications rely on traffic and customer engagement because of the correlation between hits and revenue. Page hits don’t matter as much to e-commerce sites because they rely heavily on conversions for success.

4.) Keep Your Ear to the Ground

Although it might seem archaic in our technology-first world, don’t underestimate the power of real life conversation and simply ask your customers about your site. You can gain some real insights that algorithms and analytics may not be able to identify. Asking a quick question or two can go far.

Is your website working for you? Let Crafter Software help you get better results. Crafter CMS delivers what no other enterprise Web CMS can because it’s built like no other CMS in its class. Crafter CMS combines user-friendliness, powerful enterprise features, and the highest performance on the planet.  So you’re able to easily deliver blazing fast, highly personalized digital experiences to your audience.

For more information head to http://www.craftersoftware.com/

 

Top 5 Capabilities Your Web CMS Needs

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Marketers expect much more from web CMS solutions now than they did five years ago. Today, web content management is much more about customer engagement and marketing activities than the publishing and content management it was a few years ago.

Because of this transformation, CMS platforms are becoming the central point for everything such as managing data from CRM, ERP, Marketing Automation and other applications, delivering personalized experiences, analyzing customer data and optimizing strategy, and even improving management of organization-wide digital assets. As customers come to expect, and often demand, a perfect experience every time, it’s as important as ever for enterprises to explore how today’s advanced web CMS solutions can help them achieve their goals. The following are 5 essential ways that CMS supports the digital experience.

1.  Efficient Management of Digital Assets
The use and management of both text and visual digital assets are easily done with CMS platforms. Everything from editing to resizing and previewing assets, as well as pushing media and documents to the web and social channels is simplified through the use of web content management. WCM allows enterprises the vital role of smoothly and efficiently delivering customized digital experiences.

2. Utilizing All Web Properties to Publish Content
At one point having multiple marketing teams for a wide range of products and global services may have worked, it just isn’t feasible now. That approach only causes redundancy of efforts, unwanted licensing and maintenance expenses from websites built on varying platforms, and outrageous marketing team sizes.

Ideally, with the right web CMS platform content will be automatically pushed to social media, public facing sites, internal intranets and any other channel that makes sense. This smoother process is not only more streamlined and efficient, but it also keeps the brand voice consistent across multiple platforms.

3. Optimize The Use of All Data
Once you have streamlined your ability to publish content, you will want to get a better handle on how you optimize the use of all that content and the user’s experience. CMS platforms that are equipped with full support for A/B Testing, customer engagement analysis, predictions and recommendations, goal tracking, campaign tracking and other actions related to analyzing customer data and customer journey tracking will significantly improve this optimization.

Additionally, CMS platforms offering intuitive backend interfaces with integrated BI insights as well as administrative ability to utilize the insights quickly will substantially enhance the process and raise the bar even higher.

4. Integrated CMS Platforms
To your customers, your online presence is not segregated into the web, social and other silos. To them, it is one entity. So failing to integrate CRM, portals, BI, analytics and other key applications will cause you to spin your wheels in your attempts to reach your customers from all angles in your CMS platform.

The task of integration is simplified with the use of out-of-the-box connectors while easily linking existing web applications through APIs. Everything from search platforms, e-commerce, language translation, major CRMs, analytics, databases and publishing platforms easily come together.

5. Personalized and Integrated Digital Experiences
Leveraging web CMS platforms is key for any enterprise managing multiple brands and/or products. Modern CMS solutions ease the ability to deliver personalized and contextual digital experiences by simplifying the process of personalizing the design and content for landing pages, making it easier to reuse code and display separate content to different user segments.

Crafter Software Recognizes Top Community Contributors

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Crafter Software has had an incredible year of producing innovative technology and enabling digital business transformation for organizations globally. This year, we are thrilled to acknowledge the excellent performance and notable achievements of our top community members

The strength of open source software is the community of people who collaborate and contribute. This year we recognize the top community contributors for outstanding contributions of enhancements, fixes and community participation.

Top community contributors for the Crafter CMS open source platform are:

Want more information about Crafter CMS, the most modern open source Java-based platform for crafting personalized digital experiences at blazing speed? Visit craftercms.org for more info and free downloads!

Top 5 Reasons Visitors Prematurely Leave Your Site, and How Personalization Can Fix This

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It only takes minutes, or even seconds for potential customers to be unsatisfied with their experience on your website and click on to a new one. Instead of accepting a high bounce rate and hoping that a new prospect will come along, it’s time to make your website work for you. Nothing is more effective in solving this issue than by personalizing the user experience with content relevant to the user. Luckily, the tools to make your site more likeable so prospects don’t leave, are available. All you need is a little content personalization to make your site a hit. The following are the top 5 reasons why people aren’t sticking around once they get to your site and how content personalization can help.

#1 Too Many Generic Ads
Sure, advertising is important to help with revenue, yet, when done poorly ads can also do damage and create a negative user experience. For starters, you need to be as proactive as you can with your advertising messages. Personalize your offers to every individual that comes to your site. Although this may sound like a lot of work, it actually is fairly easy with the right content personalization tools. Modern CMS solutions like Crafter CMS help authors design rules and content that enable you to personalize ads automatically based on the user’s past site history and profile information. By using relevant content you can grab the attention of the right person and match the ad and its offerings with the user that needs them.

#2 Too Much Irrelevant Content
When engaging your website visitors you speaks directly to them and their needs so they stick around. Google’s search interface and algorithm took over the internet because it was simple, on point and provided effective relevant information to users quickly.  Your content and the user experiences that it powers needs to provide that exact same value.  With the right approach and technology, your personalized content will stand out and attract users.

#3 Outdated Content
If too much irrelevant content is bad, outdated or wrong content is worse. Sites should be updated regularly to demonstrate your commitment to quality and customer service. It is extremely important to keep your content as current as possible because it causes confidence and loyalty in your visitors.

#4 Your Lead Generation Tactics are too Overt
As you know, your content is extremely valuable. The trick is to making your audience see this value. A contact or “lead form” can be intimidating and off-putting to a user. Not every visitor that heads to your site wants to give their personal information. Yet, when you have the best set of fully-automated tools, your site can have the ability to have a timely call to action without being too aggressive. By doing so, leads are not lost and instead, are gained more rapidly.

#5 Not Being Memorable
By having an “exit intent offer”, you engage your prospects with a valuable piece of relevant content that they will find worthy enough to channel them back onto the page. By being strategic with your relevant content just before they exit your site, they are more likely to take another look and re-engage. This is a simple but highly effective strategy that can make a huge difference in the overall conversion of leads.

5 Rules for Creating Loyal Customers

When it comes to attracting consumers, marketers are realizing they need to step up their game to keep up with the competition. Many of their competitors are undergoing dramatic digital transformations designed to increase customer engagement through targeted, individualized experiences across every channel and device (online and offline.) Brands are now doing whatever it takes to deliver standout service and capabilities to their desired audiences.  However, as brands scramble to go above and beyond, they often miss some of the most important rules on how to engage customers properly and thus don’t achieve the desired result. The following are 5 of the key guidelines to follow when designing digital experiences that align with your brand goals and customer satisfaction.
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#1 Be Helpful

When a customer has a need and you make it easy to fulfill that need you are well on your way to creating a loyal follower of your brand.  Start by creating a helpful experience that comfortably guides customers through the purchasing process. From start to finish, make it simple and helpful.  For example, once a purchase has been made, provide assistance, and do it across various channels.  In the confirmation email or on the “proof of purchase” page, help cover the unknowns. How-to videos, images and infographics are very powerful tools for extending the conversation and covering unknowns. Let them know they can reach you on social media. Customers enjoy being part of the process and will feel more connected to your brand when given access to exclusive content.

#2 Make Content Engaging and Easy to Consume

Designing for the small screen doesn’t mean the experience has to be sacrificed by eliminating important content. It simply means the content you include needs to be extremely engaging and on point for your targeted audience.  Consider being more concise, use 10-second videos rather than those lasting longer than a minute or more. Your content should be contextual, responsive, and most of all, as flexible as your users need it to be. It should be able to go across all channels and devices – online and offline. Your goal should be to create an environment that is specific for the device while also having the ability to go beyond into diverse environments, be it an in-store experience or virtual signage on a billboard and so on.

#3 Personalize Without Being Creepy

Personalization and automation provide a lot of value to the customer. Yet, today’s consumers are savvy and many of them are mindful of privacy concerns. The last thing they want is to be creeped out and worried about privacy issues. Some advertising can come across as a little too personal and downright annoying. Just because I looked at a product does not mean I want it. Today a lot of “retargeting” on social networks are guilty of this simple assumption.  While quick follow up and reinforcement works, the smarter you can be about what you chose to reinforce the more likely you are to convert a customer.  Being annoying might coerce a few new customers but it can also do the opposite and turn potentially loyal customers away. The magic happens when you are helpful and relevant to the customer.  The internet is rife with stories of large companies using purchasing histories to suggest future purchases that “crossed the line.”  Making recommendations can be extremely useful for your customers and amazing for sales but make sure you are constantly asking / checking that your analysis and algorithms are non-invasive, so you don’t overstep your boundaries and end up embarrassing or creeping out your customers and prospects.

#4 Reuse Content

While it may sound like a faux pas, it really is in your best interest to reuse content. Equally as important as creating easy-to-use experiences, using familiar patterns and repeating calls to action will give the perception (sometimes illusion) of a faster solution. Reuse content modules and processes because it reinforces your branding and attracts customers by increasing awareness.

#5 Be Easy to Use, Be Fast

Whether your site visitors are making a purchase or just browsing, one of the single most important things you can do for the user is to provide them with a quick resolution. Many websites make purchasing easy for their customers by keeping the experience to a few clicks. Not only is that convenient for the visitor, but makes the ordering process quicker and streamlined. Ensure that you have a highly scalable platform that is capable of delivering the site quickly and that your front end code (images, CSS, Javascript, etc.) are optimized to render quickly to your users.

Although it’s never easy to truly know every potential hiccup you may face, by understanding the above mentioned five aspects of a great digital experience, you will likely avoid them, which will keep both your business and customers happy.

Do you agree? Comment below and tell us what you think helps create loyal customers!

6 ‘C’s for Great Customer Experience

The type of customer experience your company provides to its customers can make or break the brand. The game has changed and the winners in today’s market are those who provide a great experience to their customers throughout the entire customer journey. Learn how to increase demand and encourage growth through great customer experience by leveraging these 6 ‘C’s of Great Customer Experience!

#1: Contextual

Are you sitting at your desk working?  Are you sitting on the couch browsing with your tablet?  Are you in a Uber hurling towards the airport and trying to move your flight departure time?  Where you are, what you are doing, what kind of access you has matters A LOT! Contextualization focuses the experience on where you are, what device you are using as well as preferences such as location, language, and time of day.  In a nutshell, contextualized experience is what brands use to go above the muck in today’s omni-channel, multi-device, multi-lingual, multi-step world to provide you with a more personalized and relevant experience.

#2 Consistent

A brand is successful by promises made and promises kept. By consistently shaping communications and interactions that highlight strong delivery and core themes brands set customer expectations and drive loyalty by meeting them. Lack of consistency and failure to meet expectations has the exact opposite effect. Have you ever dialed into an automated “phone-tree”, entered a bunch of information only to be transferred and then have to re-enter all of your information again?  It’s frustrating at best. A consistent experience delivers what you expect at every step in the customer journey.  At each touch point, it knows where you have been and where you are now.

#3 Conversational

The online world is much more social than ever before.  Marketing is no longer about one-way communication in which brands bark messaging at customers, it’s about engaging with them.  Today’s marketing is “N-directional.”  It’s an on-going engagement with the brand, a customer, and the brand ecosystem.  Everyone knows that good friends are the ones that know how to listen.  The same is true for brands.

#4 Cross-channel

Our customers have multiple ways to engage with us from traditional media advertising, mail campaigns and phone to digital platforms such as sites, applications, kiosks, digital signage, email, texting, social media and more!  Your customers want to engage you through the mediums and platforms that make the most sense for them in the moment.  Companies that truly get customer experience understand that offering the customer a great experience on the platform of their choice is a critical component for success.  Multi-channel isn’t just about a website responsive design that works on laptops and smartphones.  It’s about really being able to serve customers on any channel and further it’s about being equipped to add a new channel at a moment’s notice.  New channels emerge all the time, and it is the first movers in nearly all cases that dominate the new space.

#5 Convenient

Convenience is a no brainer. Customers love easy. You must reduce complexity at every step.  Make it simple for them!  Apple no longer has a checkout register. Any employee can help you complete a purchase.  Need to schedule an appointment? A couple taps of by an associate on an iPad and you are done.  That’s convenient and it’s enchanting.  Now compare your hailing a cab to requesting an Uber.  Hailing a cab requires good fortune or great patience. Uber by contrast puts mobility at the touch of a button, provides you with an ETA and requires no physical payment transaction.  That’s convenient and it’s enchanting.  Be convenient. Be enchanting.

#6 Cost effective

While great customer experience is vital for maintaining and obtaining customers, doing more (for your customers) often requires more time and resources.  The key to creating and maintaining a great customer experience is finding a cost effective way to make it happen.  The key to cost-effective customer experience is in the architecture of the platforms and solutions you choose to implement. Of course, the platform needs to enable you to deliver contextual multi-channel experiences that engage and enchant your customers. But it must also allow you to scale in an affordable way.  By scale I mean few things.  Scale as in volume.  You need to be able to add more capacity without breaking the bank.  Scale as in many birds, one stone.  The platform should be able to cover many needs.  Multiple sites, many channels within a site and so on.  Scale as in capacity to innovate.  Digital experience is a space of constant evolution.  You need to be able to quickly and affordably develop and deploy new value to your customers.

How have the 6 C’s for Great Customer Experience enhanced your business?  Let us know in the comments below.

Crafter CMS Drives Large Scale, Reliable Customer Engagement During the Big Game

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We’re happy to report that Crafter CMS powered some of the largest websites and mobile applications run by sponsors of a recent major sporting event that was viewed by over 189 million people around the world.

By powering their websites and mobile apps with Crafter CMS, our clients were able to deliver reliable, high performance digital experiences to all their customers. As television advertising drove surges of traffic throughout the event, our clients reported outstanding performance and a record amount of online customer engagement. Meanwhile, it was widely reported that several other enterprise and celebrity websites, which were running legacy content management platforms, crashed and burned due to heavy volumes of traffic. Based on our look at some of the sites that had performance issues, they seem to be running WordPress and Adobe CQ5 (AEM).

In contrast to most legacy content management platforms built over 10 years ago, the modern Crafter CMS excels at delivering reliable, large-scale Web content management implementations. And does so at a fraction of the cost of legacy, proprietary solutions.

Crafter’s innovative architecture provides marketers the easy-to-use tools they need to engage customers, provides developers with the agility to develop engaging website and mobile app features in record time, and provides IT administrators the scalable and performance to deliver highly reliable digital experiences.

Need a reliable CMS that won’t crash when you need it most? Check out our open source on-premise solution (http://craftercms.org) or our cloud-based, full SaaS solution (http://craftercloud.io) today.

#1 Digital Marketing Investment All Enterprises Should Make

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Each year, enterprises are investing more and more in digital marketing technology, primarily due to the growing need to engage customers through multiple online channels. In fact, Gartner found that nearly two-thirds of marketers say their marketing budgets will increase in 2016. But the question on many marketers’ minds is: Where exactly should these digital marketing funds be invested?

So what is the number one digital marketing investment you should be making now?

#1 Digital Marketing Investment: A Modern Web Content Management System

Your website is still the number one digital touchpoint for your customers. And a modern Web CMS platform allows marketers to create and deliver personalized experiences, to the right person, at the right time, to the right device. This platform is vital for any enterprise, because a modern Web CMS doesn’t just manage content, but unifies the entire marketing technology ecosystem. Creating a consistent customer experience, no matter where the user is engaging with the brand.

Using a modern Web CMS to power your site could be one of the best digital marketing investments you make in 2016 – and your business. And you do need to invest – your website is the main digital touchpoint for engaging with your customers, and you want to make sure it competes in today’s era of customer engagement.

A modern Web CMS needs to marry both power and simplicity, so you can save time, money and focus on what is critical in growing your enterprise.

Here are a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to investing in the perfect Web CMS platform for your enterprise:

  • User-Friendly Content Authoring Tools – A platform that provides authors with powerful yet easy to use content authoring tools. An example of this would be, a simple drag and drop design and in-context review capabilities that anyone can use.

  • Easy Integration – You will want a modern Web CMS that can easily integrate with other best of breed technologies, including your CRM and marketing automation platforms to unite sales and marketing.

  • Multi-channel Experiences – It takes more than a responsive design to succeed in today’s multi-channel environment.  A modern Web CMS needs to be able to provide both “responsive” and “adaptive” design capabilities, and provide true multi-channel publishing.

  • High-Performance Content Delivery – So you’re able to deliver fast and highly personalized experiences to your target audiences.

  • Personalization and Content Targeting – The ability to engage your target audience with dynamic experiences that are immediately relevant to them with advanced targeting and personalization capabilities.

  • Modern Development Tools – Develop new experiences and services rapidly, by leveraging a Web CMS platform that uses leading modern development technology.

Need more information? Download our free White Paper for significant trends and principles surrounding Web CMS platforms.