As a design and development agency, we have used 5 different CMS solutions over the years from open source, to top brand names, and even developed our own CMS solution. With time the critical factor, we needed to hyper accelerate our own CMS solution, however the cost would be too great. So, we found a .NET solution that allowed us to package our custom modules and integrate directly into a CMS, from social media functions, to e-commerce system and a full properties advertising solution for the Housing Association industry in the UK.
If that wasn’t hard enough, our first solution and challenge was to develop a high-end design website, allowing for easily updatable content, blog areas and integrated social media tools for online marketing. We wanted to use our own company website as a flagship to showcase our services, our website designs, technical knowledge, and our offering of Sitefinity CMS.
Sitefinity allows .NET developers to engage and interact with the core components at a rapid development rate. Its clean code and easy to understand structure has allowed our developers to self learn the technical modules at an amazing rate.
Our bespoke modules were integrated seamlessly into Sitefinity, without having seen the Sitefinity setup. Visual customization of the administration section has allowed our modules to merge into Sitefintity and keep the high level of usability which Sitefinity is well-known for.
We have integrated and developed into Sitefinity the following:
• Access for feeds and posts to Facebook, Twitter and Youtube all from the CMS
• A full drag-and-drop Jobs Board module
• A full CV Management facility, with text converter and full text indexing on Word documents
• An advanced Property Management facility, design and built for the HomeBuy Agency schemes in the UK, with multi level administrator access
• A full .NET e-commerce system, allowing for full shopping cart and checkout services.
• And finally, we are currently working on a full document management system, which would remove the need to integrate with SharePoint, but love the fact Sitefinity can integrate with WSS if needed.
Sitefinity’s amazing flexibility allows web designers and web developers to expand the functionality of the CMS to limitless heights. It provides an open source type of solution for developers to engage with, but keeping the core tight and free from errors. Our solution has reduced 12 months of development time and saved over £100,000 of budget by taking the Sitefinity CMS and integrating our modules and code into the solution.
Our Spinbox Media flagship website has allowed for easy use of JQuery, clean designs, valid XHTML code, dynamic sitemap integration, a boastful portfolio display and rapid content creation beyond any CMS example we have seen. Withholding that we can post to Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from within out the CMS, has made Sitefinity an amazingly easy CMS to use. Feedback on the website is mainly based on the design, which has been exceptionally positive, but only possible due the speed content can be generated, shared and deployed via the CMS.
The project took 3 months to complete, with numerous design changes and a large amount of content creation, this project would normally take 5 months if using previous CMS solutions we have trialed. Also, Sitefinity has shown that a CMS should not restrict a website design but increase usability as well as functionality.
Content creation times have halved, with an amazing RadEditor, SpellCheck and image management facility, creating content is now a joy. Blogs have integrated across Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, with the RSS feed pushing content daily to the LinkedIn profile, reducing our content creation time and resources. Traffic has jumped up since the launch, with user retention at an amazing high time average of 10 minutes!