Launch your WCM before your Redesign

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You can make your site work better for your business TODAY. Read on to learn why you should rethink your redesign strategy and get started with web content management first.

You can make your site work better for your business TODAY. Read on to learn why you should rethink your redesign strategy and get started with web content management first.

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  • 1. Percussion Software, Inc. • 600 Unicorn Park Drive, Woburn, Massachusetts 01801 • @ percussion • www.percussion.com • Tel. 781 438 9900 A White Paper by Percussion Software, Inc.A White Paper by Percussion Software, Inc. Challenge the Orthodoxy: Launch your WCM before your Redesign
  • 2. © Copyright 2013 Percussion Software, Inc. 2 Challenge the Orthodoxy: Launch your WCM before Redesign Contents Executive Summary...................................................................................... 3 Susan’s Web Site Snafu ............................................................................... 3 Linking WCM to Site Redesign: Why it Doesn’t Make Sense......................................................................... 5 What to Look for in a WCM Product........................................................................................ 7 Conclusion.................................................................................................... 8 Three Things to Do Now to Accelerate Your Web Initiatives...................................................................................... 8 About Percussion Software ......................................................................... 9
  • 3. © Copyright 2013 Percussion Software, Inc. 3 Challenge the Orthodoxy: Launch your WCM before Redesign By deploying the right content management system now—before your redesign—you can get a much- needed jump on meeting your most critical online business objectives. Executive Summary Your web content management (WCM) system can have a huge impact on your business, for better or worse. It can make the difference between a stale, rigid and largely ineffective site, and one that delivers the value your company needs. Most people think that WCM is inherently complicated, fixing it must be an ordeal, and any changes to the WCM system are best tied to site redesign projects. Not only isn’t this true, but buying into this notion is risky: you’re likely to waste a lot of time and lose out on valuable leads, conversions, revenue and branding opportunities. By deploying the right content management system now—before your redesign—you can get a much-needed jump on meeting your most critical online business objectives. You can make your site work better for your business TODAY. Read on to learn why you should rethink your redesign strategy and get started with web content management first. Susan’s Web Site Snafu Even the savviest marketers fall victim to the myth that web content management is so complex and unwieldy that they must wait for a big website redesign to fix it. Take Susan’s case, for example. Susan needed to kick off a new campaign but held off because of her company’s website. It wasn’t delivering adequate SEO results, and Susan’s marketing team couldn’t add new content often enough, create landing pages or include the social components that would improve SEO rankings. The WCM system was at fault. Because it was too difficult for anyone without specific technical expertise to use, marketing had to wait for IT to make any content or structural changes. Susan needed a better WCM system. She also felt it was time for a site redesign. Assuming that it would be more cost effective to do everything at once, she found a firm that would deliver a newly designed site with an intuitive WCM system. The design firm’s optimistic project plan showed everything would be done in 12–16 weeks. That was more time than Susan wanted, but feeling that she had no other choice, she moved ahead. Reality Trumps Good Intentions Guess what happened to Susan’s website? Copy and design took much longer to turnaround than expected. Instead of the few days allocated on the project plan, review cycles took several weeks. Then Google+ and Pinterest took off, and, by the time that integration was added to the design and into the web framework, another two weeks had passed. Meanwhile, campaigns kept getting pushed out, the SEO rankings were anemic, traffic and leads were drying up, and sales was blaming marketing for missed numbers. The executive team was pressuring Susan to turn things around. © Copyright 2012 Percussion Software, Inc.
  • 4. © Copyright 2013 Percussion Software, Inc. 4 Challenge the Orthodoxy: Launch your WCM before Redesign Finally, eight months after the project kicked off, a newly designed site and WCM system were delivered. The site looked great, campaigns finally went out, SEO started improving and leads began trickling in. Although they were on the right track, one thing was glaringly obvious, not just to Susan but also to sales and the executives: the damage had been done. Susan’s company had lost months of potential business. “If I started this sooner, our business would be much further ahead now,” she thought. Susan’s Problems Are All Too Common Susan was not meeting her goals because of an inadequate WCM system and a prolonged redesign effort. zz Your site is dark on search engines so you’re not driving enough traffic. You’re not able to take steps to help your ranking. zz Your marketing team doesn’t have the technical WCM skills or time to update content or make the technology changes needed. zz Your current WCM system is very hard to use, and you can’t expand your pool of content contributors because you don’t have the time or resources to train and support additional users. zz To add new features you have to rely on IT staff at your company or pay an outside agency or consultant. zz You have to decide whether to put off replacing your ineffective WCM system until you’re ready to redesign your site. Are you grappling with any of the following challenges that Susan’s team faced? By waiting out the redesign process, you are delaying when you can get started fixing these major challenges. Planned Actual May 25 July 29 Planned Actual July 14 Sept 9 Planned Actual August 12 Sept 30 IA SPEC & REVIEW UX DESIGN & REVIEW WIREFRAME DEVELOPMENT Planned Actual May 25 July 29 Planned Actual July 14 Sept 9 Planned Actual August 12 Sept 30 IA SPEC & REVIEW UX DESIGN & REVIEW WIREFRAME DEVELOPMENT
  • 5. © Copyright 2013 Percussion Software, Inc. 5 Challenge the Orthodoxy: Launch your WCM before Redesign Linking WCM to Site Redesign: Why it Doesn’t Make Sense Although marketers tend to link WCM replacement and site redesign efforts, they are separate projects. One shouldn’t depend on the other. Here’s why: 1. Site redesigns take much longer than you think. Your design firm may give you a best-case go-live scenario of 12-18 weeks. In reality, it very often takes much longer due to the length and number of review cycles. If you link the two efforts, your new WCM system won’t be available until your updated site goes live. 2. Business benefits will be pushed out. Because of the inevitable delay in the redesign, you’ll have to wait even longer to get the business outcomes (more brand awareness, support of new markets, better leads and conversions, more revenue) that drove you to change your WCM system and update your site in the first place. 3. Improved SEO rankings can’t happen overnight even once the redesigned site is running. In today’s search world, SEO is all about content—engaging, interactive, and fresh content. While you are waiting for your mutually dependent site design and WCM system to launch, your SEO rankings are treading water, and you can’t execute on your content strategy until you have a better WCM in place. 4. Site functionality may be compromised. To keep the go-live date from slipping, you mave to trade site functionality for time—dropping some features or pushing them into phase two or three of your implementation. This means that out-of-the-gate, you’ll be missing key functionality, and that will impact your ability to meet your goals. 5. You may end up with a custom WCM system that doesn’t live up to its ease-of-use promises. Without an intuitive WCM, you can’t add content contributors, which means you still have a bottleneck when it comes to updating your site. You have waited this long, and you still can’t execute your content marketing strategy effectively. 6. You’re back to “wait or pay” for site updates and new functionality. Chances are that you’ll be trapped by the limitations of the new, proprietary WCM system and, inevitably, you’ll find yourself back at square one. It will be hard to make the changes you want, keep up with new web/social technologies, and meet your evolving business objectives. Once again, you’ll have to rely on—and wait for—your developer or pay your design firm to make changes, and then hold off on any substantive WCM enhancements until you get budget for your next big redesign. Once again, the agile, efficient online marketing required today will remain just a dream.
  • 6. © Copyright 2013 Percussion Software, Inc. 6 Challenge the Orthodoxy: Launch your WCM before Redesign Why not get ahead of the game? Make your site work better for your business now. Deploy a New WCM with Your Current Site If Susan had realized how easy it is to decouple WCM from site redesign—and got started right away replacing her WCM system—she would have reached her online goals months earlier. Since, like Susan, you’ll be saddled with your existing design for the three to five months that your redesign project requires, why not get ahead of the game? Make your site work better for your business now. With a full-featured, easy-to-use WCM product, you can apply new navigation and update the content, social media and tags on your current site in a way that boosts targeted traffic, engages visitors and drives conversions. Instead of being limited by an outdated site, you can apply changes, test alternative navigation and social approaches, and start realizing benefits in just a few weeks. A Few Tangible Scenarios Imagine what you could accomplish by deploying a more effective WCM now, with your existing site, while you’re waiting to start (or finish) your redesign. Here are just a few examples: zz Create deeper engagement with prospects and customers The more directly you speak to your targets’ needs and desires, the more likely you’ll be to get them on board. Begin engaging with communities and publishing fresh content now! With the right WCM product, your marketing team can create better, more substantive engagement today. Advanced blogging, tagging, categorization, metadata and commenting functions will make it easy to enhance interactions. And by using simple widgets, you can quickly add new social channels, such as Facebook and Google+, to drive more connections. zz Speed launch of new products/services Waiting for your redesign before introducing a new offering or launching new marketing campaigns means your company loses the opportunity to drive new leads, customers and revenue. Implement a new WCM system now that makes it easy to change the architecture, add new content and create new landing pages for launch campaigns. Instead of watching your launch date slip along with the redesign, you can speed it up, getting to market weeks—if not months—sooner. zz Accelerate business in new geographies Localized sites are critical to raising awareness in other geographies. In-country employees, armed with an easy-to-use, feature rich WCM can manage country specific sites and campaigns without the need for technical or IT resources. Deploy a new, robust WCM solution now to accelerate your company’s plan to expand in existing regions or launch into new regions. By establishing localized online presence now, you can attract new prospects and revenue streams months earlier than if you put off WCM improvements until your big redesign project is done.
  • 7. © Copyright 2013 Percussion Software, Inc. 7 Challenge the Orthodoxy: Launch your WCM before Redesign What to Look for in a WCM Product Deciding to decouple content management fixes from your redesign process is the first step to speeding your time-to-benefits. The next one is just as important: choosing a WCM product that provides the right levels of flexibility, simplicity and functionality. Instead of complex frameworks that require massive customizations and costly, ongoing support, look for a WCM product that enables these key capabilities: zz Substantial out-of-box functionality­— to speed deployment and get you to results fast. This includes visual navigation editing and wysiwyg template creation. zz Flexibility—so you can keep up with the fast pace of change on the web. Select a vendor that releases new features and functionality frequently zz Control and Ease of Use­—to empower your marketing team to make updates and enhancements themselves. Look for integrated blogging, form-based editing, and reusable assets zz Affordability—your WCM should not break the bank. Select a product that provides a full set of features right out of the box, with frequent product updates to deliver new functionality, without the need for expensive service contracts to build core functionality. Beware of products that require additional service contracts or IT resources to add new features or enhance existing functionality.
  • 8. © Copyright 2013 Percussion Software, Inc. 8 Challenge the Orthodoxy: Launch your WCM before Redesign Conclusion Your web site is key to driving your business’ growth. If it isn’t delivering the traffic, leads, conversions or revenue you need, the WCM may be at fault. If your WCM is too hard for marketing to use and too inflexible to allow for the rapid changes needed to keep up with the web’s fast pace, don’t wait until your next redesign to fix it. When it comes to WCM systems, the sooner you get the right product in place, the better for your business. Don’t wait! Visit www.percussion.com to learn how Percussion CM1 can get you started today. Three Things to Do Now to Accelerate Your Web Initiatives Do you want to fix your WCM issues and get to those business benefits faster? Do the following three things now: zz Adjust your web redesign project plan. Make the timeline reflect reality so you know what you’re up against. zz Choose a WCM product with an intuitive, easy-to-use interface, that gives your marketing team the flexibility and functionality they need to own their content marketing initiatives and manage their websites. zz Begin tackling key content challenges while you are going through the early design stages, this will rapidly accelerate your time-to-value and enable you to achieve your online goals sooner.
  • 9. © Copyright 2013 Percussion Software, Inc. 9 Challenge the Orthodoxy: Launch your WCM before Redesign About Percussion Software Percussion Software’s products enable you to take control over your web content management and content marketing strategies to increase traffic, drive revenue, improve engagement, and create compelling online customer experiences. Delivered in a highly usable and affordable product package, hundreds of leading companies, education institutions, and government agencies are using Percussion to lower the costs of their content strategies and gain the flexibility to address “What’s Next” on the web. Leading customers include vegas.com, weather.com, AutoTrader.com, Rentokil, Watchguard Technologies, Lancaster Bible College, Sunoco, The Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the City of Corpus Christi, Saba Software, the U.S. General Services Administration, and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. To learn more, visit percussion.com. Corporate Headquarters Percussion Software, Inc. 600 Unicorn Park Woburn, Ma 01801 Main Phone: 781 438 9900 Website: percussion.com Or Email us: sales@percussion.com Twitter twitter.com/percussion LinkedIn linkedin.com/company/percussion-software Facebook facebook.com/PercussionSoftware