There's a lot of discussion on this blog about optimization, conversion optimization, inbound marketing, search engine optimization… even multivariate testing and landing page optimization. Sometimes we forget that many sites are still in the 1990's and are hard-coded HTML pages sitting unchanged on a server!
I logged in via FTP, downloaded the file and made the necessary edits via Dreamweaver. I then lectured them that all of this work was really unnecessary. Another recent customer had sent their marketer off to HTML training so that they could have their site updated. This was also unnecessary. While a knowledge of web technologies is helpful, a good content management system can provide your company with all the tools needed to keep your site updated daily while removing the education and technical obstacles.
For the cost of the classes or the ongoing payments to the web guy, these companies could have implemented a robust content management system that they could control.
For one such customer, Paper-Lite, a document management system provider, we utilized WordPress. There are a number of other able content management solutions on the market, but this one had all the bells and whistles and was easily adaptable to the customer's requirements.
Virtually every domain registrar now offers their own content management system or has auto-installation of other content management systems. My only advice would be to stick to a platform that has wide adoption and a large development community with it.
Keep in mind that installing a free CMS is not free, though. Maintenance upgrades are a must! Being the big boy on the free CMS block also lends itself to more criminals attempting to hack your platform. A free CMS hosted on a cheap hosting platform will also not withstand a ton of traffic – requiring you to beef up your infrastructure.
The benefits outweigh the risks if you have a good handy-man to keep your CMS healthy, though. Along with installing and configuring the CMS:
- We did some back-end optimizations for search engines with the right plugins and theme formatting.
- We customized the login page so their customers could login and see restricted content.
- We configured and tweaked a quote plugin to rotate customer quotes on the home page footer.
- We purchased and installed a robust form solution so they could capture inbound marketing leads.
- We updated an htaccess file to redirect old links to new paths to the same content. We also installed a redirection plugin to handle additional redirect requirements. This is often a step that's overlooked by web designers and can kill your optimization. Make sure your old links still work… just point them to the new content!
- We installed themes and plugins so the site would render perfectly on iPhone, iPod touch and other mobile devices. People are utilizing mobile devices to browse sites more and more… is your site readable on these devices?
- We configured breadcrumbs on sections of the site with deep navigation so customers could navigate easier.
- Of course, we configured Webmasters, Stats plugins, and Analytics as well so the company could monitor its traffic.
Perhaps most important, we continue to help the company adopt to the new platform and utilize it effectively. A CMS like WordPress can be a bit daunting at first. I can assure you it's much easier than explaining FTP and HTML, though!
Lastly, although WordPress is a worthy blogging platform, I honestly believe it's a much better website content management system. There is software as a service solutions like Marketpath that offer site management, blogging, and even ecommerce.