Camp CMS Boosts Websites –Farquharson/Tedesco
Pack your bags and kiss your loved ones goodbye for a few weeks. You're getting on a bus and heading into the wilderness to Camp Content Management Systems. What's that? What your printing business really needs is to get away from the hustle-and-bustle of modern life and focus for a bit…on its Website.
Of all the marketing and branding tools in a printing company's toolbox—the Website—continues to rank among the most important. It's the first place many prospects visit for information on your business, and it's often where prospects end up when searching online for the services you provide. If your business Website isn't impeccably-branded and bursting with fresh content, you may be missing out on sales opportunities. You'd be better off with sunburn.
But here's the rub: If you've redesigned your Website in the past couple of years, you may have found that keeping it updated can be a pain. Using an outside developer to make updates usually adds hassle and cost, yet many printing company owners lack the time and extensive Web development knowledge to do it themselves. The bottom line: Until recently, it was often challenging or next-to-impossible for many businesses to harness the full power of their site as a marketing device.
At least you don't have poison ivy. Fortunately for printing companies, however, relatively new content management system (CMS) tools such as WordPress and Drupal greatly reduce the technical know-how needed to maintain a fresh-looking site.
Once your site has been designed and launched by a professional Web developer, CMS tools help your company or an outside marketing resource deliver the timely, dynamic content your visitors—and customers—crave.
CMS from A to Z
Ready to get started? Grab your sunblock, bug spray and canteen because today is the first day of Camp Content Management Systems. Join counselors T.J. and Bill for today's itinerary, which includes several programs that will explore how content management systems can help every printing business maintain a more effective Website.
10 a.m – Exercise: Trim CMS Development and Maintenance Costs. Before we begin, swim one lap around Lake WannaWebsite for every dollar you may save by switching from a site managed by a dedicated Web resource to a CMS-based site managed yourself. Just kidding; you'd be swimming until 2 a.m.
A main purpose of content management systems is to allow those who can use computers, but can't tell HTML from hexadecimals, to create, place and manage Website content with ease. With CMS tools, a programmer creates the site's structure—the headers, images, navigation bar, etc.—independent of each page's content. The content can then be easily filled in by the user via a publishing tool that's about as easy to use as MS Word.
Because your site can now be edited by non-technical users, paying a Web developer to maintain it may no longer be necessary. In fact, your investment in a technical Web development resource can feasibly end the day your site goes live. Why not use the money you save to pay for some swimming lessons?
1 p.m.– Lunch: Fresh, Piping Hot…Web Content. No bug juice here; just fresh, appetizing Website content. Content management systems allow authorized contributors to your site to create, edit and place Web content in a variety of forms—a tip-of-the-week box, a blog post, a news release.
With so many ways to update your site in relatively little time, it's possible to produce fresh site content daily. Updating your site frequently will emphasize to visitors that you're a forward-thinking company on the move.
Here's the menu for today's Camp CMS content buffet, which will help keep your site (and your visitors) sated:
The Appetizers: News Items Display Your Industry Prominence. Whether it's a trade media appearance, a press release announcing an equipment upgrade, or simply a piece of important industry news, there should be a new announcement posted on your site whenever possible. Keeping your site's pages filled with this timely information will emphasize that your company has its finger on the industry's pulse, which is way better than a finger in the communal salad bowl.
The Main Course: Blogs Establish Your Company as a Helpful Knowledge Resource. Knowledge isn't just power, it's authority. A weekly blog or topical video series, posted on your site's home page or on a separate page (preferably both), can help demonstrate your technical acumen. With our recommended Web development tools at your side, uploading a written blog post along with images, video or outside links is simpler than spaghetti and meatballs.
4 p.m. – Scavenger Hunt: CMSs Are Search Engine-Friendly. Thanks to content management systems, prospects will no longer need a map and flashlight to find your Website through search engines. Search engines prioritize recently-created content, and a CMS helps ensure that your site stays fresh. CMSs can also make it easy for you to index your site with image tags, simple URLs and other SEO-boosting attributes. Some content management systems are even stocked with a variety of free SEO-boosting plug-ins. The bottom line: CMSs don't just help create fresh content, they help drive visitors to it, as well.
8 p.m. – Evening Campfire: A Pow-Wow on Content Creation. We promise not to break out the guitar and bust into a rousing chorus of "Kum-ba-ya" (unless you want us to). Don't minimize the importance of content creation. Thanks to the Web tools described above, keeping a Website frequently updated with content can be relatively painless for printers.
Yet one question remains: How will your company create this compelling content that will engage visitor interest? Since CMS tools have reduced the moolah required to maintain an effective business Website, savvy printers may consider investing their marketing dollars with a strategic content-creation resource instead. PI
—Bill Farquharson, T.J. Tedesco
About the Authors
Bill Farquharson is the president of Aspire For (www.AspireFor.com). His Sales Challenge can help drive your sales momentum. Contact him at (781) 934-7036 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. T.J. Tedesco is team leader of Grow Sales, a 15-year-old marketing and PR services company. He is author of "Playbook for Selling Success in the Graphic Arts Industry" and five other books. Contact Tedesco at (301) 294-9900 or e-mail email@example.com.