Many of the web developers I have met in Brisbane use their own proprietary content management systems (CMS) as the base of the websites they build. Their justification for doing so is the same across the board… no bloat ware, you only get the functionality you need, low probability of the site being hacked.
However, I have always been wary of such an approach and do not necessarily believe it is always in the best interests of the client. Whenever I mention the use of WordPress as a CMS for a website, they inevitably start sprouting out-dated excuses of why you shouldn’t. Lack of security, scalability and performance are usually the responses. Another is, WordPress is a blogging platform, not a CMS for a website.
When a platform like WordPress powers at least 16% of the world’s websites, and some very large ones at that, it’s time to sit up and take notice.
This week, Facebook announced they have created integrations with WordPress, allowing website and blog owners to publish their content to the social network with a simple click of a mouse. There is no coding required as WordPress administrators can install the Facebook plugin that allows them to publish content to their Facebook timeline or page.
The Facebook integration is another example of why I am a supporter of WordPress. Following are reasons why I believe small business owners should consider using WordPress, or another commercial or open-source source CMS, instead of using a developer’s own proprietary software.
- Most developers do not have the funding to develop their software. They use the budget of their current customer to build the latest functionality into the CMS, however older clients don’t receive this benefit (unless they pay a lot of money to do so). On the other hand, WordPress and other open source and commercial software have a roadmap for their CMS product and have the funding to implement changes so that all customers can benefit from upgrades.
- Many developers who build websites using their own software, do not allow their clients to take the software when they decide to leave. This means that business owners have to pay for the site to be built again on a new platform.
- Clients that are allowed to leave with the proprietary CMS find it difficult to find another programmer to support it. Usually the software has poor documentation and standards are not always adhered to.
- Proprietary CMS products are not known by large web platforms like Facebook and therefore miss out on any useful integrations or plugins that are released. The developer therefore has to build this functionality in at their own or client’s expense.
- Proprietary CMS and blog software often has missing functionality such as comment spam detection and management. It becomes a nightmare for the business owner and their team to manage the site going forward.
My final advice to business owners is to learn more about the CMS software that your developer uses before you engage them. Think about the consequences of not using popular CMS platforms such as WordPress or other open source or commercial software.
My recommendation to web developers is to not build your own CMS, unless you want to commercialise it. Focus upon building really good websites using a fully functional open source or commercial CMS platform that you support. It will be much more profitable and life will be easier if you do that.
Consumers, customers and clients alike are heading to the internet more and more often for information about products and services. Gone are the days when people relied on one way communication for information about brands and companies – the internet has revolutionised the world in hundreds and thousands of ways, one of those is marketing.
As consumers head to the web, internet marketing as an industry continues to evolve to match the interest shown by users. One of the most significant shifts in the way marketing is presented is the communication channels. This shift in the industry has also accommodated a shift from one way communication such as,
- television advertisements,
- radio advertisements,
- direct mail, and
To two way communication channels such as,
- content marketing including
- video blogs,
- pod casts,
- infographics and
- social media platforms including
- Google plus,
- As well as blogs.
As internet marketing has grown there has been an overall decline in the efficiency in old forms of marketing as customers are gaining more control over the media content they consume. This has triggered a fundamental shift in the way brands and companies are communicating with their audiences. Traditional marketing tactics do not provide any extra value to the consumer as they are not developed to educate or entertain audiences – they gain consumer attention by ‘beg, bug, or buying their way in’.
Another reason traditional marketing is becoming less effective is because products and services are being pushed, most times rather intrusively, on consumers when they are not necessarily receptive or interested.
In contrast to this, internet marketing is designed to be useful, educational and/or interesting to gain the consumers attention and earn their respect and trust, hence forming a relationship from which the consumer and business both prosper.
This is one of the main reasons internet marketing has become so effective – consumers now go to the businesses for information. They are engaging with products and services when they are interested in the content – for example, a consumer looking to buy pet food will enter a search in Google and will have a list of businesses selling pet food – this consumer is likely to convert into a sale as they are specifically looking for this product.
A few statistics taken from Voliter in relation to the rise of internet and content marketing are,
- 44% of direct mail is never opened.
- 86% of people skip television ads.
- 200 Million (Americans) have registered on ‘Do Not Call’ lists
- Traditional or Outbound marketing is 62% more expensive than inbound marketing
This last point highlights one of the other major reasons there is a massive incline in inbound marketing: it’s cheaper. Not only does it cost less than traditional marketing, it provides a better return on investment.
Blogs have the best ROI and lead generation with social media and SEO being second and third respectively. Direct mail and trade shows are at the end of the list.
It is clear the way we interact with businesses is transforming on a fundamental level – but this is a positive change for both consumers and businesses alike. Consumers are able to ignore and avoid sales-y and intrusive marketing and find entertaining and educational information relevant to them when they are interested. Businesses are now able to focus on the quality of their products and services and devise ways to creatively earn attention and target their audiences more efficiently.
Voltier Digital VIA Mashable
Venturing into the vast and opportunistic world of social media generally elicits excitement from most marketing and communications experts. But have we chosen the most efficient platform? And are we really making the most from our social media efforts?
Facebook is a great way to take advantage of social media for both personal and business purposes. It is one of the largest social media applications and has a vast reach with over 800 million active users, 50 % of which log on to their accounts on a daily basis. 350 million of these users do not just access Facebook from their PC’s – they log in via their mobile phones.
So Facebook has an excellent user base with good reach but which is type of account is best for you? Facebook groups? Pages? Profiles? Or business accounts?
It actually entirely depends on your purpose, requirement, and intentions for social media as they each have different functions. However, Facebook themselves have branded profiles as purely for personal use. If you are an individual looking to connect with friends, keep up with events, and engage with brands and interests then you need a Facebook profile.
Business accounts are as their name suggests – an account for individuals representing a business or celebrity (authors, models, actors and etc) used to manage Facebook groups and pages. As their main purpose is actually simply to manage other accounts they do not have the same functionality as a personal profile, group or page.
As for creating a social media presence for a business or person, you have two options – Facebook page or Facebook group. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of each,
Only Facebook pages (and personal profiles) can apply to have a username URL. This is a short link that redirects to your Facebook page. The purpose of username URLs is for promotion so a person or business can say ‘Find me at Facebook dot com slash company or person name’. Facebook groups do not have this ability.
Facebook groups have excellent messaging capabilities – this is one of the most beneficial aspects of groups. Groups are able to send out mass emails direct to their members’ inboxes; however this is capped at 5 000 friends. Pages allow you to send messages to unlimited followers, but only page notifications, not inbox messages. Messages sent direct to inboxes are proven to be more effective in engaging conversation, but this feature becomes less useful if you are targeting an audience larger than 5 000 friends.
Facebook pages have ‘insights’ which is data collated by Facebook allowing you to analyse your social media use and determine your traction and engagement levels with your audience. They also allow you to see which form of media is being consumed most frequently – audio, posts, video, as well as many other features. This allows businesses to report on social media use, effectiveness and ROI to an extent. The group feature does not have insights.
Facebook pages are able to deliver promotional devices such as the ‘Find us on Facebook’ friends or a likes counter. This is basically an image displaying profile pictures of current likes that links to Facebook, allowing people to easily ‘like’ your page. This feature is also not available for Facebook groups.
Facebook groups have the ability to restrict access to certain individuals although it also depends on the type of group – there are three: open, closed, and secret. Open groups and Facebook pages work similarly – anyone can join and are automatically accepted. Any Facebook user can request to join a closed group; however, they must be approved by an administrator before being added. Secret groups cannot be found in searches, and the only way to join is to be invited.
Facebook Location Targeting
Location Targeted Posts
Facebook pages offer the ability to target the location of your post to a language, country, state or province, and even city. Allowing you to send specifically targeted messages based on language and location. This is an incredibly valuable tool for marketers, as they can create social media campaigns that use one page to focus on several locations and languages, while still sending specific information to each segment.
Both Facebook pages and groups are indexed by Google and generally receive good rankings. Although for SEO best practise Facebook pages allow for more opportunity to optimise their content.
For example including keyword rich text in the ‘About Us’ box is beneficial as it is high up in the html code and is one of the first and only places accessible to search engines.
Also Facebook usernames (which are available to pages, but not groups) allow you to enter keyword rich URLs which Google ranks as quite important.
Facebook Default Tab
You are also able to change your default tab with Facebook pages, but not groups. It is recommended that a keyword rich page such as your wall or info page is chosen above a welcome page.
One SEO practise available for both pages and groups is creating a relevant link neighbourhood. If you are a pet store, linking out to dog groomers, vets, and dog obedience pages creates a good link network. You should also attempt to receive links back to your Facebook page as this is a very effective way to gain rankings.
Overall your objectives and goals for social media will drive your decision in choosing which method to display your communications. However if you are an individual looking at keeping a circle of friends, hosting and attending events, and engaging with groups of interest and brands a Facebook profile is the most suitable option.
Facebook groups are an excellent way for people to congregate and discuss issues pertaining to a particular topic or issue. They are also an excellent means of creating and organising small to medium events.
As for a business or company that wishes to have a social media presence to connect and communication with their customers a Facebook page will allow you more flexibility in discussion, distribution, analytics, optimisation, and promotion.