What's a CMS When Website Can Mean Just About Anything
Over the last four years at New Media Campaigns, we have served an incredibly diverse group of clients: political campaigns, small businesses, economic development organizations, even online stores. The thing they all had in common was that they needed a website. But what "website" meant to each of them was entirely different.
- One organization wanted to build a massive multi-user blog so that college advisors across the country could safely and easily share resources.
- One law firm worked with just a couple of major clients each year. They wanted a site to put on their business cards, a site that would reflect their ability and professionalism.
- One business was an online store. They needed to accept credit cards online, and equally importantly, execute an inbound marketing strategy to drive customers to their website.
Each of these customers needed something quite different from a technical perspective. Each found us in search of a new "website".
Can these needs be served with one software package?
No, they cannot. However, we found that if we ignored just a handful of the ~400 sites we have built, there were core requirements that they all had in common. The goal of HiFi is to not just meet these requirements, but make them easy. If there is something the system cannot do, it should get out of the way rather than do it poorly. So what are the core requirements? Here is a high level look:
- A Website Should be Easy to Maintain - The admin interface cannot be a point of friction. Executing an online marketing strategy is hard enough without having to worry about a bunch of technical details. For an experienced webmaster, the hardest part about online marketing is the content creation. This should also be true for novices.
- Best Practices Should be Automated - Building and maintaining a website should largely be about new issues. The focus should be on messaging and marketing goals, not techinical problems that have already been solved. Backup, Scalability, ySlow compliance...these should not be concerns!
- Websites Should Look Good - An organization's website is its public face. There is no reason software should get in the way of good design. We firmly believe in allowing arbitrary CSS and HTML on HiFi. A designer should not need to know both the tenents of good web design and some odd restrictions of a particular software package.
Meeting these goals is not easy. The energy that goes into a website is often unbalanced, focusing either too much on the design of a site, social networking features, conversion optimization, or any number of issues. There are incredible tools out there to help with all kinds og details related to web marketing. What is missing is balance and perspective. Finding that balance requires complex simplicity.
We're too humble to think that HiFi will be the ultimate solution to bring that balance, but we believe it is important to share that as our goal. We are not building the most advanced social/widget/analytics/twitter/enterprise/whatever that will solve all of your website problems. We are building software that should make the "right way" easy, and never cause a loss of fidelity between idea and implementation. We are taking what we belive about web marketing and formalizing it in HiFi.