Monday, March 28, 2011

The Web Content Management Fantasy Draft

Tonight, I’ll participate in my first fantasy sport draft since I was in high school. A lot has changed since then.

As the commissioner back then, I had to grab the newspaper each morning, update the stats in an Excel spreadsheet, and show the other players to get their approval. Now, everything is automated (thank goodness) and up to the minute, with minimal manual intervention.

But it got me thinking – if I was doing a fantasy draft around .NET WCMS tools, how would the top ten draft picks go?

Well, here’s what my “cheat sheet” looks like:
  1. Solid Company / Support – Regardless of the technology, I need someone I can depend on. Every project has a problem here or there, so I need a partner that can provide the support I need, when I need it. Therefore, as long as the technologies are fairly equal, a partner I can depend on is the top pick every time.
  2. Easy to Integrate With / Open Architecture – If I’m like most people (and I am), I’m not interested in rebuilding my entire infrastructure at once. Therefore, I need a tool that allows me to utilize the elements I’ve already built, within the new system, until I’m ready to replace those pieces too. That’s why a good API and any other integration hooks available make this the second pick.
  3. Great Marketing Tools – Marketers are equipped with so much more data and capabilities than ever before, so when I start getting into “feature picks”, an innovative marketing suite tops the list.
  4. Synchronization Capabilities – If you’re considering authoring on your production site, or even with a staging site that’s connected to your production database, you’re asking for trouble. If the WCMS doesn’t have the ability to manage multiple sites with multiple databases and automatically transfer data from one instance to the next, I’m not buying. That’s why synchronization slots in at number 4.
  5. Mobile Site Management – I may still design my PC version of the site first, but the mobile version is a close second (if not the first). The tool needs to support our mobile initiatives and while this may be a pick that goes higher for some, it definitely won’t drop lower than number 5.
  6. Enterprise Search – A real bargain at number 6, search is so critical to today’s web users. Because it has become a part of navigation, having a clean, easy-to-use, effective search should be a top feature for any website. Having a WCMS tool with an enterprise-class search makes this a great pick at number 6.
  7. Clean WYSIWYG and Drag and Drop Editing – As we move into the later part of the first round, we start looking for value picks. Just about every quality WCMS is going to have a WYSIWYG editor, but those that can give me more than that have an advantage. A safe pick at 7 for sure.
  8. Social Media Features – Social is more than just tweeting and Facebooking, it’s about connecting with your customers on a more personal level. And truthfully, we really can these days. Some WCMS tools offer content targeting, multivariate testing, and personalization technologies to enhance the overall user experience, as well as the ability to integrate with Facebook, Twitter, and the like, making this a great pick at number 8.
  9. Integrated Commerce Package – For those that don’t have commerce requirements, this likely isn’t a top 10 consideration. For those that do, it might be a top 3 pick. WCMS tools that have an integrated commerce package make product and order management infinitely easier than those that don’t. 
  10. Analytics Support – The industry still seems somewhat divided on this one as some WCMS tools choose to integrate with existing analytics providers like Omniture, Web Trends, and Google Analytics, while others build their own. Because of the complexity many marketers utilize in establishing their analytics configuration, I tend to lean towards integrating with the existing carrier as it removes one roadblock that can sometimes slow down the speed to web. A good pick at number 10 for sure.
So there you have it, my top 10. Did I get it right? What am I missing? Be sure to comment below, I’d love your feedback.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Should You Have Two Facebook Accounts?

Have you accumulated 500 million friends yet? Me neither. But, it hasn’t stopped me from trying…

When I first got on Facebook, I was rather skeptical. All I heard was that it had this annoying Farmville game that was all anyone ever talked about. However, I knew that to help my company grow, I needed to get active on the social media channels.

Therefore, I started connecting to business colleagues that I found on Facebook. Then, predictably, I got flooded with invitations from former classmates, long lost friends, and family members.

The first group was interested in posts about recent site launches and new technologies, but the latter group, not so much. Likewise, the latter group constantly asked for baby pictures and things like that, things that the business users didn’t really care for.

So for me, the line got very blurry – how should I be using Facebook?

It is Blurry, If You Think About It

In the social media realm, no site has been more successful than Facebook. Facebook’s subscriber numbers are through the roof and it continues to grow at a ridiculous pace. Heck, Facebook even had a movie about it released this past year.

However, no site is also as ambiguous when it comes to how to make the divide between personal and business use. Sure, you can setup User Groups, but you can't really restrict business colleagues from seeing personal photos and personal friends from seeing business posts.

A site like LinkedIn makes its objective very clear: “a networking tool to find connections to recommended job candidates, industry experts and business partners” (from There are no personal photo galleries; Friends are called Colleagues, and even “wall posts” are almost always business-related (and never talk about getting inebriated on Friday night…).

However, with Facebook, that's hardly the case. Facebook’s objective reads: “Facebook is a social utility that connects people with friends and others who work, study and live around them” (from Not exactly a clear distinction between personal and business use.

With Facebook, one post could be a picture of a young child playing baseball and the next could be directing users to a recent blog post. So it begs the question: should you have two Facebook accounts?

Is Two Better than One?

A colleague of mine doesn’t really utilize LinkedIn, but is an avid Facebook user. Therefore, he connects with business contacts all the time on Facebook.

And, while Ektron management isn’t thrilled with some of his college-age photo galleries on Facebook, they certainly want to encourage him to continue connecting with business contacts because it has proved to be a successful approach to building relationships with our clients. Because of this, I believe he is the perfect candidate for the two Facebook account approach.

His current Facebook account can remain for personal use. Pictures of him at the Red Sox games can remain, noting that he’s 'in a relationship’, etc… He can then create a second account and re-connect with his business contacts there.

In that account, he can post work-related information and downloads, information about his professional background, and other material that his personal friends likely don’t care about. And the best part is that this allows him to continue using the tool he’s most comfortable with to manage both sets of relationships.

Naysayers will say that maintaining two accounts is too much work, but is it, really? With mobile devices capable of supporting multiple accounts, and tools like Tweetdeck for your PC, it is easier than it has ever been.

And just think, if we all start setting up two Facebook accounts, there will be twice as many friends out there to connect with to get to 500 million…

What say you? Is having two Facebook accounts a bad idea? Comment below to tell everyone why.