Sweater weather is well under way but the latest Sitefinity release is still running hot. Here’s the rundown of the standout new features that make a difference in the typical life of a marketer working with Sitefinity 12+.
It’s been quite the ride with Progress Sitefinity for the past few releases. A host of new features have been introduced, as well as major improvements in security, productivity, performance optimization and infrastructure to help developers create better applications even more efficiently. These alone are enough reasons to upgrade. However, if you are a content creator and marketer as I am, what’s in it for you? After all, it’s your user experience that should matter, and, ultimately, your day-to-day productivity.
Read on to get the full scoop of what’s new, what’s different, and what you should take into account with the latest Sitefinity release. Understand the benefits of upgrading, learn about new capabilities and advantages you don’t want to miss and that can make your life as a marketer and content creator easier and more productive.
When it comes to web content creation and management, Sitefinity gives you a new level of independence and efficiency. As a marketer using Sitefinity largely for content creation and governance, I for one highly appreciate the simplicity, contextual toolsets, and clean design that makes it so much easier to streamline daily tasks and workflows. What I also love about the latest release is that you can go on and customize the backend experience, so that it feels more like it is yours—this includes both your own user preferences and accessibility settings.
Let’s start off with my preferred Sitefinity novelty—the new content editing experience. For me, this is the most relevant and prominent change since I use the new What You See Is What You Get content editor on a daily basis. Creating any type of content is much easier and straightforward and definitely more user-friendly. Apart from the delightful details in the interface itself, I find using the dedicated toolsets and content organization and enrichment options such a time-saver. You can add media, related content, classifications, and whatnot with a click right when you need it.
When not working with one of the predefined content modules, say News, the content block gives you quite the flexibility when it comes to generic content creation to share around your website. Having the content block revamped with the same sleek and user-friendly design as the content editor helped me enjoy a unified experience, and kept me focused on the content without jumping back and forth between interfaces. Plus, being a power user, I do appreciate the editor’s capabilities for code validation, syntax highlighting and autocomplete.
Most of the time, you just need to create your page and move on, as opposed to having to wonder how to configure every single property even before you add a single widget on your page. Page creation and management UI now follows the nice and simple design patterns of the new content interface. This means the number of properties needed to create a page are minimized and you can always go back and do any necessary property modifications. I am probably not the only person who had issues with page reordering and accidental changing of page positions. That is why Sitefinity 12+ introduced fool-proof page reordering. On top of that, it is much easier to navigate through the pages and the page lists and add filters to find exactly what you need.
A media item is worth more than a thousand words. Accordingly, to engage your audiences for longer, do flavor up your content with links, images, embedded videos, media or social content. Alongside the contextual toolsets and including related media or data on the go, you can now select the content sources, from which to add media items, in a bid to diversify and mix your media provider options within one content item. Made a mistake? You can always revert to a previous version of pages, including media items such as images, when necessary.
Working with content-heavy websites and within large international teams is no walk in the park. You need to boost productivity, streamline team collaboration and content development processes with simple, well-designed, and easy-to-use tools. As of Sitefinity 12+, your team can use a 3-level deep review and approval workflow for specific sets of pages or content types, tied to a specific site or language. This way, you have the flexibility to structure collaboration within the team for review, approval, and publishing. As an author, I can add a summary note when submitting for review and conversely get a note form the editor and get a notification for that.
When addressing different audiences across the globe, it is vital that your multilingual content editing process is not impeded, and you don’t risk content getting locked for good. Concurrent editing of multilingual content enables editor teams to modify and work on translations of the same content simultaneously, without losing traction and missing deadlines.
The next improvement changed the game for our team and we no longer experience bottlenecks for publishing small changes to content. I can now sync one content item or page at a time but still follow our approval workflow. This means promoting changes and controlling what is synced has never been faster, easier and much more reliable. On top of that, I can choose which site to publish the updates to and view the results straight away. Our marketing and content team finds it real handy promoting content to our live website without relying on IT and without compromising security and website integrity. But believe me, the IT team is no less happy about it.
Forget about complexity, dependence on IT, and lack of control. The latest Sitefinity release opens the door to so many opportunities for you as a marketing practitioner to get creative with campaign pages and forms, increasing conversions and engagement across channels and touchpoints, and improving on marketing KPIs, both on premise and in the Cloud.
Rarely do we focus on the post-submit experience, thus missing out on making the most of our email communication, both with prospects and peers. Customizing your confirmation emails and notifications with the Sitefinity visual email template editor is now a breeze. Then use the new rich text editor to tailor emails to context in form responses and create and edit email templates to insert dynamic data and increase engagement and open rate.
You want to make an impact with our content? Well, first you need to bring more quality traffic to your site by following the SEO best practices. With Sitefinity and its built-in controls, it’s as easy as modifying dedicated SEO fields and social media attributes. You can drastically improve your positioning in search engines results by adding SEO-friendly page titles, URLs, and meta descriptions, plus deliver improved speed and engagement in mobile experiences with Accelerated Mobile Pages. And, for customized sharing per social network, you simply modify the OpenGraph attributes and tailor your messaging for the right social network.
Creating forms in Sitefinity is a matter of minutes with the intuitive drag and drop form builder, be it simple or multipage forms. You do not need to be a developer whiz to build efficient forms with the user-friendly interface and set up a flow that best suits the form’s purpose. Setting form rules is just as easy. You can conditionally show and hide specific fields and thus expand or narrow down the scope of customer information you need to collect. You can redirect your visitors to specific pages, based on information they entered in the form, making the user experience more personal and engaging.
Collecting prospects’ data is one thing but then how do you utilize it to capture leads, integrate with tools, and share data across platforms to truly affect the user experience? Sitefinity and DEC do the magic for you. In addition to tracking user behavior, DEC also enables integration with marketing automation systems and CRMs. You can merge data from Eloqua, Salesforce, HubSpot, and Marketo and build true 360-degree contact profiles in DEC and further provide personalized content based on them. Do it the other way around and push leads to CRMs and marketing automation systems. Simply find and export your lead contacts by key attributes, dates and specific interactions. We just noted how easy it is to create landing page forms with Sitefinity—well, now you can use submitted form data to capture lead data by mapping the form fields to DEC.
As a marketer, you now have even more flexibility in identifying valuable segments and audiences with ease by finetuning or retroactively recalculating persona scoring rules, thus segmenting your audience more precisely. Your perfect personas can have an array of characteristics, ranging from a contact property you captured in an Eloqua form or a key interaction you spotted analyzing the new and detailed contacts’ customer journey timeline.
The enhanced and lead-focused conversion reports with a number of brand-new metrics and summaries with distinct visitor and lead statistics help you understand your audience even more. Apart from making data-driven decisions based on reports, and trends, you can narrow down data collection to just the audience that you care about. With Sitefinity 12+, you can exclude internal traffic from diluting your performance metrics but still experiment with your personalization tactics or audience segmentation strategy while creating your content. Don't forget to test your hypotheses with easy-to-setup A/B tests to optimize the visitor experience and drive growth.
It goes without saying that better tools and consistency in the UI make your day more productive. As a content manager, you already understand the importance of workflows, granular permissions, built-in content governance with, previews and drafts. Sitefinity 12+ comes with all of these, plus more. Sitefinity is designed to help you handle key marketing day-to-day tasks, improve the user experience and positively impact conversions.
These may be small gains viewed in isolation, but as they build upon each other with every new release, they can be the real driver of growth—and plenty of it—in the long run.
Let us know if you have any questions or comments below and give the latest Sitefinity a try yourself.
Petra Lazarova was part of the Sitefinity Product Marketing team.
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