In the second post in our Content Management Systems (CMS) series, we take a look at Sitefinity by Telerik. Sitefinity is a marketing-oriented CMS that offers a robust content management solution for firms on a modest budget. One way it reduces costs is by placing a great deal of control directly into the hands of content authors, whereas other CMS’ may require customizations performed by a developer. Today we’ll focus on two innovative features of Sitefinity – page personalization and mobile website management – that put power and control of a website’s content into the hands of marketers.
Sitefinity offers a robust personalization system that enables content authors to customize the content, layout, and appearance of a page based upon characteristics of a website visitor. Consider characteristics like visitors that reached the site via certain search terms, visitors from a particular state or country, or visitors redirecting to your site from another website.
To demonstrate the capabilities of Sitefinity’s personalization options, let’s explore a sign-up form on a website. Let’s say that we want to customize the sign-up form for visitors that come to the site from a business partner’s website.
First, we’ll start with the existing, un-personalized sign-up form. Currently, every visitor, regardless of where they came from, are shown the standard sign-up page. The sign-up page currently consists of the sign-up form at the top of the page, with some content and an image towards the bottom.
So, we’d like to customize the experience visitors coming to the site after they clicked on a link on a business partner’s website. While many CMS’ would require a developer to write custom code to handle this situation, Sitefinity enables content authors to configure all aspects of the personalization within the CMS interface.
First, the content author would configure a “User Segment”. A user segment consists of a set of characteristics that identify the website visitor. Sitefinity provides a number of options for identifying visitors such as by their IP address, search keywords, referral address, and visit duration. For our purposes, we’ll be using referral address to check if the visitor is coming from a partner site. We can configure a new user segment with the referral address set to that of the partner site:
After configuring the user segment we can customize the sign-up page. Then, any visitors that match the criteria of the defined user segment will be shown the personalized page, while all other users will continue to be shown the existing, standard page design.
Our sign-up form has been customized with information that pertains to customers of the partner company:
Putting the power of personalization into the content author’s hands significantly enhances the marketing capabilities of the content management system. Marketers can easily experiment with different approaches for catering to the specific needs of the site visitors. This allows them to maximize the site’s effectiveness without the need for customizations written by a developer.
Many content management systems offer little in the way of mobile website management out-of-the-box. Although these systems could certainly be customized to handle a mobile website, Sitefinity clearly considers mobile sites to be a first-class citizen, providing many options for handling mobile devices. Sitefinity takes an approach that tightly integrates mobile devices with its concept of page layouts, allowing for a desktop webpage to automatically re-arrange itself for mobile devices.
All Sitefinity pages are built as a series of Layout elements (1 column, 2 column, etc.), with Widgets (HTML content, an image, a list of blog posts, etc.) placed in each.
First, the content author defines a set of rules to identity a mobile device. Sitefinity comes with several pre-set rule profiles, but these can be customized to meet the needs of each website. Profiles consist of a series of device screen widths, as shown below.
Next, the content author indicates how they would prefer the page to be adjusted for devices that match the profile. For example, a two column layout could be adjusted to be shown as two rows on a mobile device.
A content author could create a series of rules that govern how the site displays on different types of mobile devices. For example, the author could configure the site to display in three rows on a smartphone, but a different layout on a larger tablet device. By placing control of the mobile website page layout into the hands of content authors, Sitefinity has enabled marketers to experiment with the most effective means of connecting with the mobile audience.
As we’ve seen in our exploration of Sitefinity’s personalization and mobile capabilities, Sitefinity places a great deal of control into the hands of content authors. These features, along with the many other capabilities of Sitefinity, make it an ideal platform to build content managed websites.
Stay tuned for part three in our series where we explore another Content Management System, Sitecore.
Other Posts from the Primacy CMS Series: