Why BlueTree Created a New CMS
Motivation Behind BlueTree CMS
With a steadily growing user base, it seems like a good time to talk about why BlueTree developed its own Content Management System, or CMS.
The primary reason: we can no longer use our favourite CMS, Adobe® Contribute®. Adobe now has a new business model, with high monthly fees, aimed at big corporates. You can still buy Contribute, but it’s no longer being developed. We have to find a solution for existing clients, and we can’t recommend obsolete software new ones.
There are plenty of good CMS’s around,” says Mark, “many of them free. We’ve used quite a few, including one of the most popular, for years, on behalf of our clients. However, it’s become clear that there is a gap in the market. Many small business owners want to write and maintain their own website content, but lose patience due to the technical demands of their CMS.
“They end up paying people like us to update their websites. They all have better uses for that money!”
It’s not that small business owners aren’t capable of doing it; many do so with great success. It’s more that there’s so much to learn – most simply do not have the time. Starting a new business or growing a small enterprise is demanding enough on its own.
We’ve Made CMS’s Before
As luck would have it, we’ve developed several Content Management Systems, for other companies. They were very specialised, aimed mainly at maintaining professional knowledge bases. One of them helps managers with the special requirements required to help staff with “hidden abilities”. The design may look odd to you but, in fact, it’s highly specialised, being designed for people with Dyslexia, Dyspraxia, and other conditions, who look at the world in different, often very productive, ways. You can see it here, at Key 4 Learning,
In building these systems, we’ve had to write hundreds of “components”, small parcels of Internet code, from which we built each one. Think of them as Lego bricks, each with its own particular function. We clip them together to make the CMS. They have one big advantage over Lego, however: we can copy them; we don’t have to break up one model to make the next.
So, why not fill that gap in the market, and use our components to build our own, simple CMS, one that a time-strapped small business owner can actually use?
Users Requirements From Their CMS
So, what would we need to provide for our target customers? Remember, they’re entrepreneurs. They know all about their field, they’re very skilled, dedicated, and highly motivated. Often they know less about the Internet, and how to use it for sales and marketing. And they’re very short of time.
There’s no way a piece of software can do all this, so we need more. BlueTree CMS is a complete package, which includes all the service and software you need to start and continue your Digital Marketing journey.
Our CMS must be:
- Easy to use: anyone who can use a word processor must be able to use it;
- Quick to learn: just the features you need, not those you don’t;
- Secure: only authorised employees should be allowed to make updates;
- Always available: updates should be possible always, from anywhere in the world;
- Never interrupted due to out-of-sync plug-ins or underlying software components;
- Fully supported: a skilled web-master on call should you ever get stuck.
There are other features that people new to Digital Marketing perhaps don’t know they need. A first website is often simply an on-line brochure. However, you quickly realize your website is a business asset that can save costs and deliver revenue, generate sales and engage with customers.
We’ll explain these issues, as much as you need to know about them, when you come to see us. BlueTree CMS handles many of them automatically. Those it can’t, it leads you through. Some examples:
- A mobile-friendly design, since most local searches are done “on the go” these days;
- Fast-loading web pages, to rank well in search results;
- Automatic image optimisation, for fast web page download;
- No limits on pages, images or documents (i.e. forget “up to 5 pages, £250”);
- Automated techie tasks, so you neither need to understand, nor perform them;
- Automatic XML sitemap, used by search engines to find the pages on your site;
- User-managed web page names, important for good search results;
- Control of meta-tags and Microdata, also used and rewarded by search engines;
- Web page rename function, with automatic redirects so you don’t duplicate content.
What other website features, design and commercial, would our customers require?
- An efficient, collaborative design process, that harnesses your imagination and our Internet experience;
- The added business credibility of a top-level-domain email address;
- Social media auto-posters, with a review capability prior to publication;
- Optional packages, so clients don’t need to pay for things they don’t use;
- Digital Marketing, Blog, On-line Shop, Customer Engagement…
- No surprises: fixed price quotations, up front;
- Staged payments: only pay for each stage when you’re happy.
BlueTree’s Requirements From Its CMS
Naturally, we can’t afford to do this out of the goodness of our hearts: it must be commercially viable. In essence, it must allow us to give great service to our customers – they pay our wages. It must never get too complex, but it must continue to improve in other ways, particularly, ease of use, and cost to support.
So, to provide us with a sustainable, growing business, our CMS must have:
- Low support cost: single set of source code, so all clients receive every improvement;
- Scalable architecture: so we can always add new clients without affecting existing ones;
- Popular programming language: so it’s easy to find new staff to develop it;
- Up-to-date technology: so we can capitalise on the latest Internet trends;
- No risky add-ons: all functionality integrated, so we avoid any website downtime due to version clashes;
- Hacker-resistance: separate maintenance and deployment servers;
- No cross-contamination: no connection between different clients’ websites;
- Acceptable revenue stream: so we can pay ourselves and continue to invest in improvements;
- Continuous improvement plan: harness clients’ ideas – they’ll know best;
- Responsible use of Open Source components, so we have no third-party software licence issues;
- Extensible design: so we can add special features if clients require them;
- Simplicity: easy to use, so we must provide a way forward for those who outgrow it.
We’re now well on the way and we have our first batch of clients, with more in progress.
If you’d like to join them, or just find out a bit more, please go to our contact page or click that “Get in Touch” button, to the lower right of your screen.