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.

web_enterprise3

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

Website SEO and analytics icons
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.

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.

Crafter Software Recognizes Top Community Contributors

top-com-con-mar2016-01

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!

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.
customer-v2-01

#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!

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

football

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.

3 Can’t Miss Trends On Why Your Company Needs A Web Experience Management System

3-Trends-Web-CMS

As the internet landscape changes, adapting to new trends is not only necessary, but crucial to effectively engaging with clients and prospects. More than ever, in this age of engagement, we are expected to communicate with friends, leads, customers, critics and fans on their terms – be it their schedule, language, location, or optimizing for their device. Consistently the line between on-line and off-line is blurring, and the experience immersive.

The most recent trends that are swiftly defining the need for Web experience management include social, personal and mobile growth. While each of the trends individually play a significant role in user experience, they also successfully work together, emphasizing one another in a way that is fast-tracking the trends entirely.

The following are the three most fundamental trends driving your company’s need for Web Experience Management and why adapting to them is vital to the life of your business.

1) Social
Gone are the days of online anonymity. The Web is a place to be social, engaging, and community-driven. With over 900 million reported Facebook users and an estimated 150 million Twitter users, social media is ubiquitous and consumers are looking to the personal aspects of the internet to help them make their decisions. Studies show that although only 14% of consumers trust traditional advertisement, a whopping 78% trust peer recommendations such as those on Twitter and Facebook. The personal and relevant communication driven by peers leaves no question as to why social trends are so significant.

2) Personal
While the web is vast and continuously growing, it is also evolving users to become more local and personal with their experience. Today the internet delivers news, reviews, sales and services to users in real-time. Information can be personalized to each individual according to their personal choices and desires. The internet is consistently making the world smaller by personalizing user experience and increasing the information available to each of us.

3) Mobile
Users go from their desktops and notebooks to tablets and phones without skipping a beat. The Web is constantly at users’ fingertips thanks to the growth of mobile access. Users are always on or can be within seconds. While there are 6.8 billion people in the world, an estimated 4.7 billion people have access to the internet via mobile device. Whether standing in line at a coffee shop or taking a selfie atop Mount Fuji, mobile devices are giving users access to the internet at any time in any place.

Because these trends are in the forefront of the current user experience, your audience has easily grown accustomed to them. Therefore, meeting the demands of a new era of engagement means personalizing a coherent and consistent customer experience. Regardless if your audience steps into your store, logs on to your Facebook page or peruses your website, they expect uniformity. Adopting the changes associated with these trends should be on your short-list of priorities, even if it means tackling the job with limited resources. An effective strategy along with the right tools, can help you get the Web experience that engages your audience and keeps them coming back.

Crafter Software Announces Annual Global Partner Awards

crafter-partner-awards-2014

Crafter Software recently announce our first annual global partner awards.  These awards recognize outstanding performance of System Integrator and Technology Partners. Partners are selected based on demonstrated excellence in the areas of customer satisfaction, innovation and open source community involvement.

“Crafter Software experienced over 200% growth in sales in 2014, in large part due to our exceptional partner ecosystem,” said Russ Danner, VP of Products at Crafter Software. “Crafter CMS is chosen by many of the world’s top brands for building next generation customer experiences because of its ease of use and its unique architecture. Our partners are instrumental in helping our customers quickly identify and implement innovative solutions that drive great customer experiences and better bottom line results.”

The following companies are recipients of the Crafter Software Partner Awards for 2014.

North America Partner of the Year Award: Rivet Logic
“Today’s content, data and user experience challenges require a new approach,” said Alaaeldin El-Nattar, Executive Vice President of Client Services at Rivet Logic. “Crafter CMS is the most modern open source and SaaS platform of its kind. Crafter enables our team of experts to deliver truly engaging websites, sleek mobile applications, and rich multi-channel digital experiences for our clients.”

EMEA Partner of the Year Award: Sourcesense
“Crafter CMS enables Sourcesense to meet the need for a full suite of WCM and ECM capabilities for large, high profile organizations throughout Europe” said Massimo Massacesi, Partner & Alliances Director of Sourcesense.

Crafter Enterprise Innovator Award: Blue Fish Development Group
“Crafter’s WCM architecture and integration with enterprise content management makes it possible to deliver a wide range of content solutions to our clients – including traditional websites, e-commerce, portal and other content oriented applications on premise or in the cloud.” said Jeff Philipp, CEO, Blue Fish Development Group.

Crafter Cloud Innovator Award: Tribloom
“It is no secret that many CIOs are moving their business systems to the cloud. Crafter Software’s SaaS and hybrid solutions provide a high ROI and allow organizations to focus their resources on what matters most to their business. Crafter Cloud is leading the way for the future of web content management.” said Michael McCarthy, CTO, Tribloom.

Crafter CMS’s award-winning web content and experience management solution, paired with our partners’ specialized experience in modern open source and cloud implementations, has helped leading enterprises reclaim freedom over their websites, mobile applications and multi-channel digital experiences.

To learn more about our exceptional partners visit our Partner Page.

Content.gov 2015 Recap: Taking Back Control Over Content

content-2015-recap-taking-back-control-over-content

Content.gov 2015 brought together industry experts, IT leadership and developers with extensive implementation experience who gathered to exchange ideas and explore best practices on managing content and documents digitally. Attendees learned from experts with extensive practical experience garnered from large real-world enterprise content management implemented into the public sector.

“Document management done well can bring order to an increasing volume of electronic documents, help organizations meet legal and regulatory compliance requirements, and reduce paper documentation.” Apoorv Durga, Analyst, Real Story Group.

This event showcased the undeniable growth of content and how new opportunities can emerge, especially in the public sector. One example illustrating this is the large growing number of content, documents and processes moving online. The government has the perfect opportunity now to build a better work environment through a modern, user-friendly and collaborative multi-channel application that allows for faster, convenient access to the growing volume of content. This approach will enable the public sector to become more effective and efficient, in organizing, securing, processing, and locating all of their content.

Russ-Danner-VP-Products-Crafter

Russ Danner, VP, Products, Crafter Software

Each year Alfresco’s Content.gov conference attracts leading vendors in the enterprise content management  space.  Crafter Software sponsored the event to share our expert knowledge on Web Experience Management solutions, and to demo Crafter CMS – our modern award-winning Web CMS platform solution for Alfresco, that allows organizations to build and manage rich online experiences on the web, mobile, social, and all digital online channels.

At the start of the event, attendees sat and listened to the to the first talk on “Modernizing Today’s Business” by Doug Dennerline, CEO at Alfresco. During his speech, Mr. Dennerline pointed out how enterprises can benefit in a number of ways by having all of their content stored digitally and located in one centralized place.

Next up were keynote speeches from Directors, Senior Architects, Program Managers, CIOs and VPs, with one common mission in mind: to show how companies can gain control over their content with a digital solution.

Lisa Haralampus, Director of the Federal Records Management Policy Section, Office of the Chief Records Officer for the U.S. Government, NARA, was truly passionate about document management. Her talk emphasized how large the government can be and made a simple point to explain that a one size fits all approach does not fit all in the public sector. She also conveyed the need to archive and classify all of the nations important documents and communications within National Archives and Records Administration. This is where Alfresco helps to solve this issue with their simple, smart and secure technology allowing the NARA to enforce the policies of Managing Government Records Directive in a way that is secure and easy, allowing stakeholders to access information across all departments.

executive-panel-discussion

Candid shot of the Executive Panel Discussion

At the conclusion of keynote speeches, Alfresco and FedScoop held an executive panel discussion to answer questions and address key topics in the IT Government community related to solutions to manage all documents and content in a digital solution.

Event Summary: Intimate event hosted by Alfresco with ample time to talk with industry experts, IT leadership, developers and vendors, about enterprise content management in the public sector. Plus, the great location and food made for a relaxed learning environment.

Like to learn more about enterprise and web content management in the public sector? Check out Crafter CMS or email us at info@craftersoftware.

 

Three Reasons to Attend Content.gov 2015

cherry-blossom

Crafter Software is excited to announce our sponsorship of Alfresco’s Content.gov Conference in Washington DC on March 24th 2015!

Join us at Content.gov 2015 and meet with industry experts, IT leadership and developers with extensive implementation experience to exchange ideas and explore best practices for enterprise content management in the public sector.

Here are 3 Reasons why you need to be at Content.Gov 2015!

#1: Intimate Access to Industry Experts and IT Leaders

Content.gov boasts an exclusive list of speakers and vendors, offering attendees a perfect forum to network with one-another and industry leaders. Don’t miss out on this rare opportunity for face-to-face access to the industry’s best and brightest and a chance to learn about today’s best practices and emerging trends in enterprise and web content management.

#2: Leading Vendors and Product Exhibition

Each year Content.gov attracts leading vendors in the digital experience and enterprise content management space. The vendor exhibition is a  great resource for attendees to discover new solutions and meet technical experts.

While you are there, stop by the Crafter Software booth! Meet our team, see a demo of Crafter CMS, our award-winning web content management platform for Alfresco, and sign up to win a prize in our raffle!

#3: Fun Location

Content.gov 2015 will be hosted at the Newseum, positioned between the White House and the U.S. Capitol. This impressive museum invites visitors on an interactive journey to explore journalism’s history through historic artifacts, Pulitzer Prize-winning photographs, hands-on exhibits and much more!

We look forward to meeting you in DC!

Click here to register for this event and meet top IT government leaders.