When looking at content management systems (CMS), scalability refers to the ability to expand and grow your site with more content, capabilities, features, and functionality.
Your CMS is a long-term investment, and its scalability will have a strong influence on whether or not that investment is successful.
“When sustainable business growth is a top strategic objective, you need full confidence that your web presence can seamlessly scale and evolve to support that growth.”
This requires a platform that allows you to quickly and easily create new features and functionality. Ideally, you should be able to do this without having to invest significant time and resources into additional costly development work.
WordPress is One of the Most Scalable Platforms Around
Evidence of WordPress’s great scalability can be found in the fact that almost 45% of the world’s websites are built on the platform. That includes global enterprises such as investment firm Blackstone, research and advisory leader Forrester, the NHS England, and leading pharmaceutical company Hutch Med.
This is because WordPress websites can seamlessly scale as your needs change and your business grows. You can easily add a high volume of new content to your site at speed without compromising on quality.
WordPress is also renowned for how easily you, or your development partner, can build bespoke features and functionality, so your site can keep evolving with new capabilities to support more advanced requirements.
“No matter the size or complexity of your site, WordPress can provide fast, intuitive development capabilities with ongoing growth acting as a natural outcome.”
Using WordPress at Scale
Developing, managing, and maintaining a high-performance website at scale is a complex challenge. For that reason, it’s important to work with an experienced web design and development agency who can enable continual growth and support you through it.
Part of your agency’s services will include configuring your platform, and building your site in the back-end, in a way that encourages long-term scalability. We’ll explain our own approach to this in more detail in the next section. But first, let’s look at some of the fundamental ways to use WordPress at scale:
Bespoke Features and Functionality
If you want to build out your website with new capabilities, WordPress stands above all its competitors thanks to its ability to develop bespoke features that are unique to your site.
WordPress is built on PHP, which is the most popular development language around, as it’s currently used by over three quarters (77.5%) of all websites with a known server-side programming language. With PHP, WordPress has a significant advantage over other CMSs, because it allows you to create virtually anything and integrate it with the platform.
WordPress also comes with a vast range of plugins, which can help with adding to, and enhancing, the existing functionality of your site. Plugins are an essential aspect of WordPress development, but it’s crucial that you only choose the most reputable, tested, and proven plugins.
Your agency partner should be experienced in this plugin selection and use their past experience to recommend the best ones to use for your specific requirements. Your agency partner should also be able to advise you on how plugins will scale with increases in website size or traffic volume to help preserve your site’s performance.
Using plugins that are not regularly updated, or that come from unknown development owners, could harm your site by making it heavier, slowing down your page loading times, and possibly even creating security vulnerabilities.
Using a particularly large number of plugins is another situation that could result in slower loading speeds or other performance issues. Be mindful that use of plugins can reduce the bespoke development time needed to build your site, and the use of too many plugins could cause performance issues. If you find yourself in this situation, it could be an indication that your development partner might actually be taking shortcuts.
The Importance of a Trusted Partner
Whether you’re using plugins or building new bespoke features, your agency will be able to take care of all of these crucial aspects of your development for you. Their support and guidance will ensure you can expand your site freely without running into any technical issues.
Once you have everything you need in place, your agency will then be able to accelerate the speed at which you can scale moving forward. A great agency partner will also provide you with ongoing education and support, allowing you and your team to build your site out easily and efficiently by yourself too, whenever you want or need to.
Taking a More Scalable Approach – Building with Blocks
While many agencies still use a more traditional method of developing sites with WordPress, taking a block-based approach provides even greater opportunities for dynamic scalability.
As an alternative to the time-consuming practice of inputting text and images into a rich text editor in your CMS, the block-based approach allows you to create each page on your site more easily with a set of pre-built components.
Components are blocks of code with pre-defined style and input types. You can use and re-use these components across multiple pages of your site to scale it at a much faster pace. Any time you want to create a high volume of new content, you simply pick your already-built components and place them in the correct positions.
This is an approach that enables virtually limitless growth of your website at speed with a high level of quality and accuracy. Building components that can be reused across your site will also deliver added benefits like increased efficiency and reduced costs. This in turn provides you with more time to focus on developing better services and experiences for your site visitors.
The block-based approach to building websites is another way to make your WordPress platform leaner for better performance as well, because it removes the need for a bloated library of unnecessary plugins and features.
An Enterprise-Grade CMS
Scalability should be a key aspect of your criteria when selecting a CMS to build a website. Rapid growth and flexibility are crucial for your platform of choice.
Despite some still mistakenly thinking it might not be up to the task, you can use WordPress to build large, robust, high-performance sites at speed, and easily adapt them as your requirements change.
This arguably makes WordPress one of – if not the – best CMS options available today. When you look at some of the world’s leading businesses currently using the platform to great success, that argument becomes much easier to appreciate.
Like with any CMS, though, the key to successful scalability is having the support of an experienced, trusted agency partner behind you, ensuring you’re leveraging the platform to its full potential.
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- Read our comparison between Sitecore and WordPress here.
- Read our comparison between Drupal and WordPress here.
- Design look and feel
- Structure and navigation
- Features and functionality
- User experience
- Content and layout
- Speed and performance
- And anything else relevant to your project.
4 January, 2023
SoBold’s 2022 Round-Up
As we’re now into the first week of 2023, this feels like an appropriate time to reflect on what was another thoroughly successful year for SoBold in 2022.
We’re now working with enterprise clients and providing them with excellent website design and development services. We’ve also continued to grow our client base and are proud to have consistently produced outstanding work on their behalf throughout the year.
We’re pleased to have strengthened our presence in the healthcare and financial services industries. Now, we’re looking forward to building and managing more scalable products for our clients in the year ahead.
Our High-Performance Team
The definition of “high-performance” will vary from person to person, and you may have your own idea of what it means to you. For us, as an agency, it means every member of our team holds each other accountable to always perform at the highest possible level, so we can achieve a standard of excellence for all our clients.
We’ve used “high-performance” as a core value of our company since day one, and have worked very hard over the years to build a “high-performance” team. In 2022, this continued to develop and has allowed us to push those standards even higher, which is something we take a lot of pride in.
We were excited to see all three of our business teams grow in 2022: design, development, and operations. Over the past year, we also made a conscious effort to ensure the whole agency is working closer together as a more functional unit, for the benefit of our clients.
As the team has grown, we’ve had to implement more processes, which has allowed us to scale, and will enable us to continue to scale, as we move into the next cycle of our business.
Congratulations to Ivo Georgiev, who’s coming to the end of a successful apprenticeship scheme, which he did with us and the help of QA’s Tech, Digital, and IT Apprenticeship.
The SoBold Website!
In 2022 we launched our new SoBold website. Finding time to do this while continuously delivering projects for our ever-growing client base was a challenge, but one I’m really proud of the team for managing so well. We used this as a beta project to roll out a new SoBold workflow, and whilst there’s still some way to go to perfect this, we’re really happy with how it’s looking on the front-end!
Every member of the team worked on this in some way or another, and we’re already getting considerably more inbound leads and exposure from it.
We’ve been working hard on becoming more active in the online community as well, and this is notable particularly over the last quarter where we’ve increased our marketing. We were fortunate to be interviewed by Cloudways, who are a cloud hosting service provider we work closely with, and you can see this interview here.
Clutch has continued to be a new business driver for us and our profile has gained more exposure amongst the country’s best website design and development businesses.
We’ve also begun producing a selection of in-depth guides and blog articles to help our community more easily navigate the current technology landscape. You can find all that useful content on our blog.
We’re grateful to have worked with so many wonderful people from some brilliant clients over the past 12 months, and have built an array of different sites each with their own unique brief and challenge.
If you’d like to gain insight into the process we follow with our clients for project briefings, check out this recent article, which also includes a helpful brief template.
This is a great chance to showcase below some of the work we’re most proud of in 2022, for a selection of companies who are doing some very interesting things to make positive change in their respective industries:
Built and Live
Jamie and the Jam – Jamie and the Jam conceptualise, create, deliver, and manage beautifully bespoke content for their clients and their audiences.
Amplitude Clinical – Amplitude is a leading UK Patient-Reported Outcome Measures (PROMs) and clinical outcomes platform.
Arenko – Arenko is a market-leading technology provider enabling the clean energy transition.
Dictate.IT – Dictate.IT helps healthcare organisations across the UK and Ireland harness the power of speech to deliver seamless, efficient, and effective document management.
Edgerley Simpson Howe – Edgerley Simpson Howe are specialist out-of-town retail, leisure, and commercial roadside property consultants.
Pippo – Pippo lets you book your GP appointments whenever and wherever suits you.
Common Purpose – Common Purpose offers exceptional personal training in the heart of Mayfair. If you’re looking to start with a new gym or PT in the new year, Common Purpose are your guys to speak to!
Still Waiting to go Live!
Coller Capital – Coller Capital is one of the largest global investors in the private equity secondary market.
Healthlink – Healthlink connects more than 15,000 medical organisations across Australia and New Zealand.
Konnect Net – Konnect Net helps businesses in the insurance and health sectors exchange data in a quick and secure way.
There’s also a handful of special clients listed below that want to highlight, either because of the longevity of the relationships or the positive impact our work has made on their businesses:
Kapow Primary, whom we’ve been working with since 2018, is now used in almost one third of all UK primary schools, with over 30,000 primary school teachers using the Kapow Primary platform each week.
Our amazing Kapow team has been working on some really inspiring projects over the past few months particularly, and we cannot wait to share more when we publish these live.
You can learn more about our work with Kapow, and how we first started, in our case study here.
We started working with Rede Partners in late 2019 to help bring their vision ‘RedeWire’ to life. RedeWire is a new interactive online limited partner (LP) portal, providing instant access to Rede’s current fundraising offering.
RedeWire has had a closed launch, so we’re really excited for it to launch to their wider audiences in Q1 of this year.
Transport for London
Transport for London has renewed its cookie management contract with us for a fifth successive year. This highlights not only the great work we’re doing with them, but the importance of the relationship we’ve built with them.
We’re proud to have been working with Clanwilliam since 2017, and our relationship has flourished each year since then. We initially started working with their Global HQ, before being rolled out across their three divisions Clanwilliam Ireland (site being redesigned in Q1 2023!), Clanwilliam UK, and Clanwilliam ANZ.
We work with over 15 of their brands designing, developing, managing, and hosting their websites. We also work closely with these brands to help them with their branding and print design activations.
2022 saw Clanwilliam take a major shift in their global brand, choosing us to help them rebrand from Clanwilliam Group, dropping the ‘Group’. We worked closely with their Global Brand and Communications Director, Lauren Turner, to help bring this to life.
We all went into the process looking to rebrand Clanwilliam in its entirety, changing the logo and creating a completely new brand. However, we quickly realised the logo was going to stay and the brand needed to change around this.
We uplifted Clanwilliam’s colour pallet and fonts, creating a new brand that much better reflects their company’s values and ambitions.
You can see a more detailed case study about what we did here.
It’s Not All Websites Though!
Our talented Graphic Design Team was busy in 2022 too, across multiple rebrands and supporting various Knight Frank divisions. Some of our Knight Frank work is highlighted here.
We’ve also successfully managed to move all our clients into our Positive Park Hosting environment, which is based in Cambridgeshire. This has meant all our sites are running on a more optimised and bespoke server, tailored to their needs. Our VIP enterprise-grade support at the hosting park has made a positive impact, ensuring all our clients have peace of mind that their sites are secure and stable.
The hosting environment is an eco-friendly data centre that uses 100% renewable energy and is certified by the Green Web Foundation.
You can learn more about our hosting solution on our WordPress Website Hosting service page.
In addition to working with our clients, we’ve also been working hard on improving our processes, becoming more compliant and becoming a more reputable company across the board.
We became ISO 90001-compliant in 2022 and have successfully put our project management systems in place. Our Project Manager, Anna de Moraes, has been instrumental in implementing processes to optimise our workflow, and she’ll continue to drive the business forward into 2023.
We were absolutely delighted to work with Nation.Better to get a Skilled Licence VISA sponsorship as well, which opens up opportunities for us to hire more global talent. This is something as a business we’ve been looking forward to for a while now. Getting this licence and already hiring two people, and giving them the opportunity to work in London, is something we’re really proud of.
2023 and Beyond!
2023 is only going to be bigger and better for us here at SoBold. We have big plans to execute on our hiring strategy and intend to grow the team across all areas of the business. Doing so will help us continue to improve the service we provide to our clients.
We’ll continue to work with key clients in our industry focuses: healthcare, finance, real estate, and SaaS. As we work with more medium to enterprise-sized clients, we’re confident we’ll become more recognised as the High-Performance WordPress agency.
Thanks for reading. We hope you have a great year in 2023!
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5 January, 2023
WordPress vs Sitecore – Comparing Both Content Management Systems
Large businesses and enterprises in need of a content management system (CMS) today are spoilt for choice, because there are plenty of excellent platforms available. From WordPress to Sitecore to Drupal, the technology currently on offer is highly intelligent and intuitive.
But so much choice can make the task of finding the right CMS for your own specific business complicated and time-consuming.
Selecting a CMS is an important decision that requires a lot of research, followed by careful evaluation of all the various options. Of course, those processes can be very time-consuming. When you’re already extremely busy juggling dozens of other priorities, it’s challenging to give this the attention and effort it deserves.
To solve that challenge, we’ve done the bulk of the hard work for you. In a new series of articles, we’ll provide you with direct, objective comparisons between some of the leading options for CMSs, helping you relieve the headache of researching and evaluating them yourself.
In the first article of this series, we’ll be looking at the comparison between Sitecore and WordPress.
How Does the Security Compare for Both Platforms?
As we face ever-increasing concerns with cyber security, data protection, and various other digital challenges, finding a platform with robust security should be a top priority.
Sitecore has a reputation of being the leading CMS for large businesses, guaranteeing an enterprise-grade experience that includes a high level of security.
Sitecore’s security is also strengthened by the vast range of in-built features within the platform, which we’ll discuss in more detail later. There’s no need to purchase more third-party software or plug-ins to enhance its functionality, which means you won’t be creating any additional vulnerabilities or risks. The platform also receives frequent security updates which bolster your protection even further.
If security is a concern for your business, Sitecore should be high on your list of potential candidates for a CMS.
For a long time, many people believed the misconception that WordPress isn’t secure enough for large businesses. However, industry leaders such as global investment firm Blackstone, the NHS in England, global research and advisory leader Forrester, and multinational bank Standard Chartered now use WordPress for their CMS. This goes a long way to proving that wrong.
In fact, WordPress is already a secure, stable platform out-of-the-box. So, where did this myth come from?
Well, vulnerabilities can arise in certain scenarios. Firstly, strong security with any technology is dependent on a well-managed hosting environment. If you have WordPress hosted in a secure environment from an experienced provider, with proactive security measures in place, your risk will be extremely low.
Secondly, plugins are something to be cautious of when it comes to security, both in terms of where they come from and keeping them properly maintained. Security threats will be minimised if you only use plugins from trusted sources. You should also ensure you always keep them tested and updated, ideally working alongside security-specific plugins like WordFence.
We appreciate this may sound like a lot of work. That’s why all the examples of the businesses succeeding with WordPress have the support of an agency partner who ensures all these things are taken care of during the development stage. It’s worth noting, though, that this will also be the case when adopting any CMS in a business setting.
Which Platform is More Scalable?
One of the most important aspects of a CMS is its scalability. A CMS is a long-term investment, and this is one of the most influential factors in determining whether that investment will be successful or not.
You’ll need to ensure your site can evolve as your business grows and your needs change over time. This will require an infrastructure that can quickly and easily scale with more pages, additional functionality, and perhaps even more sites, without the burden of hefty costs for more development work.
How Scalable is Sitecore?
Sitecore is designed specifically for large businesses, so its scalability is up there with the very best. Sitecore is a robust platform that allows your digital presence to grow seamlessly as your business grows, even if you need to build multiple sites to serve different groups of users in different languages.
How Scalable is WordPress?
WordPress is another highly scalable platform. Despite some still mistakenly believing that WordPress is suited to smaller businesses, you can use the CMS to build sophisticated, industry-leading sites. Like Sitecore, WordPress is agile and scalable enough to grow alongside your business and adapt to your changing requirements.
How Capable are these Content Management Systems?
The main purpose of a CMS is to provide a software-based infrastructure upon which you can build and manage websites and applications. While most CMSs are similar on the surface, with the same fundamental functionality, they each have unique features and capabilities that differentiate them
For example, one critical indication of quality for a CMS is how easy it is to use. Once you’ve adopted a platform, you and your colleagues will need to feel immediately comfortable using it on a daily basis. If a CMS can’t provide good usability, it’s probably one you should avoid.
Sitecore as a Content Management System
Sitecore is actually considered a fully managed ‘digital experience platform’ that comes with more capabilities than the average CMS.
Most of its best features are readily available as soon as you begin using Sitecore. That allows you to get a high quality site live very quickly without additional work within the platform.
However, Sitecore typically provides quite hierarchical, complex workflows that might be frustrating for small or agile teams. This can also create longer development cycles than usual, giving you a slower time-to-market than more intuitive systems like WordPress.
WordPress as a Content Management System
WordPress is easily the most popular CMS in the world right now, with around 45% of all websites built on the platform. One of the main reasons for that is its ease-of-use, with simple and efficient content management
This usability allows you to get up-to-speed quickly and share responsibilities across several members of your team, even if they have no previous content management experience.
WordPress also makes it convenient to edit content on a page-by-page basis, saving you valuable time, with its block-based design an ideal method for customisation and site management.
How Much Personalisation do they Provide?
The ability to customise and tailor your site’s content to your target audiences is more important today than ever before, with so much of modern business now taking place online. Therefore, this is another important point to consider when choosing between your various CMS options.
Personalisation in Sitecore
When compared with other platforms, Sitecore’s personalisation is excellent. Sitecore will provide you with a great deal of control over the structure and design of your pages, allowing you to tailor your user experience and drive greater performance for your site.
This is particularly useful for larger businesses with high volumes of potential site visitors, delivering competitive differentiation and driving increased conversion rates.
Personalisation in WordPress
WordPress is also highly customisable. You can use its flexibility to get creative with your design, and build bespoke features and functionality to better engage with your audience.
There’s not much to separate Sitecore and WordPress in this area. The gap in personalisation becomes even smaller if you find an experienced agency with WordPress-specific expertise to help develop your site and improve your customer experience.
Integrating with Other Systems
Before your business invests in any digital platform, it’s important to ensure that technology can integrate easily with your existing software. Whether it’s your customer relationship management (CRM) or any other marketing systems, any digital tools you currently have should ideally be compatible with your new CMS.
How Sitecore Integrates with Other Systems
Sitecore integrates well with other systems. It allows you to achieve out-of-the-box integration with most of the leading CRM software, and plenty of other digital tools and platforms.
How WordPress Integrates with Other Systems
WordPress tends to be the easiest platform to integrate with your existing systems, because most brands and other SaaS products have already made themselves compatible.
This means you can deploy WordPress with minimal disruption, regardless of whether you’re building a new site from scratch or migrating your current site from a different CMS.
Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Of course, you’ll also want to ensure you’re getting a solution that will deliver good value for money. With a CMS, the total cost of ownership (TCO) can vary greatly from one platform to another, due to factors like licensing fees and update-driven maintenance.
Sitecore Initial Investment and Ongoing Costs
Sitecore is an expensive option, even if you have a large budget to work with. You’ll be required to purchase licences for the platform with an ongoing renewal fee each year. These licenses come in tiers, so if you want to access the full range of benefits from Sitecore you’ll have to opt for the most expensive offering.
On top of that, you’ll also need to account for development costs with an agency, hosting costs, maintenance and support fees, and various other expenses that give Sitecore a very hefty total cost of ownership (TCO).
Furthermore, Sitecore requires ongoing management and maintenance to handle regular large-scale updates to the platform. When updates occur, new versions of the software come with a big price tag and may cause you to pay for additional development work to get your site up-to-speed.
However, this could be a worthwhile investment if Sitecore’s features and capabilities are necessary for your specific requirements. If you’re looking for a quality, trustworthy enterprise-grade platform, Sitecore can justify the cost.
WordPress TCO and Value
Conversely, WordPress is a much more cost-effective solution with a drastically lower TCO. Licenses for WordPress come at no cost and the software is entirely open-source. That means your implementation costs would be limited to just hosting, agency fees, and post-deployment support.
If you decide to use any plugins or extensions of the platform, these will be licensed and paid for separately. However, businesses rarely need to bolt on many new tools or capabilities because WordPress is such a feature-rich platform already.
When WordPress is updated, unlike Sitecore, managing and testing your site can be done in just a few hours at a much lower cost.
A Word on Agency Partners
One thing both Sitecore and WordPress have in common is the small selection of platform-specific agencies who can build high performance sites for large businesses using this technology.
A CMS becomes far easier to use, and easier to drive strong return on investment (ROI), if you have a specialist partner supporting you.
Finding an agency with the necessary experience and expertise to help you leverage these platforms to their full potential should be another important influence on your choice. From integration, to development, to maintenance, all the benefits and advantages of the platforms will require an agency to help you fully unlock them.
How to Make Your Decision
So, with all that information, how can you decide between the two?
Both of these platforms are excellent options that would serve most businesses extremely well. After all, there’s plenty of good reasons why some of the biggest companies in the world use Sitecore and WordPress.
Ultimately, when looking for a CMS that’s the right fit for your specific business, you should make a detailed assessment of your strategic objectives, unique requirements, budget, users, and other important factors. Use that to determine which solution is most capable of meeting those needs.
If you still need more help working through this process, read our comprehensive guide to understanding and evaluating the enterprise options for large businesses here.
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5 January, 2023
WordPress vs Umbraco – Comparing Both Content Management Systems
When you’re tasked with selecting a content management system (CMS) for your business, you’ll likely appreciate that the number of viable options available can make things complicated. From Drupal, to Umbraco, to WordPress, there are plenty of quality technology platforms to choose from.
But finding the CMS that’s most suitable for your specific business is an important process that requires careful consideration and a lot of research. Of course, devoting sufficient time to this can be difficult when you have dozens of other priorities on your mind.
To ease this challenge for you, this article will make the process of choosing between two popular CMSs much simpler. In this new content series, we’re providing direct, objective comparisons between some of the leading options for CMSs today.
This second article of the series will look at the comparison between Umbraco and WordPress, and you can find links to the rest of the articles in this series at the bottom of this page.
A CMS is a software-based technology platform upon which you can build and manage websites and applications. While most CMSs are similar in terms of their fundamental functionality, they each have varying levels of complexity and development requirements.
It’s important to start by noting that Umbraco is a platform intended specifically for developers with a certain level of technical proficiency.
When you first set up Umbraco, it won’t be approachable for the average marketing manager or any other non-technical users. Initially, much of the key functionality expected from a CMS will be missing. The purpose of this is to encourage you to spend time and money developing the platform. Often, this has been known to rule out Umbraco as a viable option for a lot of businesses.
To get full value out of Umbraco, you’ll almost certainly need to hire someone – either an agency partner or an in-house developer – to help you get things up and running.
Having said that, no matter which CMS you choose, you’ll be significantly better off working with a platform-specific web development agency supporting you. For most businesses, an agency plays a crucial role in helping you implement your new system and develop your site (but more on that later).
WordPress is the polar opposite of Umbraco, in the sense that it’s designed so that anyone – even if you have no previous content management experience – can use it easily. That’s why it’s the most popular CMS available today, with around 45% of all websites on the Internet built using the platform.
Almost everything you need to manage the day-to-day responsibilities of your website comes readily available in the software, making it much more suitable for a wider range of businesses.
This allows you to begin building immediately and facilitates a quick time-to-market for your websites and applications. WordPress’s rich, dynamic features that come pre-existing with the platform “out-of-the-box” are to thank for that.
Content Management and Usability
You should consider ease-of-use as a key indication of whether or not you want to invest in a CMS. If a CMS doesn’t offer simple, intuitive usability, you’re probably better off avoiding it.
As mentioned above, in its initial state, Umbraco can be very difficult to work with for the average user. It’s mostly intended for more technical users who have coding skills or some development experience to build the infrastructure.
However, once you’ve invested sufficient time and money into tailoring the platform to your own preferences, it becomes a great tool for publishing and editing content on a website. Umbraco has a wealth of features that allow you to create high quality websites and dynamic web pages.
On a side note, if you’re a Microsoft user, you’ll be pleased to see some similarities in the structure of Umbraco’s user interface (UI).
WordPress is far more straightforward when it comes to usability. It provides you with a convenient, efficient user interface (UI) that allows seamless publishing, management, and editing of content on your sites.
It’s simple editing content on a page-by-page basis in WordPress, which saves you valuable time, with a handy block-based design.
The ease-of-use makes it possible to share responsibilities across your team, even if some of you don’t have any previous experience with a CMS, unlike the more technical Umbraco platform.
Customisation with Umbraco
Umbraco is known for being highly customisable and flexible. It’s best used as a clean slate for developers to tailor to the business’s requirements. However, this isn’t easy to do for the average user.
As mentioned earlier, Umbraco isn’t suitable for the average CMS user in its initial state. Unlike most CMSs, you’re required to spend some time customising Umbraco in order to make it into a platform that’s approachable and easy-to-use. Once you’ve done that, however, Umbraco can become an excellent CMS with great content editing capabilities.
Customisation with WordPress
WordPress allows you to customise it to your own liking as well. The difference here is that you don’t need to change much about WordPress’s set of tools and features before you can begin using it comfortably.
This allows you to create quality content from day one, with the freedom and flexibility to make adjustments to the platform as and when you require. WordPress is also an easier platform to upgrade with custom features due to the quality of its community-sourced plugins.
How Secure is Each Platform?
Cyber security is becoming a greater concern each day for businesses. Choosing a platform that delivers robust security should be a top priority, so you can have full confidence in the protection of your data.
Umbraco comes with a high level of in-built security. The software is based on Microsoft’s .NET platform, which gives it support from Code Access Security (CAS). Working alongside that CAS, Umbraco provides identity-based security, and that makes it considerably more secure than the average CMS.
Having said that, you shouldn’t let this act as an excuse for your agency partner to take security for granted. Every web development project should be approached with security at the core, no matter what in-built protection the platform has.
It’s also important to note that Umbraco is an open-source platform, meaning a community of developers regularly creates updates and new features within the software. This means that any new additions should be tested carefully for security in case they create new vulnerabilities.
While it is generally very secure, WordPress is another open-source platform backed by an active developer community. It’s important to be cautious of the raft of new features, updates, and plugins that are regularly released.
From a security perspective, be mindful of plugins, both in terms of where they come from and ensuring they’re correctly tested, maintained, and updated. For any CMS, these issues are best left to an experienced agency partner who has the expertise to minimise these risks for you.
Aside from that, WordPress does offer enterprise-grade security, with organisations like globally renowned pharmaceutical company Hutch Med and leading venture capitalist firm Balderton Capital using it today.
How Scalable is Each Platform?
Scalability should be another important part of your criteria when selecting a CMS. Fast, agile expansion is crucial for the platform, just as they are for your business as it grows.
Therefore, you need your digital infrastructure to be able to scale cost-effectively with more pages, additional functionality, and perhaps even more sites.
Scalability with Umbraco
Umbraco’s scalability is one of its strengths. With Umbraco, your site can seamlessly evolve as your business grows and your requirements change.
It’s especially useful for teams that need to manage a high volume of pages simultaneously, making it very suitable for large businesses.
Scalability with WordPress
In the past, WordPress mistakenly had a reputation among some for being most suitable for smaller businesses. However, its excellent scalability proves that to be nothing more than a myth.
Just like Umbraco, WordPress is agile and scalable enough to grow alongside your business and adapt to your changing requirements.
Cost and TCO
A CMS is a big investment, and should be considered a long-term one. In order to ensure you’re achieving a strong return on investment (ROI), it’s helpful to find a platform that offers good value and a low total cost of ownership (TCO).
When assessing this, it’s important to factor in costs such as hosting, licenses, agency fees, maintenance, bespoke development, and more.
Umbraco’s Up-Front Work and Ongoing Costs
Because it’s open-source, Umbraco can be free-to-use.
However, as mentioned earlier, it’s a platform that requires a great deal of technical expertise and initial development work. That will typically involve longer timelines with your agency than other CMSs, which inevitably mean high costs. Because it’s a complex platform, you’ll also face higher costs whenever you need to develop new functionality or work on integrations.
WordPress Value and TCO
WordPress comes with a far lower TCO than most other CMS options. Its ease-of-use and flexibility out-of-the-box make it a very cost-effective platform.
WordPress licenses are free, so your implementation costs would be limited to just hosting, agency fees, and post-deployment support.
Any plugins or extensions you want to apply to the platform will be licensed and paid for separately, but it’s unlikely you’ll need to add many new capabilities because it’s such a feature-rich platform by itself.
If a technology platform is supported by a strong community of developers, that will be highly beneficial to your business. Dedicated users from around the world work hard to continuously create improvements, additions, and updates to help the software become the best it can be.
Umbraco has been around since the year 2000, making it one of the oldest CMSs. That means it’s had a long time for a large, skilled community of developers to grow around it.
As touched on earlier, Umbraco is built on a Microsoft-based infrastructure, using a C# framework, and is the most popular platform of this kind.
However, it’s important to note that Umbraco is facing some decline. More popular platforms, like WordPress, gaining widespread adoption have seen developments with Umbraco slow down in recent years.
WordPress has a healthy global community devoted to constantly improving the platform.
WordPress developers are renowned for their creativity, producing a wealth of innovative new themes and plugins that can be used by any business with ease.
The WordPress community also regularly holds free events to help people learn more about how to use the platform. For instance, WordCamp is a non-profit event that has been running since 2006 across several continents.
The Important Role of an Agency
As touched on throughout this article, another factor which will influence the success of any projects with your chosen CMS is a development agency.
When finding the right CMS is such a challenge by itself, many businesses underestimate the importance of finding the right agency partner to support you with your CMS.
But as mentioned earlier, how well you handle critical aspects of the platform like security, testing, usability, and even your TCO are often determined by your agency.
With Umbraco, all the platform’s functionality has to be custom coded, which makes development time in the back-end longer than most businesses expect. This also makes Umbraco difficult to work with internally, as well as for any maintenance and updates. When working with an agency, this will see your costs increase when compared to WordPress technology.
Whichever CMS you pick, they’re all considerably easier to use, and to achieve healthy ROI, with a specialist partner supporting you. Finding an agency with the right experience and expertise to help you unlock the full potential of your platform should be another important part of your overall decision.
Making Your Decision
So, how do you take all these comparisons and decide which CMS is right for your business?
In all honesty, both Umbraco and WordPress are both good options that would work well for most businesses. Although, it is generally accepted that Umbraco is a less approachable platform than WordPress unless you have technical skills within your team.
In order to determine which one will be more suitable, it’s useful to look at each of the characteristics listed in this article in relation to your unique requirements and business needs.
Remember that every business, and every web development project, is different. Think carefully about your specific strategic objectives, budget, users, technical specifications, and any other important factors. That should make it clear which CMS is the better choice to deliver what you’re looking for.
If you need more help in your evaluation of the various CMS options:
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24 November, 2022
SoBold obtain Skilled Worker Sponsorship Licence
SoBold are delighted to announce that we have obtained a sponsor licence in order to sponsor international skilled workers to come and work at SoBold.
SoBold have always put heavy emphasis on hiring the best global talent for our needs, and we have strengthened our ability to do this by obtaining a Skilled Worker Sponsorship Licence.
With all sponsorship licences that the Home Offices grants they need to be reassured that the sponsors can live up to the “significant trust” that the department places in them. The Home Office further made checks that SoBold is a “honest, dependable and reliable” workplace, and capable of meeting the responsibilities that it expects from sponsors.
Since being granted our Skiller Worker Licence, we have been fortunate enough to put it to use to hire two new team members.
Anna de Moraes, joined SoBold, from Portuguese company, SpringParrot. Anna had been able to work remotely, and was living and working from the UK, when she got in touch with SoBold. Anna, who is natively from Brazil, said of the process:
“The steps were pretty clear and the whole process was quite simple. I’ve had friends waiting years for their visas to be approved while we were able to complete everything in a short period of time! I was already excited to start and, in a blink of an eye, I was finally part of the SoBold team!”
More recently, SoBold hired Santosh Gajera as a Back End WordPress Developer. Santosh has relocated from India in order to provide his services to SoBold. When asked about the process behind him getting his Skilled Worker VISA granted, Santosh said:
“To keep my IT career moving forward, I needed sponsorship from an organisation that sponsored my visa. SoBold has been an invaluable help in obtaining my Tier-2 (Skilled worker) visa. I am very thankful to their hard work and professionalism. My documents were handled very scrupulously by them, and they provided full support throughout the whole application process . I got my visa approved in two days, which is amazing, and they handled everything for me.”
SoBold worked with all-in-one digital platform, Nation Better in order to achieve our sponsorship licence and the process was streamlined, affordable and transparent.
SoBold already have a diverse talent pool, with staff from all over Europe, and with the help of Nation Better, we have been able to improve the way in which we hire international talent and open up opportunities further afield. We look forward to continue growing our team with exceptional overseas talent and have access to a wider talent pool.
SoBold Managing Director, Will Newland said:
We are absolutely delighted to welcome both Anna and Santosh to the SoBold team. Without our Sponsorship Licence we would be missing out on a large pool of talent that is the future of our business. We very much look forward to continuing to use our Sponsorship Licence to our advantage and giving skilled employees the opportunity to come and work here at SoBold.
For more information on what current vacancies we have, please visit our website careers page.
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18 April, 2023
Understanding the Important Role of Research and Planning When Designing a New Website
Before you begin working on the design elements of a website project, it’s important to begin with, what we at SoBold call, a research and planning phase.
The purpose of a research and planning phase is to ensure that every single decision you make about your design will result in a more effective website, both in terms of your business goals and your users’ needs.
During this phase, you’ll work alongside your chosen agency to define the full scope of your website and all its requirements. This phase will also involve looking closely at your target audience, trends in your market, your competitors, and any data available from your existing website.
This research is extremely useful in shaping the direction you take with your website and helping you to capitalise on certain trends that may align with your strategic objectives.
In this article, we’ll explain how a research and planning phase works to help you know what to expect when entering your own website design project.
Website Strategy Workshop
A research and planning phase usually begins with a strategic workshop. This workshop will bring all the relevant stakeholders together, either in person or over a video call, to agree on the goals and parameters of the project.
A workshop is a great collaborative environment to help your agency become even more familiar with your brand, your target audience, and the outcomes you’re looking for from your new website.
Your agency should work closely with you to determine how the objectives you have for your new website feed into your wider business goals. That will be the key to finding the right approach to designing your website.
Once the workshop is completed, the research can begin.
Leveraging Data to Dictate User Experience (UX) Decisions
Every decision you make about your website’s design needs to be informed and justified by data.
As it’s becoming increasingly difficult to capture and retain your audience’s attention, nothing can be left to chance. It’s also negligent to overlook the vast range of valuable insights available to you within your data, and the data in the public domain.
Your agency should begin by analysing the performance of your website in Google Analytics. This can help to help understand the current behaviours and trends from your website users.
Most businesses use Google Analytics, but few understand the right things to measure. For many businesses, Google Analytics is an untapped gold mine of data and insights that can help you improve site engagement, retain more visitors, and ultimately grow your business.
You can conduct a thorough analysis of things like:
1 – Your Audience Acquisition
Google Analytics can help you identify where your visitors have found you and accessed your website from.
Whether through organic search, social media, direct, or referral, you’ll learn how all your visitors are acquired. This information is vital, as it can allow you to tailor different parts of your website to certain visitors at various stages of their journey with you.
For example, if organic traffic is a key driver of your website traffic, it’s important for your agency to ensure that lots of the hierarchical structure of copy is maintained throughout the site.
This is also helpful in optimising your wider digital marketing strategy, by recognising what’s working well and what isn’t, from a web traffic perspective.
Bonus Tip – If you’re running Google Adwords, make sure your agency partner is aware of all the URLs that need to be redirected, and that this doesn’t affect your ad spend.
2 – Your Visitors’ Demographics
Google Analytics can provide detailed insights into your website’s visitors, with data covering everything from age, gender, location, language, and more. This helps you gain a clear, specific understanding of who’s coming to your website, and that can inform important decisions about your design.
It will also help you determine whether or not you’re attracting the right audience, which could alert you to a need for changes in your design and branding.
Bonus Tip – If you have a lot of visitors from other countries, you may need to talk to your agency about setting up a content delivery network (CDN) on the hosting server to deliver content from that location.
3 – Your Visitors’ Interests
You can use Google Analytics to view information about your visitors’ interests, past searches, and other online behaviour. This can help you identify what they’re looking for when they’re visiting your site. You can then tailor your design and content to match any unaddressed questions, challenges, or needs they might be looking to meet.
4 – Your Visitors’ Behaviour
Google Analytics can give you a graphical representation of your visitors’ behaviour when interacting with your site. This includes where they’ve entered your site, where they went next, what their whole journey through your site looks like, and where they eventually left.
This provides great opportunities to optimise certain pages that aren’t performing well enough. You can also learn what your visitors respond well to from pages that already have strong engagement.
Mapping your users’ journeys may also uncover insights to help you create links between certain services, hone in on special offers that will drive increased conversions, and many other ways to boost engagement.
5 – Your Conversions
Your conversions are a critical measurement of your site’s success. Whether you’re aiming for subscriptions, demo sign-ups, contact form submissions, downloads, or anything else, failing to achieve your conversion targets means something isn’t working.
You can use Google Analytics to set goals for conversions, monitor performance, and highlight areas where you need to improve.
Taking this analytical approach will ensure your website’s design is tailored to supporting your strategic objectives.
Bonus Tip – On July 1, 2023, for continued website measurement, you’ll need to migrate your original property settings to a Google Analytics 4 (GA4) property. Your agency partner should be on top of this though.
Next, if applicable, your agency should review any existing tracking resources you have in place on your website.
A successful website design is based on many different factors, each an important component in engaging your audience, converting them into clients, and growing your business.
This is why it’s useful to look into key metrics you may use to measure your success against, then use the related data and analytics to inform your design. Tailoring your UX based on your findings will ensure your website is designed specifically to optimise your user behaviours.
Bonus Tip – If you don’t have any additional tracking in place, both HotJar and Crazy Egg are great tools to use.
Analysing External Factors
Understanding Your Target Audience
One of the most important parts of building a new website is understanding the preferences of the audience you’re targeting. You know what your ideal customer profiles (ICP) look like, but do you understand how they behave when interacting with websites online?
Every decision about your website’s design must be made with consideration and empathy for your users. As touched on in the previous section, audience research will include a wide range of variables, including:
This part of the research will contribute towards building user personas and user journeys at a later stage of the design process.
A user persona is a fictional person that you can use to represent the target audience of your website. These personas will help you focus on the desired interactions between the ideal user and the website you’re building. Creating personas also helps to map the users’ needs to your goals for the project.
A user journey is a path that a user may take to reach their goal when using your website. Hypothetical user journeys are created at this stage, as they help to identify the different ways the site’s design needs to enable the user to achieve their goal as quickly and easily as possible.
With these, you can begin to paint a picture of how your target audience will interact with your website, allowing you to create a satisfying user experience.
Researching your industry landscape will reveal a great deal about what to do, and what not to do. An analysis of the wider market you operate in will help you benchmark yourself against industry leaders, and highlight mistakes being made by any businesses lagging behind. It’s useful to be aware of any industry trends or points of influence that may inform your website’s design as well.
Bonus Tip – You’re an expert in your industry. Your agency is not, but they are experts in web design and marketing trends. Work closely together by leveraging each other’s knowledge and expertise to paint the full picture of what makes modern websites successful from a design perspective.
It’s also crucial to conduct a thorough competitor analysis to see what the benchmark is for a successful website in your industry. Conversely, some competitors may provide examples of bad design that can help you identify pitfalls to avoid with your own site.
Around five of your competitors is usually a good number to look into. To do this, your agency should work with you on assessing their websites in key areas such as:
This research will allow you to recognise opportunities, gaps in the market, important trends, and any other insights you can gather.
Making Data-Driven Decisions
Following all this research, your agency will work on developing a strategy for your website, recommending the optimum route through the rest of the design process.
Your agency will provide a report detailing all the findings from the strategy workshop and research. This should often include a sitemap document and a content framework for your site as well.
An agency should always provide the opportunity for feedback and iterations on crucial documents like this, so you should then be given time to review this and provide feedback.
Bonus Tip – Don’t be afraid to ask questions, challenge things you’re unsure about, or change your mind during this feedback and revision process. These are big decisions, and it’s important to be 100% sure about the direction your website’s design is being taken.
Once you’ve worked through this feedback with your agency and you’re happy with everything they’ve planned, you can then move into the phase of the project that focuses on the visual identity of your site.
Bringing it All Together in the Design
A thorough, well managed research and planning phase is an essential part of designing a successful website. By having a strategy backed up by tangible data in place, you’ll be able to work through the remaining phases of the overall design process in a more efficient and effective way.
It also helps anticipate any challenges or potential issues in the design process and allows you to mitigate them before they arise, saving you time and money in the long-run.
This phase is arguably the most important in ensuring your agency can meet your specific requirements and expectations, on time and within budget.
If you’d like to discover what’s involved in the next phase of a web design project, exploring the visual identity of your site, read our next article here.