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.

1 comment:

  1. I've got one to add... a great community.

    Anyone who purchases a WCM product should not be left feeling like they are an army of one going into a six-month (or longer) battle of learning new tools and best practices. At the same time, they shouldn't be left feeling like they need to call support for every new aspect of the project.

    Hiring one-on-one consulting services from a vendor is great, but not everyone has that option.

    That's where a great and established network of community support comes in.

    Can you reach your vendor on Twitter? Do they have forums where you can search for other folks who have had the same or similar questions? Does the vendor provide instruction in the form of live webinars and blog posts?

    Take a look a what they provide outside of the white box and where you can find community assistance in getting you started.