After a few years of developing sites using the Kentico CMS platform, I thought I would share some of the points/features that appeal to me the most. Here are just a few of the many reasons I believe Kentico is one of the best CMS products available today.
For a feature-rich, scalable CMS with great development support, it's hard to beat Kentico CMS. You may find one with more features, but you'll definitely pay more than even the most expensive license available from Kentico.
The best designed site doesn’t mean much if your company can’t use it. Kentico CMS is out of the box one of the easiest CMS systems to use. Anyone who has ever used the Internet has all the skill needed to add and update pages, add dynamic content, and create stunning, feature-rich websites. Kentico’s administration system comes with plenty of tips and descriptions to guide users through nearly every process. Additionally, Kentico provides step-by-step guides and tutorials directly on their site along with videos, blogs, and forums. Allowing users to quickly make edits and update the system enables a company to operate more efficiently and effectively.
The Kentico Administration site is comprised of two sections. The CMS Site Manager (which is used for site configuration and development) and the CMS Desk (which is used to update content and data). The CMS Desk is completely customizable to allow administrators the ability to customize every user's experience. Website "Editors" can be set-up to only access the content they need through the "content" section. Website "Managers" can quickly get to documents awaiting their approval through the "My Desk" feature. This type of customization minimizes security risks and allows users to promptly update only the content for which they are responsible. Less administration means more time updating content and less wasted hours for configuration.
One of the challenges of updating content on a site is the repeated effort to migrate changes from one platform to the next. Often companies will have different enviroments for their staging (QA) content and their production (live) content. With Kentico, publishing data from one enviroment to the next is accomplished easily through the use of "content staging". With a few clicks, a user can migrate content between the systems and quickly synchronize all enviroments. With the use of the "Scheduled Tasks" feature, this process can even be accomplished on a daily or hourly basis to increase productivity even further. This minimizes administrative time and easily allows a company to define a concise process for updates and deployments.
Workflows in Kentico allow content to be moved through a set of pre-defined steps. These steps are easily created and configured in the Kentico system and can be quickly applied to any or all content. An editor can make changes to a page, and then submit it for approval. The approving manager gets notified automatically by the Kentico system of the change. The managers can then view the edits, submit them back to the editor for correction, publish the changes, or even edit the edited content. Workflows can also be configured to have several steps that must be completed before content is published to the site.
Smart Search in Kentico is a Lucene-based search functionality that quickly analyzes and locates content. Through the use of this module, defined content is indexed and stored in the system to allow searches to be completed much quicker than traditional database-based methods. Search results can be customized to only return relevant content and images. The Kentico system constantly updates the search results as new website content changes to keep the results accurate.
Kentico is one of the most feature-rich CMS systems on the market today. Off the shelf, the Kentico CMS system allows for eCommerce, blogging, forums, messaging, and a number of other critical functions. With the Ultimate license, companies have full access to every feature and can quickly add new functionality to their sites. Many other CMS systems require a series of add-ons to obtain the functionality readily available in Kentico. Even if a company decides to add modules later on, a simple update of the license and the features are unlocked. Having such a wide range of features allows a company to focus on their business, not piecing together functionality.
One of the most frustrating parts of third party components is the lack of support. Some companies may have a phone number to call if you need assistance and many more only provide support through email. Kentico offers a number of methods for support, including forums, blogs, email, support tickets, and of course by phone. Their support department is always eager and willing to assist with any issue and will work with clients until the issue is resolved. The devnet.kentico.com website is loaded with KB articles, blogs, FAQs, and forums to help users find answers quickly.
Kentico provides step-by-step guides for every product update. Their installation packages are professionally written and provide a solid, concise process for applying the updated content. Any special requirements are clearly defined and easy to follow. Updates come complete with documentation and files targeted at a number of enviroments (.NET 2.0,3.5,etc.) so that all clients can benefit from their improvements. The installation packages allow site administrators to quickly update Kentico sites and add enhancements and new functionality.
Kentico is constantly gaining market share and quickly becoming a premier CMS software company. As more companies adopt their product, Kentico hasn't loss sight of the companies that have trusted in their product. Kentico constantly communicates upcoming changes with their clients and values their input. Kentico listens to its partners and strives to deliver a product that meets their needs. For the training program, Kentico reached out to several of their "Gold" level partners to create the training material and guidelines. This type of customer involvement demonstrates Kentico's commitment to their clients and their success.
As each day passes, new technologies and functionality are being created. The folks at Kentico embrace these changes and are constantly incorporating them into their product. They test their code using the latest development enviroments and servers (Visual Studio 2010/Window Server 2008) to ensure compliance. Kentico integrates a number of third party components (CKEditor, Lucene, AJAX, etc.) and utilizes the latest source code that is available. All of these efforts allow Kentico to deliver the latest technologies and functionality that drive dynamic, interactive websites.
Director of Magic
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This year at the Kentico 404 Conference I was invited to participate in the live recording of the CMS-Connected Show. This is my recap.
This post covers the scenario and its configuration in Kentico; the next post covers results from a sample campaign.
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