In this blog post, Dan Flanigan, VP of Products uncovers our LiveFirst methodology.

Our LiveFirst Methodology Explained

Tue Jun 18, 2013

As I mentioned in yesterday's blog post, content migration has always been one of the most painful aspects of implementing a new website or WCM. But the larger barrier that we've seen in speaking to marketing professionals is just the fact that to move to a new CMS means starting over. Even if there are things you are happy with in your current website, such as your calls to action, or things that you’d prefer to leave alone, such as your old press releases, changing CMSes means needing to handle these as part of a new WCM implementation. 

We are breaking this cycle.

We obsessed over the idea of how can we minimize the time and effort needed to migrate a site and go live. From this grew not only a technology but a methodology that we called LiveFirst. This methodology called for us to redefine what it means to "go live." Where in the past going live meant building out all your templates, your designs, you workflows, moving all of your content, etc before you could publish, the new definition of go live was simply "get everything managed within a CMS and publish". In other words, you can go live first, and from there you can use the CMS as the tool to help you redesign, fix what is broken with your website, and add new content as needed.

The first step to making this happen was bringing in an existing site without a loss of fidelity.  Unlike scripting tools like Kapow, this isn't just about migrating content. This included all aspects of the design including CSS, javascript files, background images, etc.  Our objective was to pull your whole site in and be able to publish such that the transition would be absolutely seamless to a website visitor. 

Once in our CMS, you can immediately start prioritizing what you want to do to improve your website. Below are some simple examples:

Rebranding

Let’s say your first objective is a re-branding effort. You want to change the look and feel of the site to use a new color palette, a new logo, new fonts, etc. Once your site is in Percussion, you can update the CSS to the new palette, change fonts, and upload and replace the logo. You can immediately see the new look and feel and QA for any unexpected negative impacts of the design. 

Adding Dynamic Content

If your organization is frequently adding new PDFs and Docs to your site, and maintaining the index of those document has been a painful, manual effort, you can replace that page with a dynamic auto-list of files such that as soon as new files are uploaded the index displays them automatically.

Adding Calls-to-Action

You spend a lot of time and effort with SEO to drive people to your site, but you aren’t capturing leads. You decide to add a “Demo Registration” form to each product page to make sure that traffic is converting to leads. You can create a product page template using an existing page as a model, and add a form to capture leads to that template. You can then drag and drop the existing products page to that template and they’ll be automatically updated with the new form.

Updating Information Architecture

You’ve built up lots of content over time and the site needs to be reorganized. Using Percussion, you can create your new information architecture and navigation and easily drag and drop pages to the new structure. All links are managed automatically so you don’t have to worry about broken links. If you decide to remove pages, links to that content are removed as well. 

New Design

You've decided to go in for the full project, hiring a design firm to upgrade the website design and IA. Lots of old content is going to get pitched and other content is going to need drastic modification to fit to the new design. The same tools that allow you to import your old website also allow you to import your design from your design firm and use it to model templates. To minimize the confusion in maintaining content in the current site and the new design, shared assets can be established so that content is updated once and replicated in both sites. Content can be merged from one design to another using some simple naming rules.  Instead of being a barrier to redesign, Percussion helps facilitate the effort.

None of these projects call for you to do work that isn't critical to your marketing objectives. For example, if no one is ever going to edit old Press Releases, you can simply leave them alone and they will continue to work. You can add a new Press Releases template for any new content you want to add in the future, but don’t have to worry about the busywork of modifying old pages.