Most modern websites utilize a CMS (Content Management System) to allow the website administrators to make changes, post content, and manage the website. This is in contrast the old days of calling your design agency to get changes made, which could get very expensive and caused delays in updates. While website management was previously the realm only of highly skilled individuals (sometimes called “webmasters”), a CMS opens up control to non-technical members of an organization, such as the marketing director, administrative assistant, or even the CEO.
At SpinWeb, we create sites on the Accrisoft Freedom platform. Freedom is a CMS that is a bit unique and has some very nice benefits over some of the other players. Indianapolis seems to be a WordPress town and I see a lot of companies using it as a website platform. There is nothing wrong with WordPress and in fact my own personal blog and speaking site is built on WordPress. However, Freedom has some distinct advantages when it comes to usability, depth of features, and support. I enjoy the fact that we are unique and utilize Freedom as our platform of choice, especially for larger organizations that demand more than the open-source platforms can typically provide.
A Content Management System with Support
One nice thing about Freedom is that it is fully supported and maintained by Accrisoft. There is a dedicated development team that is getting paid to create new features, extend existing modules, and turn customer feedback into a platform that empowers organizations to communicate online. Accrisoft is a great company and I have had many great conversations with CEO Jeff Kline about the future of the platform and about online business in general.
Freedom’s codebase is pushed out from a central server that ensures that every install is consistent. With many open source platforms, the typical model is to set up 50+ different websites that are all using different plug-ins, versions, and hacks which then becomes a nightmare to maintain as an agency. Freedom allows SpinWeb to support and maintain an indefinite number of websites without worrying about inconsistencies between them. Because all the software is hosted in the cloud, our clients have no need to worry about installing software on their computers. They can simply log in and go to work. Additionally, we can upgrade our clients’ websites in a matter of minutes when new versions of Freedom are released.
Outstanding User Interface
Freedom also has an excellent user interface. While some of the open source platforms can be confusing to end users, Freedom presents a clean, simple interface that makes it very easy for non-technical people to manage their websites.
Extensible Modules for Email, Forms, E-commerce and More
Freedom provides a number of powerful modules that integrate seamlessly into other parts of the website. For example, Freedom includes a built-in Email Marketing module, which gives website owners a complete private Email Marketing solution built right into the website. It includes templates, scheduling, subscriber management, and delivery statistics built right in. It also pulls data from other modules so that marketers can send campaigns to lists generated from other parts of the site, such as event registrations.
The Forms module in Freedom is extremely powerful and rivals many of the standalone form builders available today. With Freedom, non-technical website administrators can build complex (or simple) forms for applications, event registrations, donations, and lead capture all with a few clicks. That form data can then be processed and exported in a variety of ways or even integrated into the shopping cart for advanced e-commerce applications.
The built in shopping cart in Freedom also allows businesses to deploy an integrated e-commerce solution on their websites and sell products with minimal effort. This can also extend to event registrations, allowing organizations to sell registrations to events and accept credit card or e-check payments online.
Freedom has built-in modules for Blogs, Event Calendars, Press Releases, Podcasts, Forums, Directories, RSS, Affiliate Programs, Billing, and Polls, to name just a few of the other options in the system. Additionally, most modules can integrate with the leading social networks, which means that website updates can automatically get pushed directly to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
Freedom is a very secure system. Not only is it a well-tested and hardened application, but it also has an excellent multi-user management feature, which allows multiple website managers to have different roles and levels of access. It also has a Workflow module, which allows editors to approve or reject changes before they go live.
Membership Organization Sites
I would be remiss if I did not also highlight Freedom’s excellent solution for member-based organizations, such as associations. Freedom’s Membership module allows member-based groups to manage a complete database of members and allow those members to maintain their accounts and make updates via the web. The module also allows member billing, CRM, marketing, and communication. Businesses can also use it as a customer database and in fact SpinWeb’s entire client database and billing system is managed via Freedom, complete with email invoicing, recurring billing, and online payments.
As you can see, one huge advantage to using Freedom is that everything is in one place. Before working with us, many of our clients were using different tools for email marketing, e-commerce, blogging, event registration, web content, and membership management. After switching to Freedom, they love the ease of use and efficiency (not to mention the cost savings) of having everything in one place.
Search Engine Optimized Content Management System
Freedom is also very search engine friendly. Freedom-based websites use “HURLs” (Human-readable URLs) which means that content can be indexed by search engines much more easily. HURLs help boost a website’s rankings in search engines and also look much better to humans than the typical database-driven URLs in many other systems. The HURLs in Freedom are completely customizable.
As an authorized Accrisoft Solution Provider, SpinWeb is able to deploy websites extremely quickly and with consistent quality every time due to our standardization on Freedom. Our clients love the ease of use, powerful integration, and level of control that they now have when managing their websites.