The LAX Shop is a sports store located in Chicago that is dedicated to providing services and equipment for lacrosse players of every level. Justin Smith is a lifelong player and fan of lacrosse and The LAX Shop is the continuation of his passion for the sport. Mr. Smith has had success with lacrosse his entire life and he is dedicated to sharing that with others.
Mr. Smith identified early on that his success was dependent on how he utilized the internet. He wanted to share his message and his passion of lacrosse through a web site to compliment his brick and mortar store. Mr. Smith needed a CMS that let him update his products easily while also allowing him to promote the sport of lacrosse. He needed an agile solution that would allow him to engage the web in a meaningful way while also giving him a platform to grow on.
Adage Technologies is a Chicago-based consultancy focused on delivering web software solutions on the Microsoft technology stack. Adage has experience with many CMS platforms and recognized that The LAX Shop was looking for a platform that would allow them to engage the web in a cost effective manner while also making sure that the platform was one they could grow on.
Since The LAX Shop does not have any technical staff, ease-of-use was a very big issue. Sitefinity’s editing metaphor is easy to understand and very approachable. In addition, Adage recognized the significant amount of functionality that came “out of the box” and knew that The LAX Shop would find value in that.
Having developed complicated websites before, Adage Technologies identified the need to make sure that the CMS platform would enable them to customize the web site to accentuate the store’s expertise. The ability to develop custom Masterpages as well as controls to enable client specific requirements was a very big selling point.
While Sitefinity is not an open source CMS, it does have a community of developers who provide add-on tools through the Sitefinity Marketplace (http://www.sitefinity.com/marketplace.aspx). As The LAX Shop grows, there are modules that Adage can incorporate into future versions of the website such as a Sitefinity Connector for Facebook or for Twitter. The modules and controls are quite reasonably priced and would significantly reduce the Total Cost of Ownership.
Finally, SEO is obviously a very important aspect of any web endeavor. Sitefinity provides all of the tools necessary to optimize search engine results. Semantically built navigation, customizable URLs, and meta-tag access are some of the SEO/SEM techniques that are supported “out of the box”. And, of course, users can customize the system to afford any specific strategies.
In less than three months Adage Technologies was able to implement Sitefinity using a team made up of a designer, a developer, and a content editor. Due to Sitefinity’s adherence to the Microsoft .Net development model, the designer and developer were able to work in parallel using different tool sets. This reduced the time to market by removing the confusion of a designer handing off changes to the developer or content editor to implement.
As in any development effort, there were surprises from a requirements stand point. When utilizing many CMS platforms, changes of this nature may invalidate the purpose of the CMS. Because Sitefinity is so flexible, Adage’s development team was able to apply best practices to make the necessary customizations without actually modifying the Sitefinity codebase. If Adage had modified the code base, then the project would not be able to upgrade to future versions cleanly.
Sitefinity’s adherence to the Microsoft .Net development model definitely reduced the cost of development through reducing the learning curve. Adage Technologies recommended moving forward with the 4.0 release and while many things stayed the same, others had changed. But in final analysis, Sitefinity 4.0 actually made it even easier for the developer and designer to implement the solution.
Sitefinity exceeded the client’s expectations in ease of use and providing a growth plan for future success. The LAX Shop has already seen the return on investment in regards to being able to update their content and products as well as leverage social media tools such as Twitter and Facebook.