Webinar: The CMS of the Future - Transcript

Join our CEO, Pete, as he discusses the CMS industry, history and new possibilities for the future. (transcript)

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New Possibilities Group, LLC

1033 Route 46 East, Suite 107
Clifton, NJ 07013
(855) 674-7687

Webinar: The CMS of the Future

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So what are we talking about today? We're taking about the CMS of the future. Obviously, every website out there has to run with a content management system these days. Basically, these are systems that power your entire infrastructure.

And then we're going to talk about the history of content management systems and how it used to work. But it's not just flat files anymore; it's typically some piece of software that's going to be a portal for you to log in, to be able to change content, effect the front-end of your website, and how it all works. So, we're going to talk about where it was, where it is, and where it's going to be in the future.

To begin: the agenda. We're going to start some introduction in a second about who I am. I will talk a little bit about the history of the CMS, like I said, what CMSs are out there today, what the landscape looks like. We're going to talk a little bit about how content is consumed because it's not just web-based. There's a variety of different things happening. We'll talk about the CMS of the future, the benefits of the methodology. We're going to discuss, talk a little bit about the economics of it. And then from there we'll open up to, we'll do some case studies and talk a little bit about Q&A, if you have any questions for me.

Just to begin, this is me. That's about as good as I ever look. My name is Peter Czech, CEO of New Possibilities Group, co-founder back in 2001. What we do is we specialize in highly customized website design and development for applications and, obviously, content management systems. I didn't put our address there. You can see from my email, obviously, it's npgroup.net. Most of you would've signed up from that anyways, so I assume you've already seen the site, and I look good enough for you to join me today.

Our experience over the past 15 years, we've worked with a variety of companies that you've probably heard of. There’s just a couple of them. Obviously, I put the big names here, but it's not just big, enterprise corporations we work with. We work with a lot of small and medium enterprises as well.

Let's take a walk back to when I had a lot less gray hairs, going back about 15 years when we started the NP Group. Back in those days, our first websites were literally thousands of pages. They were just HTML pages that were linked together. What we would do back then, we would have a piece of software like Dreamweaver or something like that. You would download all these files, make changes to the files, and then upload them again. It really required a lot of technical knowledge to be able to make changes.

Back then, anything interactive you had to install like a CGI script. Hopefully, some of you know what I'm talking about. Maybe I'm showing my age, but these scripts were a real—pardon my French here—pain in the ass to work with. They required all sort of special permissions. It was really annoying to work with in general. The experience with these scripts was that it was never tied in great with your website in general. It was always sort of like pieced together and never really looked great.

Also, login systems. Everyone today takes for granted community and things like that. Back then, it was pretty rare. If you had a login area, it was going to pop up a window and give you an ugly browser window to put in a user and password, and your session may not hold. I mean, it was not a lot of fun to work with.

Along comes this wonderful thing that we call a content management system. It started with these systems being small and relatively niched toward certain tasks that they’re trying to perform. For example, WordPress was really made just to be a blog. It’s evolved over time, and I’m going to say some things about WordPress that people may not be happy to hear, but we’re going to get to that, but it has evolved, but it started in that niche. Magento was e-commerce, for example. All these platforms had one area they were really focused on.

They started with kind of rudimentary content management. You could change one area of your site, but you may not be able to change something else. Over time, they obviously got better, but this is how it began. Over time, too, they started to allow you to extend their functionality with plug-ins and extensions, which is a very big part of how this whole industry works today, and we'll talk about in a little bit. Some of the platforms that came out of this era: WordPress, Drupal, Joomla, Magento. These are all open source platforms, things that you can download for free. You can go and you can make changes to it. You don't really technically own it, but it's something that's out there that you can sort of make adjustments to.

As that happened, enterprise sort of caught up as well, companies like Adobe, Ektron, Sitecore—all these other places started coming up with massively expensive platforms to be able to do content management as well.

This is just—basically, I just google searched. I said, show me the top 25 CMS platforms that are on the way up, and then I put in some other names here that we all know like WordPress and Adobe and Drupal. This is just a small sample. There's hundreds of them. There's hundreds of these systems that are out there today. It's very convoluted, it's very confusing, and as someone who is going to acquire one of these systems, it’s very confusing to understand what the differences are and, moreover, what a good investment looks like.

These systems really changed the Web forever. They're very quick and easy to deploy. As an example, you can sign up with a web host. There might be a button that installs WordPress today. It's very easy to do this.

Plugins, extensions, these methods of extending how your website works. They've matured. They're a lot better today. Let me go to the next one here.

And then what happened—and this is sort of a good thing and a bad thing—tens of thousands of experts and agencies sort of came out of the woodwork because these platforms are so easy, but they're still beyond the technical knowledge of maybe small business owners, so a lot of people became experts and formed little agencies. I think HubSpot says there's like 70,000 agencies today, which is a good thing and a bad thing. We'll get to that in a second. Obviously, right now, sounds awesome, right?

The bad news. As these systems got more and more out there, malicious individuals said, “Hey, you know, we can shoot up in the air a couple of times and maybe hit a couple of targets.” So they started putting out these automated bots that are looking to take advantage of these platforms for a variety of reasons. One is to send out spam email, so they’ll find a WordPress install that's vulnerable and then they'll hit that. Things like that are happening. I kind of have a saying about WordPress websites. “There's two types: those that’ve been hacked and those that are going to,” because it's such a common occurrence. So, it's definitely a negative of these platforms.

Updates. All these platforms need updates. The reason they need updates is because these security issues are happening. It's very unpredictable. You never really know precisely when the core software will be updated, when the plugin or extensions need to be updated. If you're in charge of technology for a big company, that level of uncertainty definitely makes you uncomfortable. This is probably the reason why enterprises choose to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on these solutions as opposed to going with something open-source. Even in that scenario, though, even there, you have that issue with updates as well.

And customability. Everyone says, “Oh, they're completely customized,” where you can do whatever you want, but in reality, the more you customize, the more unstable you make it, the less likely you make your next upgrade to go smoothly. So really, how customizable are they? We like to tell customers who—I should call them patients actually. We like to tell customers who work with WordPress that we could typically get you 90% of what you want with WordPress; if you do the 10% more to get you 100% where you want to be, you might start to push the envelope in terms of what can happen in the future. That's definitely a negative.

Of course, these major iteration changes, you have to consider those. When Drupal went from 6 to 7 to 8—those are major updates. It doesn't just happen with CMSs. It happens with coding platforms too, like Ruby, for example. They did a major iteration, and I remember talking to another agency owner who said his whole business was just taking people from version X to version Y. And I forget the number, but this is something that you can't really plan for. And when it does happen, you're going to be under pressure to do it because you're going to be scared. You’re going to be like, “Hey, I want to update or else I might be vulnerable,” and the next thing you know, you have a major expense.

The biggest problem I have with these off the shelf systems is simply that they've made it so easy to install and get set up quickly, and then, they put these themes out there. Themes are preset web designs that are in use on tens of thousands of sites. So, we've created this community and atmosphere of sameness.

Actually, what I'll do after the webcast, I'll send you guys a great article. It's from someone from Deutsche out in LA who talks about this and says that, “These systems are great. Again, very easy. Lots of people can get on the web. But if you really think about it, look at all the websites you go to, especially if for small business—small to medium business—they basically all look the same. So creativity is taking a major hit.” This is a major point. I deal with this all the time.

Like I said, 70,000 agencies. Many of these people have no idea, WTF—we’ll keep it, will keep it safe here—they have no idea what's going on. These are not really web developers anymore. These are people who have perhaps learned how to install WordPress, install a theme, flip a logo, change a color, and call themselves a web developer. These are some the negatives of these platforms. As they've gained traction, these things have kind of popped up.

But I don't want to focus too much on the negatives. I want to talk about the positives. I want to talk about where we're going.

For me to do that, let me just break down technically how these platforms work. Basically, all of them put together—I'm going to generalize a little bit—they combine the logic front end and the administrative portal into one platform. These are integrated systems. As I said here, as I show you, this is what the puzzle looks like. Front end and admin portal are looped together.

Display and administration play in the same sandbox. Let me talk about that really quick too. Content types are flexible. Take WordPress, for example, who it's been around for quite some time at this point. It's still based on the old methodology that you only have two pieces of content, which are posts and pages. They're starting now to make it flexible for other types, but this is based on an old system. This is based on an integrated system. All we’re worrying about is the Web. We're not worried just about the Web anymore. We have other devices as well.

This little graphic here kind of summarizes what most WordPress installs or Drupal installs look like by the time I see them. You have plugins, which are basically taped and barely held together to an integrative platform. It isn't exactly what it seems. Everyone says, “Oh, this is great, and you take WordPress and there's a plugin for this and it's going to work seamlessly,” but 9 times out of 10, you're going end up looking like this.

Our perspective is that the future is not integrated. Today, content is consumed on a lot of different places. You consume it on the Web. You consume it on mobile. You consume it mobile web or mobile apps. You could consume it in OTT devices. It's sort of happening all over the place. And content isn't defined by pages and posts anymore. It's defined by a lot of different things.

The majority of the platforms today, they were designed off the shelf just for the Web, and that's all that they can really do. They're attempting, by offering plugins and extensions to be modified or to help modify them, that they can fuel other distribution methods, but this is not the core of that they do. Going back to that graphic I showed before, if you tried to do that, that's what your install is going to look like. It's going to be plugins taped together, and it's going to affect all sorts of things down the line.

Our perspective on the future is if we can separate administration, administration functions and logic from user consumption, that will be the best of all worlds, and we call it decoupling. It's also known as headless—headless, kind of like the horseman. The headless CMS.

What is it? In a nutshell, we're going to separate the management and storage of the content from the user experience. Your CMS location and your content consumption lives in other places connecting securely back to it.

Why would you want to do this? There's a variety of reasons why you would want to. Big reason we see why is number one and two here: security. When you have something that's decoupled, you're not going to run into the same problems that you're going to have with many off-the-shelf types of systems. The best way to explain it is that we can lock down the administrative portal, the database, and all that logic in a way that WordPress, Drupal, Sitecore, none of these can do. There's a variety of tips and tricks, and I'll talk about that in a second.

Distribution, like I said different devices, but also multi-domain. These CMSs that are out there do a pretty crappy job of multiple domains. We see it all the time. In fact, we're signing a deal today. It's a company that has three or four different brand names and they want one unique CMS. You can do it with Drupal with some adjustments. You can do it with WordPress, but it's kind of a disaster. This customer now is going to have one management system plugging into four different domains. It's a much better way of going.

We'll get into this in more detail. Front-end flexibility, we're going to talk about that. We're going to talk about lifespan and how long a CMS can live when it's decoupled. I'll give you a hint: It's years, quite a few years. We'll talk about workflow, third party integrations, and all these other things one by one.

So, security. What we're going to do, what we recommend doing is taking your CMS, completely decoupling it, storing it in a different place. It's really a separation of powers. You're keeping it hidden away from where users are consuming. If you think about WordPress, your administrative portal is tied in directly with what's happening on the front-end, therefore the database is exposed to everybody. If somebody breaks in on the front end, they got access to the back end too. Yet it doesn't stop people from getting plugins to do e-commerce. People are doing e-commerce on it too. What we want to do is completely separate these systems and, through a variety of means, the back end will talk to the front end.

Then you could do other tricks as well. You could put it on a server that's only accessed from certain places. That's one way of doing it. You can make it actually publish flat HTML pages. We've had one client who wanted to do that. There's no reason why you can't. Those are all options that are on the table, whereas off the shelf, you're not necessarily going to have it.

Again, in terms of distribution, what we do is we build an API, which is a programming interface, which can populate all these various devices with your content, so it means you have flexibility. And not just devices and not just apps or web, but it could be partners. You have to keep that in mind too. We have a video publishing client who sends their content to various partners. That's a great example of why you need something to be decoupled. And like I mentioned before, multi-domain control. It's a really, it's a great thing that multi domain control, where you have one system that controls all these different domains. Being able to log into one place, give people permission to certain domains, certain pieces of content. It's a very powerful tool.

If you really want to get geeky, I won't go too far, but we've actually seen people take a headless CMS and distribute content from that to a WordPress because they were so stuck with having to use it for a blog.

I've been saying a lot of bad things about WordPress. Let me walk it back a little bit and say for a lot of purposes, it's a great platform; for a small business with just a blog, great platform. It's where people are pushing the envelope and doing things like e-commerce on it where we get a little bit uncomfortable.

Flexible user experiences. I'm going to go backwards to a certain extent. Back-end technology and front-end technology evolve at completely different speeds. This is very important. You have to remember it. The software we're using today on CMSs is the same stuff that we started coding with 15 years ago. They're still PHP, they're still MySQL, Apache, Linux. Is it iteratively better? Yes. But the core of it is very similar. Front-end technology changes almost overnight. Wherein a couple of years ago, we wouldn't even be talking mobile compatibility and responsive wasn't even a word. Today, obviously., that's a major, a major concern.

One of the good things about this is by separating your back-end and your front-end, you could take advantage of the slow iteration of back-end technology and the fast iteration of front-end, which means that all these great technologies that are front-end-centric, you can finally use it and there's no reason why you can't. In saying that, that's why user experiences are so much more flexible because you have access to all these various tools which you may not have had before.

Also, what we have to keep in mind is, you can change your front end whenever these technologies change, or if you want to hop to something new, you could definitely do it and keep the back end chugging along, doing what it's always been doing.

Lifespan. This is a really important one, actually. There you see it. Our goal with the decoupled CMS is five to seven years without a substantial upgrade. I'm going to let that sink in for a second. I'm going to have a sip of my coffee. So just think about that. That's good. Five to seven years, and it's completely realistic. We have our longest standing customer with a decoupled CMS that went live in 2008, so they are eight years. I would love anyone who is on the same install of WordPress for the past seven years, put in a question. I'd love to see it. But that's what we're looking for; decoupled systems should actually last even longer. At this point, if you do it right, it should last longer.

The reason that we have that is because, again, as the front end changes, we're not frustrated to change the back end. You want to redesign the site, that's great. We have the back end already in place. There's no stress, that with an off-the-shelf system, I have to go and do the whole thing over again. There's no technical debt being built as we're doing a front end, that affects the back end. So, a lifespan of five to seven years is completely reasonable and feasible.

Unique workflows. Every business is different, and especially if you're content-driven. Two types of businesses: content-driven business, lead generation businesses. Those are places that really benefit from unique workflows that are built into these systems. You should always mold your system to your workflow, not your workflow to the system. That's just nothing that we would ever recommend. But increasingly, you see it because people don't even know that the option to customize or decouple even exists.

If you do that right, you have to remember you're building an asset. This is something valuable for your business. It will last, like I said, for many years. If someone wants to buy you, if you're going to merge with someone, if you want to go public. We've had these things happen to customers. You have a valuable asset. We had one customer who got bought by a large media organization. I'm not going to say who it was, but you can see the logo in the first slide or second slide. They consider what they have to be a very valuable asset; it’s built around their workflows and the way they do business.

Third-party integrations. Now, it is a lot easier when you have these decoupled custom systems to be able to tie in to other systems you might have to work with. A great example that we see here are legacy platforms. One of the things I'm going to do in the case studies, I'm going to be showing you a furniture company that came to us with this in-house system that I'm pretty sure they winded up every morning—I don't know how it works. But they had to integrate into it for inventory management. We were able to do it and not affect the overall performance of the back end or make anything unstable. Situations like this are a lot easier to accomplish these goals when you have the flexibility that this type of platform provides you with.

Economics, economics of decoupling. I'm not going to lie. When you do a project like this, your upfront costs are little bit higher. It's typically about a third. But the good news is you could realize those savings with the longevity of the system. It's going to last you like for, like I said, a minimum of five to seven years. Predictable ongoing cost. No unexpected upgrades. Obviously, server software, PHP, MySQL—that needs to be updated, but that is going to cost you way less to do than updating a massive platform that you've made all those customizations to. If you can't predict it, it's going to drive you crazy. It's kind of like buying a 100-year-old house. I'm only using that analogy because I own one. You just can't predict what's going to happen and what's going to break. You can do it if you have a system that's set up properly.

Who is this for? Who really should do it? Very important that you consider it. “Does it make sense for me?” If you're managing a company that distributes content to multiple channels, if you have multiple domains, it's a no brainer. There's no reason not to consider it, especially the latter, multiple domains. The open-source platforms—and we work with all of them, with open-source—they do not do a good job with multiple domains. They all say they can do it. To a certain extent, they can try, but we haven't seen someone with a stable open-source platform that lasts for years and has multiple domains. It's just very rare. Again, if you have one, love to see it.

If you are very concerned about security, even if you have an informational site. We had a client who was a security consulting company. Obviously, top-of-mind security, makes a lot of sense. Their solution in the end is actually publishing HTML rendered pages to a server that has no interactivity at all. Definitely something that would make sense.

And again, if you're frustrated by the unpredictable nature of everything that is taken off the shelf, that's a great reason to consider decoupling, decoupling your platform.

Finally, also long-term solution with ownership. That's something that you get with this. You will own it. This is an asset for you. You can, your entire business can be, revolve around what's going on with this system, and you have to...I don't have this as a case study, but we have a car rental company and they do long-term auto rentals. They're based here in northern New Jersey. Their entire business structure is based on the system that we built for them. It used to be Excel files and some other system they had tied together. We were able to make an administrative portal that not just controls the website, but controls the reservations internally as well, controls the customer management, integrates into HubSpot for their marketing portal—all this ties together in one universal place. I'd have to say—and that was only partially decoupled—but that one's probably been live now…I'm trying to think back. It's the year of Sandy. I'm not sure if that was ‘12 or ‘13. I think it was ‘12. If anybody wants to tell me, feel free to tell me.

Okay, so case study one. Let me talk about this. Our publishing client, they produce news videos. Their requirements were relatively complex. They want to publish to multiple channels. Obviously, there's a website, there's a mobile site that's across a variety of different platforms. They have different partners that are distributing content in a paid relationship. They have OTT devices. So it's very important that they had one universal place to be able to edit all this, all this content, and then publish it and distribute it to these channels.

Administrators. It wasn't just about being able to distribute the content. They obviously want to produce it too. What we did was, we created for them a system where they can actually, in real time, see other people editing the content as it's being created. When you think about news videos, there's a cycle that goes into it with research, research and developing of the video. You have the writing. You have the actual production, and then you deploy it and push it out. We created a system so that even down to writing specific script segments, you can see people typing in the script into the content management system. This is a super powerful thing for them given that they have news rooms all around the world at this point, three in the United States, and I believe they have one international as well.

Administrative workflow is highly customized. This is their whole system. This is the asset, so everything had to be completely built around the way that they do business across these multiple locations. The workflow again, you research what a video piece is going to be, you pull together the assets for it, you need a script-editing tool. This thing is even so customized that it outputs the finished script to their teleprompters at the various locations. There's nothing off-the-shelf that can ever do this. They would have to completely overhaul their method of doing business to be able to find maybe one, two, or three systems they can loop together to accomplish the same thing.

The solution: fully decoupled CMS, lives on its own little area that's sort of hidden away. The administrators log in there every single day. They have live editing capabilities. They can watch what other people are doing. They have integrated workflows so that it ties into their video hosting system. They even have an HR tie-in so they can tell when employees are out for the day. And because they are a news organization, a bit part of their strategy, which I think it’s not much of a secret, everyone knows about this: you've got to watch Twitter. You have to see what's trending and then produce content that's going to make sense. These are all things that have been tied in. This is a look at it. This is what the system looks like.

One thing I haven't talked about, going backwards, is that when you have a custom CMS, you have a custom UI option as well, the user interface. You don't have to settle for something that's taken off the shelf. You can build it yourself. For them, it is a matter of finding what sort of look and feel worked for them and then just building it out automatically, which is, I mean, about the best flexibility you can ever get in a CMS.

In this screen, you can see they have all their videos on the left and user information on the right, who's working now, who's out, what Twitter topics are trending. When you go to edit a video, you can see here, we have an area for distribution. We know who's editing it, for how long they've been there. We have tags. We have SEO metadata. We even have Facebook and Twitter posts so that when they publish it, they do it right out of this one platform with the click of a button. We have the writer, anchor, producer categories.

We even have down here—I think it's pretty cool—the mood of the story: Is it lighthearted, neutral, or serious? Because that's going to affect some of the front-end displays, where the story is going to show or how it's going to be sorted or filtered. And if you go a little further down on that screen—and obviously, I'm not doing a live demo, I will tell you how you could do one of those if you're interested—this is where the actual script segments are being edited. If I log in, I can watch and see if there's a producer in DC or Chicago or wherever. I can watch and see as they type what exactly is happening. It's very cool, comprehensive system.

The second example I'm going to show—and I know I'm talking fast. It’s a Jersey thing. I went to a webinar last week; it took an hour. No one has an hour, so I'm trying to do this in 35 minutes or less. I would've said 30 when I started, but...

Case study number two, furniture retailer. These folks have multiple physical locations. I'm going to tell you their name in a second. If you're in the Philadelphia area, would love for you to go.

Multiple locations, which has a variety of challenges in itself, but one of their biggest issues was this in-house inventory system that had to be connected to. Oh, and of course the main feature goal that they wanted was a comprehensive search-and-browse and lookbook capabilities with the possibility for future e-commerce. They weren't 100% sure they wanted to do it, but if they do, they wanted to build the foundation for it.

What we did for them? We built a partially decoupled CMS. In this case, there is a little bit of intermingled functionality between the CMS and the front end, just because it made sense for them to do it that way, so it's mostly decoupled, but a little bit different. What we did that was super important was we integrated into this inventory system. They can go and now know that their inventory will show up from the main system in-house to the website with very little oversight and heavy lifting.

The overall CMS was customized as well. We built tools around the design as opposed to design the site around the tools. I'm going to show you an overview. This is what their system looks like. This is Mealey's Furniture. Again, they're in the Philadelphia area. They have some really nice stuff, really big show rooms. Just to tell you a little bit about these guys.

You know, someone said the other day, and I think it's really fascinating: A website is a preview of what doing business with your company is like. I think that that's something very important to consider when you design your site. Whether you do it yourself or you do it with an agency, you're giving a preview to people of how they're going to be doing business with you later.

This company knew that and they got it and they said, “Come to our store. Don't tell us who you are. Just come in, have a look around.” Once we come in, we're greeted by somebody who sort of pointed us in the direction of the things we were interested in. They do a really a great job of it. Hopefully, when we built the front end website, we were able to carry that over as well. Again, if you're in Philly, check it out. They have really nice stuff.

But back to the topic. This is the administrative portal. This is a sort of stock UI that a lot of our customers have. It's a fully mobile, responsive management system. What we do is we have buckets. The buckets really are based on what's going on on the front end. Our process at the NP Group is we sit down with you, we identify content areas, we custom design every page iteratively. We're going to have approvals that we're going to send back for revisions. Then we're going to take those pages that we've built and figure out, “Okay, what do the tools look like that control it?”

In the case of this particular company, it involved obviously simple tools like homepage controls, template pages, and things like that, but also particular departments, products, locations, weekly ads, and there are actually more tools that got cropped out at the bottom. This is what a product management section looks like. You can tell it just lists the products, it has the SKU, tells us a little bit about the status. You can filter. You can search. You can import products manually by clicking on the button.

The philosophy behind content management has to be simple. It has to be that these systems add, edit, and delete content. There's organization as well, but it really comes down to add, edit, and delete. So how do you make that as easy as possible for people so that they're not overwhelmed? I feel that a lot of these systems out there, some are worse than others. I feel this way about Drupal, for example. When you get non-technical people into it, there's just so many options, there's so much going on there. WordPress too, as you extend it. There's so many options in the CMS that when we go to train people to use them, they're like, they don't even know where to begin, they're just completely overwhelmed.

Our goal, again, in these systems, if you look at it, it's simple. The tools make sense. They know what they do. They add, edit, they delete stuff, and try to do it as simply as possible. When you go into the tool, this is it. It has defined, certain defined fields specific to them. It might be a price, a sale price. It might have the dimensions and other information and then a little description. Anybody can do it. Anybody can change this content.

This is what a simple page editor looks like. Again, we don't over-complicate. The ability to use this WYSIWYG platform to be able to change content. You have the ability, in this case, because they have an image at the head of every page, to change that image, to change the title. We have meta data on the bottom. They have the ability, if they make a mistake, to revert backwards. Again, simplicity. How can you make it as easy as possible for non-technical people while accomplishing complex goals?

If anyone wants a live demo, I throw this out there, happy to do it for you. All you have to do is call me. This is me in Greece. I'm on vacation. I take phone calls everywhere. Don't hesitate to reach out. Contact information is obviously on our website. I would love to have the opportunity, get on a screen share and show you specifically how these tools behave in real time. It's a lot more powerful than just screenshots. But that's up to you, if you want to do it.

So, if anyone has any questions, now is the time. On the right panel, there of the GoToWebinar, type something in. I see I have two. If anyone has one, now is the time.

I do have two questions actually. Oh, this is going to be a good one. Brenda: “Why is WordPress so popular?” I have to be nice as I answer this. I think it did start as a good platform. It did a lot of things well. I think over time, it started to just grow and explode that it became what people know. I think that, like I said, 70,000 agencies—I think when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. That's why, right now, for almost any project that you're going to go to an agency with, you're probably going to hear WordPress is the answer. I think it just scaled to become something that became ubiquitous and everybody learned.

Again, it's good for certain things, good for small business. It's definitely good for blogging. Would I run e-commerce on it? Not really sure I'd be the first to recommend it because of all the problems that we spoke about. That's something that you'd have to consider. If someone recommends that, you have to ask them, what are their thoughts about security, what are some enterprise level people doing it? You have to consider all those things.

Tim: “What tech stack do you use or prefer?” I love it. I'm going to get all geeky. I mentioned LAMP, Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP—been doing this since 2001. We love the open-source solutions. Lately, we've been shifting away from MySQL. There's a great platform out there called MongoDB. The performance that we see as sites scale is impressive. It's also easier to replicate and load balance later. If someone comes to us today and they say, “This is something I can grow to millions and millions of unique visitors and page views on a daily basis,” I'm probably going to go and talk a little bit about Mongo and why we should do that.

The final one, Tracy. I like this. “It appears you have come full circle from building CMS solutions to open-source solutions to expedite development, back to custom CMS.” Yeah, you know what? It sort of is that way. I’d like to point out, I've been doing the custom stuff all long, just been doing that for a while. But you're absolutely right. It does feel that way. I've been through it already. I've said all the reasons why we feel this way. When you hire an agency and you bring in somebody like me, you're really bringing in a CTO for hire for the length of the project. We have to make a recommendation about what's best for your company, what's the best long-term investment, where you can see the best bang for the buck, what's going to control your ongoing costs, and then all those other concerns that we talked about.

Again, we do do WordPress work. We have actually. We just signed a deal where we're doing a base WordPress install to be carried across to some sub-organizations. We do do it, but it's our responsibility to say that there is a better way. Like I said before, is it right for you? You have to look at that list and consider: is it right to build something that will last for a very long time? Five to seven years, that's what we shoot for.

I will give 10 more seconds for any other questions. Any other questions.

Headless WordPress! Tracy, you're back. Why would you want to make WordPress decoupled or headless? What's the point of doing it? You still have all the same problems. You still have the updates. You still have the upgrades. Let's put this in perspective. You go and you take WordPress and you decouple it. It's talking to god knows what using an API and then all the sudden, there's a massive update. Your plugin doesn't work anymore, you've hit the button, and now everything that's connected to it is broken. I mean, that kind of sucks.

Yeah, I heard about this, everyone's talking about it, headless WordPress. I think it's another one of those situations... She says point taken. Yeah, it's another one of those situations where, again—hammer, nail. All you have is hammer, everything is a nail, so I wouldn't recommend doing it. If you don't want to go custom, but you do want to go headless, there are some other platforms out there that are CMS systems that are hosted. I think Contentful has one. I mean, they will never be as customized for you as some of the stuff we're talking about here today, but you could definitely look at that as well. But please don't make WordPress headless. That would be, that'd be terrible. That'd be like taking a pizza and putting something horrible on it like anchovies. That's a reference to my wife if she ever watches us.

Any more? Five more seconds for questions. Hearing none. I'm going to let everybody go. Real quick before everyone goes, additional resources. Take a look at our blog. We do new posts maybe two or three times a week. Lots of stuff there. We have a video section. Actually, just put it live today. Been working on for a while. There's a great video that talks about custom CMS solutions. There's some other ones, talk a little bit about what we do. If you are undertaking a project like this, watch the discovery video. It talks about how important it is to just sit down with whoever is going to be helping you and getting to the bottom of what a specification looks like, having a relationship with an agency just to figure out what to do as opposed to signing a huge deal with somebody. That is something that we're a big proponent of, so check that video out. I think there's another one up there too. I forget what it is. But we're going to be producing more and more video as time goes on.

Also, don't forget, we have a ton of e-books. Everything I talked about today is in the e-book called The CMS Of The Future, which is what we've talked about. Download it. Take a look at it. I get into a lot more detail about some of these topics so definitely have a look at that. If you ever do need to reach out to us, this is our information. We're located in the Garden State—which is New Jersey, for those who don't know. We are about 15 miles out of Manhattan. Anyone who's familiar with the area, we're right past Giant Stadium, we’re close to Montclair State University, home of the Red Hawks.

If you want to reach out to us, go there. Again, my email is my last name, C-Z-E-C-H, Czech like the country, @npgroup.net. That's it. Thanks a lot for joining us. I hope to hear from you. This will be available as a video. If you want to share it, we're going to put it live at some point in the next 24 hours. Everybody have a great day. Thanks.

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