Jawitz Properties has always emphasized the value of technology as being a key ingredient in the real estate industry. Even though their existing site encompassed this belief, it had been built a couple of years prior and didn’t factor in any of the latest technologies and strategies available in the industry. Search Engine Optimization and usability were crippled due in large part to the outdated use of HTML frames. Apart from the actual properties displayed on the site, which integrates with their in-house MIS system, keeping the site fresh and up-to-date in terms of content was highly restrictive.
The objective was to provide Jawitz with a platform that would allow marketing staff to manage content easily, greatly improve usability and search engine optimization value.
The need for a Content Management System (CMS) was clear, but Sitefinity was recommended due to its superior User Interface and efficient extensibility model. With the multitude of CMS platforms available in the market you very often find that any one product is strong in either usability or in development, but rarely you get both. Sitefinity achieves this balance and more.
Sitefinity’s administration tools are well designed and very easy to learn. Development time is reduced quite dramatically because Sitefinity doesn’t deviate too far away from standard Asp.net concepts. This means a shorter learning curve for developers and faster development times.
This project relies heavily on URL mapping (rewriting) and extensionless URLs to achieve a rich set of indexable pages which are friendly to both search engines and humans. With a bit of tweaking Sitefinity was able to handle the demands of the task in fine form. The property search feature of the site was achieved through the use of JQuery and web services which are easily achieved in Sitefinity resulting in a great search feature that auto-populates as the user types text into the search box.
The most valuable built-in modules used in this project were Generic Content, Blog and News modules. It goes without saying that the cost of building custom blog and news modules would bloat the overall budget for the project and couldn’t be justified.
During handover training the two marketing staff members caught on very quickly and are actively contributing to the content of the website, which is a testament to Sitefinity’s reduced training time requirements.
"It is a very easy and understandable system. The steps are easy to follow and you can complete your tasks faster. Using Sitefinity takes away working with HTML where I had to do research on the website to finish a task and now everything is readily available." – Rochelle, Jawitz Marketing Department
As always our developers were pleased that Sitefinity was selected as the choice of CMS because: "It makes developing for CMS platforms far more simplified, especially for basic feature additions where you can make use of a quick standard Asp.net control" – Nedoweb Developer
In total, five developers participated in this project at various points ranging from design and HTML/CSS implementation through to functionality and database development.
It is still a bit early to gain an official view of the changes in search engine optimization, but we’re very optimistic since Sitefinity already provides standard features that make optimization an easier task and that work effectively.