[Webinar Recap] How To Build a Microsite in 30 Minutes – No Coding Required

Missed our webinar? Don’t sweat it. View the recording of our presentation and find out how you can build a microsite that will be easy to set up and engage your site visitors.

Marketers recognize the value of focusing on specific campaign goals. A microsite is one way to do this effectively. For many companies, finding the right platform to set up easily, engage, and update without the help of the IT department can present a challenge.

This webinar gives you precise step-by-step instructions on how to create a microsite and where to start. You can watch the full recording below — we also included a link to a non-audio version of the presentation on SlideShare. And, as a result of this popular webinar, we had questions come in, and we have answered them below. Enjoy!

Watch The Full Webinar:

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Video: How to Build a Microsite in 30 Minutes – No Coding Required

Check Out On SlideShare Here:

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How to Build a Microsite in 30 Minutes – No Coding Required from Craftersoftware.com

Questions that came in after the webinar:

1.  Can a microsite help to boost SEO?

Yes, employing a microsite will boost your brand’s overall SEO ranking and will allow new site visitors to find your business online. Visitors, who are unfamiliar with your enterprise, may discover the microsite through organic search, referral links, and social media. Including a logo and linking back to the parent website invites visitors to learn more.

2.  What types of content are supported (video, .pdf, audio files, XML and binary downloads)

Crafter CMS supports all types of content and can be integrated with any media player.

3.  Does Crafter CMS offer language translation for a microsite? What languages are supported?

Yes, the Crafter CMS platform supports language translation and workflow. Crafter CMS integrates seamlessly with most translation platforms and supports all languages worldwide.

4.  As a marketer, what are the biggest benefits of implementing a Crafter CMS microsite?

Since microsites can be deployed swiftly and cost-effectively, they represent a way to test multiple campaigns. The marketer can use targeted, personalized content and then use analytics to measure market engagement. Also, microsites can offer marketing teams the freedom to experiment without the restrictions that may exist on the primary website. By giving the marketing team this freedom to quickly run multiple campaigns, the enterprise may uncover new best practices and generate more sales opportunities, allowing your company to compete with other brands for the attention of site visitors.

More questions, comments or concerns? Let us know in the comments section.

Like more information about the webinar or Crafter CMS? Email us at info@craftersoftware.com.

 

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.

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.

How Your Web CMS Should Enable a Digital Experience

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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.

Three Customer Experience Stats You Should Know

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.