If you are planning to build a website in the near future, you might be confused on which platform to use. While there is a whole bunch of content management systems (CMS) in the market, you might want to use the platform that allows you to do it without worrying too much about the technical aspects like coding.
What is a Content Management System?
In simple terms, a Content Management System is a software tool that allows you to create, edit, publish and manage web content. The main objective of a CMS is to provide an intuitive interface to manage your content on the web.
There are many good content management systems like WordPress and Drupal; and they are all fantastic. But choosing one among them can be difficult because you do not know if the website is suited for the needs of your website. The server can sometimes be a challenge in having an effective CMS and we usually recommend the Linux based servers being provided by Bluehost or Amazon Web Services.
This article shall make you aware of the different aspects of the Top-5 Content Management Systems in the market and help you make an informed decision.
One of the world’s most popular content management systems, WordPress started out as a blogging platform, but has grown and advanced significantly over the years. Based on PHP & MySQL, WordPress is used by almost 23% of the top 10 million websites around the world. Examples of WordPress websites are Social Beat, ithought, etc.
It’s free and the easy installation offered does not require complex technical know how to maintain the website
User friendly dashboard for managing content
Multi-user and multi-blogging support
Wide number of plug-ins and themes, both paid and unpaid, for customizing your website
A large developer community and plenty of tutorials and documentation available for support
Easy linkage to your email platforms such as Mailchimp to allow you to keep in touch with customers
Standard installation can have security issues and is vulnerable to attacks. Needs to be addressed with continuous updates and monitoring of the website
Drupal is the 2nd most popular PHP-based content management system. It’s a powerful, developer friendly platform that can be easily used for building complex websites. In the latest releases, database management modules have been added that allow managing SQL operations without writing SQL queries. Many big companies like General Electric, Time Warner and Sony Music, are using Drupal.
Less resource intensive than WordPress
Technically advanced in comparison to peers like WordPress and Joomla
Very flexible; has the feature to even edit the root files of the program
Easily customizable with numerous plug-ins & 6000+ modules available for easy extension of functionality
Powerful taxonomy & ability to tag and organize complex content
Faster load and response time
Powerful use cases available
Basic knowledge of HTML, PHP and other common programming languages is required
Theming system is complex along with a lack of high-quality plug-ins
Site complexity beyond a simple website or a blog requires technical know-how to keep it running
Joomla is quite often, an intermediate choice between WordPress and Drupal, having the power of a Drupal website and at the same time managing the user-friendly nature of a WordPress website. Joomla has a lot of plug-ins and themes available to choose from, so you can easily customize your website based on your requirements. It’s suitable for creating back-end networks for a wide range of purposes like inventory control and reservation systems to online commerce websites.
Faster and easier to setup an online store; has more native support online commerce
A great platform to create social networks
Long history of development and an active developer community
Tons of plugins and add-on tools available
7000+ plus extensions and an extensive help portal
Not easy for beginners
Modularity & expendability puts greater demand on server parameters
Lack of high-quality themes when compared to WordPress
SilverStripe is another open source content management system, best serving the needs of developers slightly comfortable with coding. Built on an object-oriented framework called Sapphire, it has multiple platform modules allowing it to support a content formats like blogs as well as forums / communities. SilverStripe code is bound together through independent frameworks; thus providing it the capability to support any CSS Style Sheets and HTML codes.
Open standards for development leading to high development versatility
Easy back-end functions
Powerful content authoring tool with ability to publish/unpublish content on specific dates
Differential permission levels for different parts of the site to manage your own editor/author network
Strong developer community SilverStripe LTD to fall back for technical support
Less intuitive back-end in comparison to peers like WordPress
Less than 200 extension modules and not many high-quality themes available
A highly flexible content management system, TextPattern is a free, PHP based CMS that is more often skipped when looking at the top CMSs for websites. It leverages Textile to quickly convert plain text to XHTML, making it user-friendly for beginners.
User-friendly for non-technical users
Suitable for websites of varied sizes
Great documentation; complete manual available online
Minimal variety of themes (~120 front end themes available)
A quick glance at the above stats conveys a simple but important message: Be it business owners, industry experts, students or entrepreneurs – LinkedIn cannot be ignored. And, B2B companies have more reasons to be active on LinkedIn – it’s an excellent platform to generate quality leads. Here’s how you can get more B2B leads using LinkedIn:
LinkedIn Groups are an excellent platform to connect with peers within your industry. It allows you to join up to 50 groups, and you should make the most of it by joining groups in your industry. Once you are part of a LinkedIn group, you can easily filter the members based on your criteria and your prospect list is ready.
Direct Sponsored Content
The direct sponsored content feature helps to promote an industry whitepaper, a case-study or a blog post right in your prospects feed. The features such as Localization helps in precise targeting for your sponsored content to a specific region. Instead of a direct sales pitch, content that helps the prospects in their business has higher chances of getting more traction.
Long-form content can get you a double bonus
The long-form posts on LinkedIn is an excellent way to showcase your brand or expertise in the relevant target segment. In a lot of cases discussed in my network, long-form professional content also help in the professional job searches. It also has more reach compared to the short-form posts.
Reverse engineering the content strategy
A “spray-pray” approach for content marketing will never produce results. Reverse engineering can give your content strategy a definitive edge. What this means is – instead of sharing only “hard-sell” content, you can share content that will benefit your target audience. For example, it can be simple tips to help their businesses or new developments in their industry.
The more attractive it is, the more traction it gets
A closer look at the LinkedIn stats suggest that the visually attractive posts helps a long way in getting traction for your content. Just addition of an image to the content post can help to get 90-100% more engagement than a post without an image. Addition of SlideShare presentations can give another big jump in the engagement rates.
Do you leverage LinkedIn to generate leads for your business? Comment & let us know why or why not.
In today’s rapidly changing marketing landscape, digital marketing has become an indispensable part of a business’ overall marketing strategy. Most marketers today have understood the importance of digital marketing and the mammoth difference that a well-executed, result-oriented digital strategy could make to the overall growth and profitability of a business. Going by the Marketing Budgets 2014 Report, 71% of companies surveyed are planning to increase the amount they invest in digital marketing this year.
Crafting a Result-Oriented Digital Strategy
Crafting a winning digital plan entails understanding the business in and out, clearly defining its goals and drawing up a profile of its target audience. All these differ from business to business and hence there is no one size fits all strategy. However, there are certain key ingredients listed below which must be effectively incorporated into every digital strategy to successfully drive business growth.
1. Website Design
The website is, and should be, the focal point of every digital strategy as this is where traffic from every other digital marketing channel would be directed. A poorly designed website can ruin most of the effort being put in on the other channels. Listed below are some key questions to ask, while checking if your website is optimized to convert maximum visitors into leads/customers.
Is the website responsive and optimized for all browsers and mobile devices?
Is it correctly Search Engine Optimized?
Does it have a Clear Call-to-Action?
Is it clean and easy to navigate?
Are there multiple lead capture points
Is the contact email/phone clearly visible and clickable?
Is there a link to the business’ Social Media pages?
2. Search Engine Optimisation
Amongst all other components of a digital strategy, SEO plays a major role in customer acquisition and sales. Almost every customer begins their search for a product/service on a search engine and ranking high in search results, for the right keyword, can drive a large volume of organic (un-paid) traffic to your website.
With paid advertising getting increasingly expensive across channels, it is essential that every business invests in SEO to attract a good percentage of organic traffic, reduce the overall customer-acquisition cost and boost profitability.
Maintaining a blog which constantly shares valuable, informative, engaging and relevant content plays a pivotal role in attracting the right kind of audience to your website. Apart from this, it also establishes your business as an expert or thought leader in the space and builds trust with prospective customers. Apart from the fact that a good blog can be an excellent source of inbound traffic and leads, the content helps your SEO efforts as well.
4. Social Media
Social media is an extremely effective medium for branding as well as lead generation and developing a cutting-edge social media plan should be a major part of your digital strategy. The plan would entail clarifying business objectives for social media, putting together a content plan (audience analysis, content categories, post frequency, post timings) and determining the main metrics and KPIs that would be used to consistently set targets and measure success
5. Paid Advertising – Google Adwords/Facebook Ads/LinkedIn Ads/Retargeting
Paid advertising is essential, especially for businesses that are in the startup stage, to help get the word out and extend their products/services to a greater audience. It can help get consistent and valuable traffic to the website while SEO and offline efforts are yet to begin showing results. For established businesses too, paid advertising is an excellent customer acquisition and branding channel and should be given due attention while drafting the digital strategy.
While paid search campaigns on Google Adwords offer the benefit of being highly targeted – displaying ads to people actively looking for your product/service, retargeting campaigns as well as campaigns on the Google Display Network, Facebook and LinkedIn offer a wide range of targeting that could help you reach out to the right audience with ease. Promoted posts on Facebook and sponsored updates on LinkedIn too help get the message out to a larger audience.
Each medium’s relevance and effectiveness for the business in question must be analyzed and ad spends allocated accordingly. Spends can then be re-allocated to the medium that is performing best and delivering the best results.
6. Email Marketing
With the growing popularity of social media, email would seem to be losing out on its sheen as an effective digital marketing channel. However, this is far from the truth and email marketing is still as effective as ever. If statistics are anything to go by, 95% of consumers use email and 91% check their inbox at least once a day. Also, a recent study by McKinsey found that e-mail is still a significantly more effective way to acquire customers with the rate at which e-mails prompt purchases being at least three times that of social media and the average order value too being about 17 percent higher.
7. Analytics & Reporting
As the digital strategy is being executed, it is of paramount importance to constantly analyze results and compare them with the set KPIs to check if all campaigns are on track to yielding the desired results. It is therefore essential to draw up a list of key metrics, for each of the channels listed above, that will be monitored and measured at pre-set intervals.
Keeping a close tab on analytics data can help drive the strategy in the right direction and correct any errors early enough before a considerable amount of money has been spent.
Right Integration is the key
Each ingredient in the digital plan has its own unique benefits and, in order to gain real value, they will have to be perfectly integrated keeping in mind the broader long-term goals of the business. It is this seamless integration that will eventually determine how successful the strategy will be and how quickly it will begin showing desirable results. Offline Integration matters too
Digital Marketing definitely has its benefits but it still cannot replace offline marketing in entirety, at least for now. Forward-thinking marketers have understood this and are working on integrating offline and online marketing efforts into one synchronous campaign for a powerful lasting impact. Things as simple as on online check-in help customers communicate their physical interaction with your business, to the online world . Ensuring that your digital strategy integrates seamlessly with your offline efforts will go a long way in enhancing the bottom line of your business and boosting your ROI.
Is your digital marketing strategy working for your business? Contact us for a review of your online marketing activities.
The social media space has always been extremely dynamic with all players constantly rolling out changes to their platforms. It was LinkedIn’s turn last week when they announced that, from 14th April 2014, they will be doing away with the Products and Services tab from Company Pages.
Exit Products & Services Tab
The move has evoked mixed reactions from users with most being unhappy with it. A large number of businesses have invested a lot of time and effort to showcase all their products and services on the page and to get recommendations from their clients. Come April 14th, this page will disappear and all the work that has been put in will be gone. All the recommendations will be gone too, and the official Linked In announcement suggests you “copy them from the tab into your own document” or request a copy through a support request, if you want to keep them.
Another group of users believe that the move to do away with the tab makes perfect sense since a very small number of visitors to the page actually clicked on the Products & Services Tab. The tab also lacked images, and the Static content on it is not as much as viewed as content updates, which have a far greater reach. In fact, analytics for the Social Beat company page on LinkedIn show that barely 10% of page visitors clicked on the Product & Services tab.
Social Beat Product & Services Page Analytics
Many also view the change as LinkedIn’s attempt to do away with static content (which, once written, remains on the page for people to see), thereby forcing users to use dynamic updates to communicate with their follower base. These could be monetized much more easily using LinkedIn’s Sponsored Updates.
Either way, change has to be embraced and the best made out of it. So, now that the Products and Services page has been done away with, how do you showcase your businesses products and services and get visibility for them on LinkedIn? The answer lies in LinkedIn Showcase pages.
Enter Showcase Pages
Introduced by LinkedIn in November 2013, Showcase Pages are dedicated pages that allow companies to highlight different aspects of their business, products and services and build relationships with the right community. They are like sub-pages of the main company page and each of them can be used to promote specific products and services to a specific buyer persona.
LinkedIn is a powerful marketing tool and it is worth investing time and effort to make the transition to Showcase pages. Here are the advantages of Showcase pages, which is why you must use them.
Social Beat – Showcase page for SEO
Why you must use Showcase pages
Build a Targeted audience – You now have a dedicated page to post updates for each particular aspect of your business and build a targeted audience for that product or service. And if your content is appealing enough for your audience to share it, you will be able to organically expand your reach for each product/service.
Focus: Showcase pages focus entirely on the product or service. There are no careers, products, or services tabs on them as they are on Company pages.
Analytics: Showcase pages have their own analytics on follower engagement, trends and demographics.
Two-column layout: Unlike Company pages, where updates show up in a single column format, Showcase page updates show up in two columns which make it easier for users to scroll through content. Showcase pages also have a larger and more prominent hero image.
All showcase pages branch off from the company page and link back to them, creating a centralized page structure. You can create upto 10 showcase pages.
Users can follow only that part of your business that they are most interested in and receive updates tailor-made for them.
Some other Showcase Page constraints include the need for each Showcase page to be managed, updated and edited separately, and the 10-page limit which may not work well for larger companies.
However, Showcase pages are still in their initial stage and these constraints could just be considered teething trouble which LinkedIn would definitely work on improvising as these pages become more mainstream and popular. For now, it is best to work through these limitations and focus on leveraging this new feature for business growth.
What is your take on LinkedIn Showcase pages? Have you begun building them for your business?
A large number of people still consider Google+ to be a ghost town, sparsely inhabited and sans activity – not worth investing time and effort to create and maintain a presence on. If you’re one of them, it’s time to give this thought some serious reconsideration.
In less than three years of its existence since its launch in the second half of 2011, Google+ has shown tremendous growth with the total number of registered users recently crossing the 1 billion mark and the number of active monthly users crossing 540 million. To gauge the growth in activity – 1.5 billion photos are uploaded every week and +1 is clicked more than 5 billion times a day. If these massive numbers are not reason enough for you to include G+ as part of your social media strategy, here are seven strong reasons why you must begin using Google+ as a business marketing tool.
1. It’s a Google product:
No other social network has the kind of web assets leverage that Google has. Think about it. Apart from being the world’s most used search network, Google owns one of the most popular browsers in Chrome, one of the most-used mobile Operating systems in Android, the largest video sharing website in YouTube, the world’s largest email service in Gmail, one of the most popular photo-editing platforms in Picasa, a versatile cloud-storage application in Google Drive and the most popular mapping service application in Google Maps. Google is the leader of the online world and is already using all its might to ensure Google+ gains popularity and acceptance. Apart from this, the use of Google+ also provides seamless integration with all other Google services.
Google+ your business
2. Higher Search Rankings:
The boost to SEO is one of the biggest benefits of Google+. Almost all SEO experts will tell you that content on Google+ is indexed faster than other content across the web and any links on G+ positively impact SEO results. This is because unlike most other social platforms like Twitter, where all links are placed with a no follow tag, Google+ links are follow links and G+ pages are treated as web pages. This increases website visibility and accumulates Page Rank and thereby, by actively participating on Google+, you are increasing the visibility of your brand.
A recent scientific correlation Study by Moz to discover the qualities of web pages that have a strong association with ranking high in Google, shows that Google+ posts have multiple SEO benefits unlike other social platforms. The study also found a strong correlation between Google +1s and higher search rankings, clearly indicating that sharing content on Google + has the potential to influence search rankings in many ways.
3. Enhanced search results:
When a user searches for your Google+ optimized business online, the results show the most recent G+ post, the number of followers, profile name and image, any +1 recommendations from friends and Google map directions to the business. And, if the person searching is already following your business on G+, the brands content appears even more prominently in the search results.
Recent Google+ posts in Search results
Apart from the right hand space on the Search results page, where Google+ information currently shows up, Google is also experimenting with including recent posts, most relevant to the search query keyed in, in the Search results space itself. The example below shows a relevant Google+ post of a play school, displaying in the results for the Search query “play school in Velachery”.
Enhanced Search results with Google+
4. Google+ Authorship:
Google Authorship includes the author’s photo and byline with the search snippet on search results pages. It is activated by linking the author’s Google+ profile to the website he is a contributor to, through an email address on that domain. Including the author’s credentials lends reliability and trustworthiness to the content and enhances ranking on Search Engine Results Pages(SERPs) while also improving click-through-rates, thereby increasing the reach of your content and traffic to your site.
5. Unfiltered Updates:
Unlike Facebook, which constantly tweaks its Edgerank algorithm to decide which of your updates will be seen by your fans, updates on Google+ are currently unfiltered and chances of your updates reaching your fan-base are higher on Google+ than Facebook. Also, unlike Facebook, whose primary source of revenue is Ads, Google’s primary source of revenue comes from search advertising and it presently does not need to force users to pay to gain visibility on Google+.
6. Google+ Ads:
The above does not mean that Google will never attempt to monetize Google+ through ads. Google is already testing paid +Post ads for Google+ content and apart from Google’s experience with Adwords expected to make the Ads a great product, the possible game changer would be access to the whole of the Google Display Network through Google+ Ads.
7. Google+ Hangouts:
Hangouts are probably the best and most important feature of Google+. Think of it as a free webinar tool where you can include upto 9 participants and automatically broadcast live to your Google+ page as well as your YouTube Channel. Hangouts are an excellent means of communicating with clients and potential clients to educate them about a product/service and share ideas and case studies.
The world’s second largest social network is here to stay. So, get on it, establish your presence and learn how you can use it effectively to grow your brand. The proverbial early bird always gets the worm and being early to Google’s party is sure to have its benefits in the long-term.
Our advisor, Jagdish Chawla was recently featured in the Small Medium Entrepreneur Magazine. You can find the full interview below and can read the article on Entrepreneur India here.
Do you think it is a good idea for retired individuals to go for second employment in start up firms
Startups are usually started by young enterprising individuals. Having senior advisors and mentors will ensure that the young team can leverage their experience and pursue faster and profitable growth.
Since start ups generally face a talent crunch, do you think retired individuals with their age and experience can help in serving the firm on their advisory board or provide valuable mentorship/training?
Absolutely. Experienced professionals have seen a lot of business cycles and have worked with people with different personality types and motivation. Bringing such experience to a startup can only be helpful.
Do you think it is viable to encourage such post retirement opportunities, keeping in mind that India is mushrooming with start ups?
A platform to connect Advisors/Mentors with such young startups would be very useful. There are angel investors and startup communities, but none for retirees.
Do you think there is any downside towards hiring ex-servicemen?
None I can think of. Its a win-win situation for both.
Research shows that there is a wide mismatch, a “generation gap” between the brains behind a start up firm and an ex-serviceman? Have you faced any such notable hindrances? If yes, have you to managed to overcome them and still be an active member of the firm?
Opportunities today are much higher than say 20 years ago. This has meant that youngsters are a lot more ambitious. While growth is critical, young startups should also focus on business fundamentals and cash flow management.
In what measure have you provided growth opportunities to the start up firm and helped it in its foundation days?
End of the day its the founding team which does all the work. As advisors, we can provide a good sounding board for key decisions
Google recently reported that India is its fastest growing market in the small and medium business category for Google Adwords.
Small and medium size enterprises (SME) in India are increasingly using the digital medium to target local customers and generate more leads or sales. Google’s advertising platform, AdWords can be crucial in targeting advertisements at prospective customers searching for a product/service. When targetting a specific customer in a specific locality or to a customer searching for a specific product there is no better means to taget than Adwords. Facebook advertising may be a way to build the brand from a long term perspective but Google Adwords is excellent for short term sale and conversions.
Knowing the number of SMEs in India (which Google puts at 47 million) its no wonder that India has surged ahead to become the fastest growing SME market for Google. So have you tried it for your business yet?
The tip that we find most interesting is “Focus on one tool at a time”. We also believe that as you start on your social media strategy, it is important to excel in one social media tool initially and then expand into others. Moreover, one social media tool should be at the epicenter of it all. For some businesses Facebook is the epicenter, for some it is youtube or blogs and in some rare cases it is twitter.