Death to Legacy CMS platforms: How XMS Solutions are Transforming the Future

Have you ever seen the movie Office Space where the fax machine doesn’t work? Every day, the office workers struggle to use it, especially one certain employee, until he decides that enough is enough and ultimately kills it (with the help of his equally frustrated colleagues).

crafter-cms-xms-blog-postsource: PopKey

I think we can all relate to wanting to drop-kick outdated technology.

One such technology is a traditional content management system, invented in the late ’90s to manage pages and components on a website. However, that existing technology is no longer relevant to the digital experiences that exist today. Because digital experiences are more than just websites—now we have mobile apps, e-commerce front-ends, virtual and augmented reality, customer portals, kiosks, and hotel room touch screens to name a few. The list of use cases is extensive, and we’ve only touched on a few examples here.

If legacy content management systems are no longer working, should we get rid of them? In short, Yes!

The Solution

The best replacement for a legacy CMS platform is an experience management system: A solution built around an entirely new architecture, enabling the agile development of digital experiences that are not only driven by content, but also optimized with data, maintained by DevOps, and uniquely tailored to business users’ needs. There are many reasons why we recommend an experience management system (XMS) platform.

Let’s break down why enterprises need an XMS solution.

Easy to use for everyone – Business users, content creators, software developers, and system operations can all work easily to create, manage, optimize, and deliver experiences. Great experiences are designed, built, and delivered by a multidisciplinary team that needs to be able to work together seamlessly while leveraging specialized skills and tools.

Experiences not just pages and components – New data and channels are a welcome addition to XMS platforms at any time. An XMS platform doesn’t bake in assumptions about how and where experiences will be delivered or what data will be required or produced.

Journeys vs. interactions – An experience is a journey rather than an interaction. Customers and users expect each interaction to leverage previous communications. An example of this is you visit your favorite shoe retailer’s website looking for a pair of shoes. Next time you visit them from your mobile, you notice that the site shows you the shoes you were looking at and also what other products other people who previously bought the product were interested in, with the goal of matching your style and attracting your interest.

Personal over generic information – Legacy CMS platforms create lackluster experiences that will be increasingly ignored by users. Great experiences are relevant, and relevance drives value, which translates into increasing brand loyalty and revenue for enterprises.

Simplicity in architecture NOT complexity – Let’s face it: we want simple technology, but not too simple, where the solution doesn’t meet the functionality that we need. Simplicity comes from the separation of concerns and great architecture rather than from the presence of specific technologies and vendors.

Distribution out performs centralization – Experiences today exist anywhere and everywhere. Long gone are the days of the clean, segregated worlds of the physical and digital. Experiences are delivered anywhere, at any time, and across the digital-physical divide. Experiences need to build off each other through different channels and platforms. The benefit of distribution is having a very stable solution, and once the necessary infrastructure is in place, evolution is tremendous.

Loose coupling over tight coupling – Technical architecture matters and ultimately defines the limits of what is possible. Loose coupling is achieved by a design that promotes single responsibility and the separation of concerns, unlike tight coupling, which can have too many responsibilities. Today’s challenges demand architectural solutions capable of addressing concerns including performance at scale, complex security, heavy data warehousing, processing and transfer, audibility, and ease of creation.

Ability to easily integrate is important – The technology that you use needs to be able to integrate with existing technology. An advantage of software integration is processes across your company become streamlined, allowing for tasks to be automated which increases your ROI. Plus, user-driven innovation flourishes with integration because process changes can be implemented quickly and different users need to be able to apply their expertise to tailor processes and applications in a way that improves performance.

Lightweight software as opposed to heavy – One size fits all is a fallacy, and each organization has its own unique needs, existing skill sets, and back ends. A software solution with a focus on ease of integration and maintainable customization trumps all-in-one solutions.

Open source software is the most modern solution – Openness is key to innovation on any scale. While proprietary solutions may be able to deliver in the short-term, it is openness, open standards, and interoperability that do more in the long run. Open source fosters innovation by allowing the source code to be transparent to developers who can improve and make fixes to the software while building an active community of people who are powering the most up-to-date and greatest software.

Think of open source as a way of life:

“It also means committing to playing an active role in improving the world, which is possible only when everyone has access to the way that world is designed.

The world is full of “source code”—blueprints, recipes, rules—that guide and shape the way we think and act in it. We believe this underlying code (whatever its form) should be open, accessible, and shared—so many people can have a hand in altering it for the better.”

source: opensource.com

Content management systems built decades ago can no longer keep up with the explosion of technology and the way we communicate. Companies need to be able to connect on every channel and digital device with targeted information.

So, the next time you’re frustrated with your legacy CMS platform and are ready to kick it to the curb. Consider upgrading your solution to an XMS. This will save your company valuable resources and maybe, just maybe, even your sanity when out-dated technology stops working.

In need of an experience management system platform? Contact Crafter Software at info@craftersoftware.com for more details.

Create Your Company’s Best Digital Future with a CMS

helloquence-61189

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.

How Your Web CMS Should Enable a Digital Experience

entrepreneur-working-on-his-macbook-2-picjumbo-com(1)

Web content management is no longer about managing pages on a website; instead, it’s now at the center of where marketing activities and customer engagement is carried out. Once holding a focus on publishing and management of web content, marketers can now expect CMSs to improve the development and management of entire digital customer experiences. Digital experiences that are driven by content, optimized with data, and delivered across all online channels. Additionally, a modern web CMS will utilize and manage data from CRM, ERP and other applications to deliver unique, personalized experiences.

Consumers expect a seamless digital experience. The following are just a few of the ways your web CMS should be helping to make this a possibility:

Personalized Digital Experiences

Modern CMSs are making it easier than ever for small businesses to go beyond personalized emails to engage customers. They are able to design and content elements across websites, portals, mobile apps and more, create various user personas or user segments, display targeted and contextual content to these different user segments, and personalize the design on the basis of various criteria that has proven to work via analytics. Although it delivers profoundly better results, it is still by no means “easy.” Marketing managers still have their work cut out for them as they test and iterate working with CTOs to outline the depth of personalization while creating a map content to specific user groups and scenarios.

Multi-Channel

Instead of multiple marketing teams taking on efforts to globally promote an array of products and services on a single website, this should be done across various digital properties – microsites, mobile apps, social media, augmented and virtual reality, and more. A modern CMS natively supports an API-first approach to content management that enables multi-channel content authoring, publishing and delivery. Additionally, complete separation of presentation from content and data, and support for any type of UI development framework, combined simplify the task of delivering a wide variety of digital experiences across multiple platforms.

Data-driven

Everything a customer does on your web properties yields insights. This data can then be used to optimize the customer experience.  Because of this, you’ll want to look for CMSs equipped with full support for A/B testing, customer journey tracking, customer engagement analysis, predictions and recommendations, goal tracking, campaign tracking and other actions related to analyzing customer data. It’s in your best interest to go above and beyond and use CMS that offers intuitive backend interfaces with integrated BI insights along with the administrative capability to take swift actions on these insights by just a few clicks.

Ease of Integration

Your customers view your digital experiences as one entity. Because of this, if you do not integrate with siloed platforms like CRM, Portals, BI, analytics and other key systems and applications, then you’re just spinning your wheels. Your goal of reaching a 360-degree customer view will be in vain.

Modern CMSs enable easy integration by offering out-of-the-box connectors for major CRMs, search platforms, e-commerce, language translation, databases, publishing platforms, analytics, etc. Additionally, you need to be able to easily integrate with existing systems and web applications through APIs.

Next Steps

It is necessary for every company or organization to identify their own unique challenges, marketing objectives as well as their desired business outcomes, goals and expectations. This should be done prior to beginning the journey of selecting and implementing a web CMS. The key is knowing how to use your choice of tools. If you have any questions about how a modern web CMS can support your enterprise’s digital experience, drop us a line at Crafter. One of our professionals will be happy to discuss a solution with you.

Why It’s Time to Select a Headless and Content-as-a-Service CMS

disintegration-1819860_1920
Believe it or not, your enterprise will soon need to move beyond the web. In fact, some companies have already made the move. So, what is stopping your enterprise from moving forward? Richard Jones, perhaps most known for his work as the technical director of Inviga, a London-based tech company specializing in content management systems, e-commerce and digital innovation recently spoke at a tech conference and offered his thoughts on the emergence of Content-as-a-Service (CaaS) and just how much it affects the creation of content. At the conference, Jones detailed how CaaS can be positioned as the digital hub of any given enterprise. Yes, even yours. But to add perspective to how to adopt CaaS and Headless CMS, it’s important to have a clearer understanding of what they are exactly. The following explanations should do just that.

Understanding CaaS and Headless CMS
CaaS refers to a use case in which the content on the web is created and written separately from the place it will be used. Its objective is that it will be consumed by a wide range of digital channels such as mobile apps, websites, social networks, virtual reality experiences, among others.

CaaS is only supported by certain, modern content management systems that provides robust APIs on the back-end. It is a component of a headless CMS. Unlike the original concept of a CMS, there is less concern about how the content will be delivered through a website’s pages, it has the single goal of providing content creators the tools to enhance their workflow to a point where content is ready to be consumed in any of a number of CaaS use cases.

Focused Content Creation
Irrespective of the technology they use, enterprises of all industries need to properly address and have a good understanding of their audience.  Not knowing the consumer is one of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest challenge for content creators. Additionally, the problem will only worsen as the Internet of Things (IoT) only gets even more embedded into the enterprise.

CaaS can enable the process of content creation for countless applications and devices. This means the content can be shaped accordingly to those likely to consume it. However, customer behavior is constantly changing – much faster than the ability of content developers have to keep up. Because of this, content creators are struggling to meet the needs of customers. There is a huge need to be innovative with the ways content is being brought to the consumer. But the questions remain, how do we present this data out to any given device? What are the possibilities and how might they change?

The Need for a Modern CMS
Organizations need CMS platforms that help them go beyond traditional static page thinking, the truth is, content creators need to think beyond pages, too.

Fueled by Mobile Apps, IoT, Virtual Reality, and other future digital channels, enterprises no longer have a choice — they must move forward despite their struggles with managing effective web presences and their natural reluctance to go beyond the web.  The sooner they make a change to a modern CMS, the better. The change is too dynamic to stop, and enterprises must jump on the bandwagon now to stay relevant and competitive.

To learn how Crafter CMS supports Content-as-a-Service and can prepare your organization for the digital future, contact us today.

Three Customer Experience Stats You Should Know

Young businesswoman using phone in coffee shop
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.

Avoiding Website Performance Bottlenecks

blog_avoid

In a world where multitasking is more prevalent than ever, enterprises are asking more and more from their websites. Unable to keep up, site functionality is exploding while optimization is falling flat. And it’s not only e-commerce sites that are failing at performance. Industries of all types are experiencing web performance bottlenecks caused by slow page load times and sluggish user interaction.

Whether it’s the hefty amount of images, plugins or JavaScript getting fancier, it is clear that some major factors are interrupting the flow of website optimization. With site functionality only continuing to get more complex, resource requests dramatically increasing, and the growing trend toward personalized experiences, performance is taking a huge hit.  Unfortunately, this trend is negatively affecting user retention – ultimately affecting your enterprise’s bottom line.

Yet considering how important a website can be for any given enterprise, it seems only natural to take the extra care to ensure the website is not only running fast from the desktop site but from a mobile perspective too. The number of websites still not optimized for a mobile experience is astounding.

People Are in a Hurry Even When They Are Sitting On Their Couch

In the fast-paced era we live in, anything more than three seconds for a page to load is too long. Studies show that potentially upwards of 50% of users click off the site if the page takes too long. Additionally, 30% will jump ship if a shopping cart isn’t optimized for mobile.

This leads to lost sales, competitors winning over your customers, and overall missed opportunities. When you consider the the number of visitors, your average revenue per customer taking into account your attainable conversion rate, and then subtract everything lost from a website bounce rate of 40% when your site loads slowly, you can quantify the amount of lost revenue pretty quickly.

Increase Brand Engagement

Your brand will be much more likable if you offer an equally satisfying, personalized experience for both mobile and desktop sites. Whether a user visits your site from their smartphone or desktop, the experience should be optimized for functionality and brand consistency, so it fosters trust and affinity with your users. Most users regularly go between devices so if you are not able to provide what they need than they are more likely to go to a competitor rather than wait until they get back to their desktop to make a purchase. Not optimizing your site results in lost opportunities and losing customers permanently to competitors.

Optimize Your Site, and Business will Grow

To keep your users engaged and continuously coming back, you need to optimize your site performance and a modern content delivery solution is the most effective way to pull this off. Despite many performance optimization techniques manually performed by developers, hand-coding pages for performance is specialized, time-consuming work. When it comes to intensely involved sites with hundreds to even thousands of dynamic components per page, this can be an eternal task. As both browser requirements and page requirements continue to develop the work can seem never ending.

Therefore, consistently faster page loads and a more reliable site starts with a blazing fast content delivery platform. We built the world’s fastest dynamic content delivery solution with Crafter Engine, which now serves some of the largest and fastest sites on the globe.

Think your website performance needs a boost? Contact us at info@craftersoftware.com for guidance or download our white paper Building and Optimizing Multi-Channel Web Experiences to learn more!

The Future is Now: Virtual Reality Transforming Retail

VR

When it comes to brick and mortar retail, every inch of retail space is crucial to keep the business booming. So it’s no wonder that Happy Family, an organic children’s food manufacturer, decided to turn to virtual reality to help them gather data from 800 shoppers. Turns out this method isn’t just working for them, but it’s working for many other retailers too. It’s quickly becoming the future of retail with an international reach.

While it may seem somewhat futuristic, the truth is scenarios in which using virtual reality are beneficial, isn’t that far reaching. Combining virtual and augmented reality are already transforming major retail locations in every way — from the aisles, to store design and signage.

The Difference Between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality

Sometimes augmented reality and virtual reality are used interchangeably. However, there are significant differences that you need to know when using or discussing these technologies. Augmented reality is a blend of real life and virtual reality. In other words, the consumer is still in touch with the real world around them, yet interacts with virtual elements. Virtual reality, on the other hand, transforms the user into a different world. Goggles or some type of headset are required for experiencing virtual reality.

Virtual Reality is Here to Stay

Virtual reality is not just a hot technology item for gamers, and from the data, it doesn’t appear as if virtual reality is just a fad. While VR has been around for a long time, it has matured to something that benefits our work and home lives in addition to being fun for entertainment purposes.

With virtual reality constantly improving, it’s time for retailers to honestly consider adding the technology to the way they do business. It’s already been proven that brands who have embraced virtual reality have attracted a wider user base. In a world where technology is constantly evolving, consumers are continuously demanding more from brands. Keeping up with technology is how brands can stay among and ahead of their competition. Consumers are beginning to expect virtual and augmented reality as they do their online shopping.

V-Commerce is the Next Step

Clearly, a complete move to v-commerce is what lies ahead. Although the idea of new hardware may seem overwhelming to businesses, it really shouldn’t be. The concept is constantly evolving as is the equipment.  Because of this, there are multiple options with devices at different price points and even applications that allow smartphones to use augmented reality and virtual reality.

With this omni-channel strategy, consumers will be able to do everything from trying on clothes to looking at products or ingredients. With this technology, retailers will be able to deliver an in-store experience to users shopping online. The scenarios for using virtual reality are endless and the benefits for business success are priceless. From up-selling to cross-selling, virtual reality will allow consumers to engage more with the products and will help to create a much more personal experience. This will in turn, increase sales – a reality every business owner can get behind.

Year of the Customer: Top 5 Customer Experience Trends Revealed

Business plan presentation on digital tablet

We are well into 2016 and it has already proven to be the year of virtual reality among other new technologies aiming to deliver flawless customer experiences. The following are just a few more of the newest trends that are reinventing how enterprises spend their marketing dollars this year.

1. Getting Personal
Marketers are getting even more personal with their personalization and tapping into streams of first party data. From CRM data to Voice of the Customer (VoC) data, and leverage predictive modeling to create contextualized experiences, individually tailored experiences are changing the face of the customer experience.  With customer expectations higher than ever and their constant connectivity, hyper-contextualized personalization is on the rise to meet the demands and wants of the individual this year.

2. Entering into the Mobile-Mature World
Mobile searches have surpassed desktop searches because more and more individuals are connected on multiple devices and more websites are user friendly. In fact, Google made sure that websites were more mobile-friendly by announcing those websites that weren’t would be penalized in mobile search rankings. Finally, customers are getting the relevant, high quality website experiences they want across multiple devices. This year even greater innovation for mobile is taking place. Seamless integration between apps, eCommerce and social outlets is becoming a reality. Companies that provide excellent mobile experiences for their users will not only stand out from the crowd but grow.

3. Year of the screens
While more searches are being done on mobile devices, the trend is moving towards a post-mobile world where devices are meshing to expand beyond traditional mobile devices. From wearable devices to tablets, watches and the like, the number of screens users come in contact with on a daily basis is expanding. Because of this, marketers are faced with the task of creating and delivering seamless experiences that continue throughout all points in the user  customer journey. Keeping the experience consistent and complete is key. Brands that understand their users are interacting with numerous digital touch points will go further in keeping their customers satisfied.

4. Intent Data Will Drive Intelligent Retargeting
Retargeting is key to converting visitors to customers and those companies who are smart about the way they do their retargeting will succeed in 2016. This is done by recognizing needs and align campaigns to increase visitor engagement with pertinent messages and calls to action. Companies that take note as to why visitors are coming to their site – to research, browse or buy – are better able to guide them towards making a purchase by offering them a relevant incentive or by showing them appropriate content immediately. Even something as simple as offering free shipping or a discount can encourage a new visitor and retarget their customer experience. A more frequent shopper may need more aggressive retargeting.

5. Customer Experience Analytics Will Be King
Analytics is becoming crucial for brands to obtain a competitive advantage. By utilizing analytics, companies are able to better anticipate and deliver superior experiences to customers and potential customers. Although, at times, the data can be overwhelming, using the right type of analytics is key to extending the ROI of varying marketing efforts and creating a seamless customer experience. This year is all about using the right type of analytics streams correctly. One example of this is utilizing analytics to recognize and personalize in real-time.

This is an exciting time for marketers as they create one-to-one experiences for their customers, become more mobile mature, deliver consistent and continuous experiences, and become completely customer-centric through mastering the use of customer experience analytics.

8 Innovative Web Design Elements That Drive Revenue

8-Innovative-Web-Design-Apr2016

Website design is evolving so quickly that if your site is more than two years old, it’s probably time for an update. Keeping up with these rapidly changing internet technologies can be tough, but with 68% of all Americans owning smartphones, systems like mobile marketing are a requirement for success on the web. Your consumers demand a modern design optimized for mobile, and the future of your company depends on it. The following are a few other elements required for modern web design worthy of your consideration this year.

1. CONTENT MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (CMS)

Although CMS have been around for over two decade, they are still the most popular and most versatile way to allow for easy updates to your website content. With CMS, no technical coding skills are required because many systems provide the ability to easily drag and drop elements to easily create basic design changes.

There are many CMS platforms but Crafter Software is the difference your company has been seeking.  Crafter offers an open source, agile, and modern Java-based alternative to closed, proprietary WCM solutions from Oracle, Adobe, HP, OpenText, Documentum, and others.  And Crafter provides a much higher performance solution when compared to other open source solutions that are tightly coupled and based on SQL databases or JCR (e.g. Apache Jackrabbit) repositories.  Crafter leverages best of breed free and open source software, including the Alfresco content platform, the Spring Framework, Freemarker Templating Language, Bootstrap, Google Analytics and Apache Solr.

Keep in mind when considering a CMS platform that site speed is crucial for search and your web design should be properly optimized for it. A slow website will turn your current customers and potential customers away. Because of the importance of site load times on smartphones and tablets, having a responsive design is a must.

2. RESPONSIVE DESIGN

Making a responsive website is essential.  Mobile commerce is now 30% of all e-commerce with over $400 billion in revenue generated each year. Because of this, it’s safe to say that over half of your website traffic comes from mobile devices. Keeping your site load times at a minimum is as important as ever. If your site loads too slowly and customers have a difficult time viewing your site – especially on their smartphone or tablet – they may move on to a competitor’s site.

3. BUSINESS BLOG

A business blog is a great way for you to present relevant content to your audience while giving them a reason to continually come back to your site. It educates your customers and prospects with an opportunity to build trust and a relationship with your brand and business.

Because the blog content needs to be fresh and relevant, it’s smart to begin blogging when you have the time to devote to the long-term commitment. If now is not the right time to start, don’t wait too long. Your competition could be blogging and over time this will work against you while you wait, they will be gaining valuable market share, referrals, inbound links, and of course, customers.

4. SOCIAL MEDIA SHARING

Promoting your business via social media is a given. And, if you have a business blog, there’s no better way to reach your target audience than by promoting it on social media like Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. In addition to promoting your content, social media is a great place for your customers and site visitors to connect and share your information.

Trust is important when promoting on social media, so be sure to take time to share relevant information to targeted audiences who will be interested and most likely to share. Avoid spam posts, they will only annoying people.

5. CONTENT PERSONALIZATION

Creating personalized content for your buyer personas will help increase conversions for your website. One great example of a site that shows just how content personalization works is overstock.com. Once you’ve created an account on the site, you will notice products you have shown interest in are recorded. By watching your behavior, the site is able to suggest and promote similar products.

6. CONVERSION PROCESS

The conversion process begins on the landing page. The sole purpose of a landing page is to convert visitors into leads. Your landing page can promote offers, be an opportunity to get site visitor information, offer whitepapers, ebooks, guides and other information.

Be wary of where you try to convert your website visitors into leads. Doing so at too many spots in the buyer’s journey can actually turn them away as they many find it obnoxious to be required to include contact information in order to simply get access to your website’s content.

You can work around this by promoting free offers that require no forms. By giving your visitors an option to see your site and become educated about your business while being exposed to your ideas, they can make the decision to subscribe further.

7. EMAIL MARKETING & NURTURING

After you have converted leads, you will want to offer additional content that they might find useful. By doing this, you are essentially hooking them and nurturing them throughout their buying journey. Email marketing is the best way to stay in touch and provide content that is useful to them. Again, you do not want to spam them or over email. Keeping their trust and building that relationship is key. Segmenting your leads by persona type and by stage in the buyer’s experience can help make your email marketing efforts more effective.

8. CONTACTS DATABASE AND CRM

For the best result in both sales and marketing, integrate your website with a contacts database. You will be able to store contact information for all leads and customers. You will also be able to store important information about how your contacts are interacting with your site pages, email marketing, and offers. This invaluable information can be used to create offers to your customers and leads at the most opportune times.

Integrating your contacts database with your CRM (Customer Relationship Management) platform allows your sales team to gain insights to each lead and where they are in their buying experience.

TAKEAWAYS

Websites are constantly evolving and are becoming more complex every day. Technology empowers customers in every part of the buying experience while also empowering businesses to provide better and unique user experiences. By embracing it, you give your company a better advantage over the competition and stay current with the latest trends.

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

per-blog
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.