Organisations spend vast amounts of money on creating a memorable user experience (UX) on their websites. Rightly so – bad UX is a sure-fire way to send visitors elsewhere. Furthermore, an increasing amount of enterprise marketing budget is spent on delivering engaging, relevant and personalised content. Again, this is a good thing. Content is a proven way of engaging with customers and helping to grow loyalty and retention.
Yet some enterprises are less keen to put in place the proper building blocks for their online presence. This includes a strong IT infrastructure, robust business continuity and the right content platform partner. Given the importance of content in modern business this is surprising, especially when taking into account content platforms.
For any enterprise that is committed to a strong online presence – and that should be all of them. A content platform is one of the most important investments they will make. What should enterprises be looking for when selecting a content platform?
Why content platforms are so important
The past few months we have spent during lockdown have illustrated clearly why websites need a good content platform. Online engagement and interaction have spiked hugely during this period. A majority of the workforce working from home. Children being home-schooled and people having far more free time than they usually would, has meant more people looking at online content than ever before.
Media analytics group Comscore has estimated online traffic, measured by unique page views, has increased by around 20 per cent on average across Europe and US. Online services have been particularly invaluable during lockdown and it would have been much harder if they were not available.
More than ever, content is at the heart of the digital experience. If a website does not deliver a seamless experience for both its audience and any advertisers. Then those visitors will look elsewhere for an experience that better meets their expectations.
Expecting a content platform provider to offer strong security sounds obvious, but it is worth reiterating. We live in an era in which there are more cyber-attacks than ever. Increasing in volume, sophistication and potential impact all the time.
Enterprises also need to be mindful of regulatory compliance – General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA). Both can lead to enormous fines for non-compliance. Furthermore, the brand damage of being publicly known as an organisation that does not look after its customers’ data effectively.
Any enterprise should ask a potential content platform about its compliance certification. Data centres should have SSAE 18 SOC 1, SSAE SOC 2 certifications. Providers should adhere to the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework and the Swiss–U.S. Privacy Shield Framework. Physical security is important too. Servers should hold the International Organization of Standardization (ISO), International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) 27001 certification and Standards for Attestation Engagements (SSAE) No. 18 (SOC1) and SOC2 Type 2.
Then it’s a question of assessing which security features are most important to that enterprise. Data encryption in transit from edge to origin, with options for encryption at rest. Network and host-based firewalls with real-time notification processes. Logging and auditing at the application, web server, load balancing, database, and operating system layers are all important.
Traffic spike management
The need to manage traffic spikes flexibly and transparently is another vital consideration. Some sites have steady levels of traffic and then suddenly experience a major surge. Cyber Monday and Black Friday are good examples of this, where even sellers of niche products can see massive spikes.
Traffic is integral to the success of the internet. But too much traffic in a short space of time can slow speeds and even crash a website. If a website receives an unusually high amount of traffic in a short period, the server may not cope. As a result, the content platform must be capable of supporting different volumes of traffic.
Scalability is key here. A good enterprise content platform will have measures in place that allow for the rapid scaling up (and down) of capacity. Sometimes a brand will know in advance that more bandwidth is required, other times it may take them by surprise. Either way, pricing should be completely transparent and flexible. A content platform should be able to guarantee 100% uptime, no matter how many extra visitors it receives.
Capacity to cope with user-generated content
The content an enterprise publishes itself is one thing. However, it must also be mindful of large volumes of user-generated content. For a retail brand, this might include customers uploading photos of them using or wearing products. For a news website, it could entail people uploading video content in response to a breaking news story.
A content platform therefore needs bandwidth to facilitate this and to have no impact on the website performance or speed. Enterprises selecting a content platform should ask how they manage bandwidth demands and what support is provided. A high-quality content platform should offer unlimited bandwidth. In addition, a fully managed option, which provides all the support an enterprise should require.
The selection of an enterprise content platform is hugely important. It is something that can be overlooked as enterprises focus on UX and content itself. But choosing the wrong content platform could lead to websites crashing, security breaches, significant downtime and much more. All would be disastrous to most enterprises. But can be avoided by addressing the above criteria during the procurement and assessment phase.
WordPress VIP is the leading provider of enterprise WordPress. With expertise in delivering content-rich digital experiences for large organizations, WordPress VIP’s roots lie in the open source movement, which democratizes publishing through accessibility, performance, security, and ease of use. An estimated 35% of the web is built on WordPress, including 26% of the top 10,000 sites, while WordPress VIP clients include News International, New York Post, Facebook, CNN and many other global enterprises.