3 Examples of Engaging Digital Experiences (and What They Can Teach Us)

What if I told you that your company could meaningfully engage more customers and grow your brand by offering more compelling digital experiences? Countless companies go through the motions of creating a digital user experience that never connects with individuals. Even big-budget, mainstream brands often stumble — no matter how many experts they use or how many different strategies they implement.

Consider this:

Building a seamless user experience can be simple!

Just let that sink in for a minute.

As you’re about to discover, technology and the ability to solve customers’ problems are far greater than any ineffective expert or strategy. Your company can connect with site visitors today by creating a helpful user experience. The best part is, once you learn how these companies understand their customer needs by examining real-world examples, you’ll be motivated to start.

Here are inspiring examples of brands that have created thriving interactive environments in the digital world.

1) Papa John’s Online Ordering App

The cutthroat U.S. restaurant industry is aggressive about technology because restaurants need to be competitive. Papa John’s understands that people rely more on their devices to buy food and they need to make it simple for customers to order and pay for their food.

So, how is a Papa John’s competing against well-known brands like Dominos?

One prime example of this is Papa John’s implementing an app on Apple TV. A pizza industry first!

The company noticed new ordering opportunities were happening all the time, especially with people streaming movies and binge-watching TV shows. Taking advantage of this opening, Papa John’s created an easy-to-use app. Now you don’t even need to reach for your phone; you can navigate to the app on your TV and create your next pizza order.

Why is the app so convenient?

It all comes down to the right location and features. Not only does the app allow consumers to customize all orders as well as storing past orders, payment, and delivery information, but it meets the customers where they are and the devices they are using, limiting the possibility of another choice coming into play by picking up another device.

papa-johns-apple-tvSource: brandchannel

60% of Papa John’s orders are made through digital channels, from desktops, mobile, to native apps. Digital ordering is one of the biggest battlegrounds in the pizza industry, and Papa John’s is staying ahead of the competition by finding new ways to connect with customers on preferred devices and creating an easy user experience.

What can you learn?

The most significant takeaway is looking at where your customers are located. Are they in an office setting? Do they love the outdoors or maybe prefer their homes? Think of original ways to create a digital experience related to that environment. Then, take it a step further – examine hobbies, professions and other interests related to your company. Have the goal of creating personas to help you better target your message to that audience, and you will see more engagement with your offerings.

2) PGA Tour Mobile App

The effort to use technology to bring fans closer to live events is vital to engage fans – and stakeholders are taking notice. The PGA Tour is looking at the new ways fans are consuming sports, mainly with live golf events – they aim to present an immersive fan experience across all platforms.

So how is this possible?

There are several strategies the PGA Tour uses to engage fans across multiple platforms – including live coverage, 3D radar tracking, on-course content, social media streaming, and 360-degree videos. The efficient way fans receive golf highlights is through this popular mobile app.

Why people love it?

Foremost, individuals like the functionality of the digital experience app. You can navigate to get news and live updates during a tournament, and receive up-to-date stats in real time. Plus, the app has a clean interface, which helps with the overall experience.

pga-courseSource: App store


Here’s what this app teaches you.

It’s important to be accessible to your customers by delivering real-time content through different devices. If you don’t, they will find another digital destination that can meet their needs, and mobile usage is only expected to increase. Once customers receive the content, it needs to be useful and appealing. Achieve this by having the right technology in place with the ability to create useful information and an engaging user experience.

3) AppNexus Website Experience

AppNexus is a powerhouse of a company you might not know about; it is a big ad technology company slated to be a potential challenger to Google and Facebook in online advertising. That said, it has to compel site visitors to connect and learn more about them and its technology solutions.

Here’s how it works.

Have you ever visited a website and thought, “What do they do?” or “This content doesn’t relate to me.” If you’re nodding your head yes, then you are not alone. AppNexus solves this issue right away, on the homepage and in the main header.

Let’s look together. Notice Image 1 at the top provides a company description and includes a call to action.

Image 1

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Source: AppNexus

Next, it talks about video technology and has two call-to-action buttons. It’s brilliant in its simplicity because it has a clear message and targets primary consumers. The same can be said for the example demonstrated in Image 2, but with a different product promotion.

Image 2

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The fourth rotating image (seen in Image 3) describes how to add value to an offered solution and a place to navigate to learn more. This carries over to the next image, before sliding back to the first image.

Image 3

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The AppNexus website creates an interactive and engaging digital experience in less than 30 seconds flat! With a well-thought-out plan on content, AppNexus was able to carry out a responsive and clear theme. The straightforward calls to action help to guide site visitors. Even if you’re not a prospective client, you understand the company, its offerings, and how to access relevant information.

The end result is a company that can sustain and gain new clients like Wayfair, Fox News, ESPN, and Bloomberg, by providing competitive solutions and designing a digital user experience that addresses the needs of each company’s clients.

How can you improve from this example?

When it comes to your website, are you telling customers what you’re offering and who you are (in 30 seconds or less)? If the answer is no, here is how you can fix it. Examine your message and let others that are not in the industry do the same and give feedback. It can help by taking a step back, getting advice, and taking action. I once had a painting instructor say, “Stop painting and walk across the room and look at the piece, then come back to it.” It’s perfect advice because just like in art, in business, we can be so involved it’s hard to see from a fresh perspective – such as that of a site visitor.

Outside of the companies and digital experiences shared, what other ideas you might have that produce appealing user experiences? Leave a comment below to let us know and help someone else develop a more meaningful user experience.

Curious about the how the right technology could help you create innovative user experiences? Contact info@craftersoftware.com and learn more about Crafter CMS.

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

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.

The Reality of Website Personalization

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While by no means a new concept, website personalization is as popular as ever as companies seek to give site visitors a unique experience tailored to their needs and requests. However, tailoring a website to fully engage different types of visitors comes with a few difficulties. The following are three main factors that often make personalization a challenge.

Personalization Takes a Significant Amount of Resources and Time
Although website personalization will ultimately make your company money in the long run, in the short term it takes a lot of time and resources to do it correctly. Think of it this way, if you are personalizing a section on your homepage by audience, you will need to decide how to target each demographic. Then, you will need to create specific content for each audience. Finally, even after those tasks are completed, you are stuck with the additional task of deciding what the overall goal is so you can track the success of the personalized experiences.

After you’ve spent the time doing the above, you need to implement them in a personalization tool. Again, this requires resources and might even be a few days’ worth of work before your site is completely personalized. Once it’s up you and running will need to let it run awhile to let it gain momentum to give you meaningful statistical data. After enough time, you’ll need to go back and evaluate and possibly tweak the content. All of this requires a substantial about of budgeted time and capabilities to be possible. Of course, using a CMS such as Crafter, where the personalization engine is built directly into the platform, makes this effort so much easier than legacy systems.

Reporting Helps Determine Goals
So how do you know whether personalization has really improved your website? That’s when reporting comes to play. Because reporting can vary, knowing what should take priority will help you determine proper goals for your personalization campaign.  In a nutshell, it comes down to conversions — more clicks, downloads, click ratio per audience, and navigation to other sections should all be part of the testing. For e-commerce sites, add shopping cart stats and revenue per customer. Again, nobody said website personalization is easy.

Without realizing how much time it takes to set up and report, many employers simply add the huge task of personalizing the company website onto an employee’s already-busy full-time schedule. This is a really bad idea. Adding personalization to someone’s current job responsibilities without giving it the attention it needs will not yield a successful campaign. Again, having personalization built-in to your CMS platform makes reporting and optimization much more time efficient.

Manage Team Expectations
Website personalization gives visitors to your site a very individual experience, but keep in mind it doesn’t always feel magical on the backend. You may hear people from your team say, “Why can’t we just set up a campaign for this?” (meaning, for every little thing) or “Just run a test!” But from the time it takes to create the content to execute it to testing it to optimizing it, personalizing “everything” just isn’t possible. Laying out how you will be targeting your audience should be established from the beginning, and then you can recycle those groups into new campaigns down the road to help you move faster.

Another expectation you will need to nip in the bud is the fact that personalization won’t necessarily drive traffic to your site. It will, however, keep quality visitors on your site longer, keep them engaged, and ultimately convert visitors into loyal customers. Your leadership team might not be comfortable, yet with the metrics involved with personalization, so you will need to help familiarize them with this type of thinking.

All in all, personalization can be rewarding and the key to success for your company site. But, as you just discovered, it is not easy or quick. To make personalization for your site as quick, efficient, and effective as possible, contact us to learn how a modern platform such as Crafter CMS can help you meet your goals.

 

Avoiding Website Performance Bottlenecks

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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

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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.

New Tool Tests Your Website for Mobile Friendliness

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A recent global mobile study has shown that, collectively, Americans check their smartphones 8 billion times per day. From shopping and checking social media to paying bills and responding to emails, that comes out to about 150 times a day per person. For those keeping tally, that’s up 33 more looks per day than last year. The frequency at which users look at their phones is a huge factor in the popularity of mobile-friendly sites. More than ever, companies are quickly discovering that their website speed and mobile-friendliness is a huge factor in sales and customer loyalty.

When things aren’t moving fast enough, users get frustrated and more than likely switch to a competitor’s site. In fact, according to Google, an average user will leave the site if it doesn’t load within three seconds. And, since more searchers occur on mobile devices than on computers, it has become excruciatingly clear that if a potential customer can’t get through to your company’s site in that timeframe, they are five times more likely to leave. Plainly, a good mobile design is crucial to the success of your business.

Because of this need, Google has come out with mobile speed testing tool to give enterprises an idea of just how fast (or slow) their site loads. They run all the numbers for you to help you take the guesswork out of it. You are even given a report showing where your site fails so you can upgrade your system.

The concept is simple. Using a scale of 1-100, the speed testing site takes your company’s URL and measures the loading speed and mobile-friendliness. Everything from HTML, CSS, and Javascript to how long it takes images to load (on both desktop and mobile) are considered. In addition to how well your site fares, you can also see the specific spots that need improvement. Knowing is half the battle, and seeking development in the inadequate areas as soon as possible will help you keep your company out in front of customers, and far ahead of your competitors.

Ironically, Google failed its own test receiving a 59/100 on mobile speed and a 66/100 on the desktop speed. Both are listed as “poor” ratings.  But these statistics are what Google will use to improve their site.  According to the tool, Google’s desktop speeds could be improved by optimizing images and prioritizing visible content. Certainly interesting (and no doubt humbling considering they got slapped on the wrist by their own site!).

In a mobile world, there’s no reason to have a slow, inadequate website. Allow your company to stand out by giving your users the mobile experience they are looking for – a fast, easy, user-friendly design.

If your company is one of the many out there that has a slow website or poor mobile support, rest assured, an upgrade to Crafter CMS will improve your website and make it mobile-friendly and blazingly fast.

Check out Google’s new tool here: https://testmysite.thinkwithgoogle.com/

Rethinking the Content Management System for Media and Publishing in the Mobile Era

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Ask anyone from the staff at Buzzfeed to the owner of your neighborhood antique store, and they will agree: it’s time to reinvent the CMS so every publisher has the same tools to succeed in a mobile world. After all, in a world of smartphones, users have come to expect a better experience on mobile. Whether they are flipping through apps consuming content from left to right or experiencing rich magazine-like features, keeping the reader engaged is a top priority.

When it comes to moving beyond the desktop, “themeing” in the CMS is necessary to build these experiences across multiple screens. The goal of responsive design is a good starting point, but it doesn’t do the job completely. We need to take it a step further with the CMS being WYSIWYG and component-based. By doing so, any publisher can deliver a rich, touch-enabled experience regardless of the screen or device or wearable the reader uses.

Creating richer experiences on mobile enables engagement, and even monetization, to live within the CMS. Up until now, most CMSs had monetization relegated to the right rail of the page, but with so many users experiencing sites via mobile, it’s become necessary to shift to in-stream experiences. Dynamic experiences and monetization is now living symbiotically with the content. While many legacy CMS vendors have created bridge solutions, the real solution in the long-term is to make the CMS the place where native advertising is created and trafficked in sync with a publisher’s existing ad server. And this requires a CMS built for today’s era of mobile engagement.

Of course, every reader has different tastes and expectations for any given site so in order for native ads to be a success, personal relevance should be a major factor. Rather than a chronological feed, a personalized feed directed at the user’s own interests is needed.  Personalizing the user experience for each individual reader should be at the core of any given CMS. This provides a superior reading experience and users are much more likely to frequently engage with the site.

It isn’t just responsive design that has changed, users have changed their online activity as well. They are no longer simply reading content, leaving comments and moving on. Today, they are sharing more than ever and CMS for the mobile world needs to offer the seamless ability to connect with the online community.

Additionally, writers or anyone interested in creating content should have the option to write on mobile. Unfortunately, CMSs built a decade ago are not a viable option on mobile. Authors should be able to write content from their phone as effortlessly as they tweet.

While we aren’t totally there yet, this reinvention will surely happen. Publishing has drastically changed since the mobile shift and there’s no doubt that reinventing the corresponding CMS software will occur in the near future.

To learn how Crafter CMS was designed and built for the modern era of mobile engagement, contact us today for a personalized demonstration.

 

User Experience: The Single Most Important Element of a Web CMS

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Because it affects how efficient your team works, it can be argued that the single most important element of a web content management solution is the interface used by the editorial team. If the user interface is meager, than the speed at which your team works will be slow, the quality of content produced will be lacking, and traffic to your site will ultimately drop.

Usability all comes down to the web CMS features. There are some features that will come second nature to your editorial team while others will be obtuse. Overall, a system that is user-friendly and embraces the most casual content editor is one that will make your editorial team most productive.  Likewise, you will be pleased because your team will be more efficient and more productive on a system that most closely matches user experiences they are comfortable with.

That said, when it comes to evaluating a new web CMS solution, a few key usability features that all clients should look for include:

Performance of the Editor’s Console: The fastest way to aggravate your users is to have a slow system. If the interface gets stuck or isn’t responsive during the workflow process, it will quickly cause frustration. This will, in turn, cause a lack of confidence in the entire system, and ultimately lead to a breakdown in adoption and use.

Window Management, Lightboxes and Transparency: Those who used a CMS solution in the late ‘90s may remember the annoying pop-ups. From editing an article using the in-context tool to adding a link, the constant pop-ups seemed endless. Now, interfaces that use JavaScript Lightboxes are much simpler because all edits are kept in the same window. This preferred solution is faster and keeps edits in the right order. Additionally, transparency is important.

In-Context Editing: Rather than the traditional model of opening a window to edit a full piece of content, this new feature allows for a faster, more intuitive style of editing. Users simply click on the article title and it becomes a text field for simple adjustment. Streamlining the editing process is a win for everyone.

Contemporary Design Features: Keeping the designs fresh and contemporary as possible is an ongoing task for CMS design teams. Whether it’s the simple features of rounded corners or the distinct single- and double-clicking responses, these distinctions are what make interacting with the software so valuable to editors.

Each organization has its own internal culture, from the work attitude to the comfort level with digital user interfaces. The best way for you to make the right decision for your digital content group is to try a CMS solution firsthand. Once you use it, you will see how it will work for you and your team. Contact us at Crafter to answer any questions you may have about a web content management solution for your enterprise, or to start a free trial today.

The Pros and Cons of a SaaS CMS

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A Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) Web Content Management System (CMS) exists in a multi-tenant, fully cloud hosted and managed environment. Pricing for a SaaS Web CMS is usually based on a per-user and/or per-site basis that usually incorporates a baseline amount of data transfer (i.e., bandwidth to and from your site) and storage (for your content). SaaS CMS is not to be confused with Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), which is a single tenant system that requires more maintenance but also enables much more customization. Also don’t confuse SaaS with a “Managed Services” cloud solution for a CMS that is just a regular on-premise CMS deployment that may run on cloud infrastructure and be managed by a third-party, but provides none of the cost, agility and scalability benefits of a SaaS approach.

In this post, we will focus on SaaS. The following list of pros and cons will help you make the best decision for your enterprise.

Pros of a SaaS Web CMS:

1. Costs are kept Low

Because SaaS CMS is based on a subscription model, users are not faced with a large licensing fee upfront. In most cases a SaaA CMS project entails a small setup fee which covers the cost of a basic implementation.

2. IT Staff Unburdened

Your internal IT staff will no longer feel the burden when a support issue arises. Instead your SaaS vendor will take care of any issue, and typically at no additional cost. Also, upgrades and maintenance are automatically done by the SaaS vendor.

3. Accessible

SaaS CMS is a virtual product which means it can usually be accessed from any computer, tablet, or mobile device as long as an internet connection is available.

4. Easily Add-On More Users and More Sites

With a SaaS model, you can easily add new users as your team grows, and as your content needs grow. Similarly, adding more sites is as easy a click of the button as you want to spin up new sites — microsites, campaign sites, landing pages, etc. With a multiple-user and multi-site model, your price depends on the number of users and sites with access to the system. So you are only paying for what you use.

5. Up-to-Date Software

With SaaS you can count on new features being added in real time. The latest features and innovation are typically available to all users at no additional costs.

6. Security

As your SaaS vendor handles all the development and QA, you never need to worry about malware or buggy add-ons to the CMS. If the SaaS vendor releases it as a feature add-on, you can feel confident that it won’t expose your site to security threats of any kind.

7. Support Included

Support is included in the SaaS subscription so you can rest assured that any issues will be addressed promptly and effectively. With a multi-tenant architecture, if an issue is affecting one customer, then it’s probably affecting all customers. So the SaaS vendor is extra motivated to resolve all reported issues promptly and effectively. This also means you benefit from issues found by other users of the SaaS CMS, leading to a more robust CMS for all.

8. Implementation Speed

Launching a new website is faster than ever since the CMS is already deployed in its underlying cloud infrastructure. There is no setup and configuration for your Dev, QA, and Production sites. As a result, a SaaS CMS is much faster than traditional web and mobile app development.

Cons of a SaaS Web CMS:

1. Internal Control

Because IT departments are so used to have complete control, it can take a second to get used to a new system where  SaaS CMS platforms are built and housed in cloud infrastructure.

2. Subscription Fee

There are “free” and “freemium” systems available so it can be startling at first for smaller enterprises to choose a model with a fee. However it is up to you to decide if the value of the SaaS platform is worth it to your business.  Keep in mind the subscription costs include support too.

3. Closed Development

SaaS CMS platforms are typically proprietary systems that are under complete control of the vendor, and so they don’t allow for the benefits of an open source type development model. Crafter Cloud is one major exception in the industry, as it is a SaaS CMS solution that benefits from the open source development of Crafter CMS. Also, a SaaS solution does not allow for heavy customization (e.g., does not allow back-end code changes) because a multi-tenant infrastructure is, by its very nature, shared across all users. Again, Crafter Cloud is one major exception in the industry, as we provide a unique, secure, isolated development environment based on the Groovy scripting language that enables all kinds of custom development, all without sacrificing the benefits of a SaaS model. So your enterprise can deliver truly unique, branded, personalized experiences.

SaaS CMS solution can be ideal for certain applications and not so great for others, but it is up to you to consider the needs for your team and enterprise when determining different CMS options to find the solution that best fits your project.  Not one CMS platform is the universal choice for all websites and mobile apps, but a true SaaS CMS makes a strong case in most projects nowadays, so be sure you include it in your list of options.

To learn more about Crafter Cloud, the the groundbreaking SaaS Web CMS, visit craftercloud.io. If you need help determining which CMS approach is best for your organization, contact us directly or reach out to one of our certified consulting partners.