Sitecore, Drupal, WordPress, Umbraco—the website platform scene is rich with options. 

Over the years, S4 built and managed websites on many platforms, and along the way a clear standout platform emerged: Umbraco. 

At its core, we create websites to be a digital tool for a business to communicate with their prospects and customers in a way that encourages those people to take actions that benefit the business’s bottom line.

And when it comes down to it, no other system is as effective at accomplishing that core task as Umbraco. That’s because it allows for a thoughtful organization and automation of content, has a robust support community to guide the development process, all while integrating easily with Microsoft products and being easy to use for marketers and business leaders.

Thoughtful Organization  

In the early stages of designing a website, our development team meets with a client to understand their website requirements and learn about the users and their specific needs. 

Every project is different and flexibility is needed to deliver on these specific needs, often casually referred to as requirements. Most elegant solutions to those requirements include the use of data structures. 

Data structures provide a more robust data entry and display system than just a simple text field or media field that can be populated and then that information displayed on just a single web page. 

This custom data formatting and organization allows developers to create website functionality like photo galleries, ecommerce listings and interactive elements that can be edited via one source of truth, rather than relying on someone to remember all of the places a particular piece of information is mentioned on the site. 

Take for instance a headshot of a team member. In a less sophisticated CMS, if a team member’s headshot appeared on four pages of the site, and that team member needed to be removed from the site, it would need to be removed from all four pages separately and one at a time. 

As you can imagine, this can lead to a tremendous amount of overhead for changes and a tremendous amount of risk of not editing all the pages that need to be edited (since a human has to remember where it is.)  And no one wants that. 

With data structures used correctly, you can edit one field that serves as a source of truth, and have it reflect in all the appropriate places on your site

Open Source Means a Collaborative Community

Web development is ever changing. In the past year, there have been 7 major releases to the Chrome web browser. And that’s just one browser and one year. 

Adapting quickly to ensure sites stay modern and functional is a team effort. And building on an open source platform allows collaboration and information sharing for developers across not just an internal team, but a vast network of developers across the globe.

The term open source is something that gets thrown around a lot, often at the extreme ends. Open source software means the source code (or code base) is freely accessed, used, changed, and shared and is available without cost.  

When coupled with Umbraco’s 220,000 active members, that means that best practices can emerge, documentation to roadblocks and snags can provide time-saving solutions, and common pitfalls can be avoided. 

Compatibility and Integration with Microsoft 

Websites are rarely the only digital tool a business is using. At Station Four, the majority of our client-base uses Microsoft platforms and programs. 

Since Umbraco is built on ASP.NET, also a Microsoft product, it’s a no brainer that we use Umbraco as our content management system to build and develop websites. 

In general, ASP.NET web applications are favored by developers because they are flexible, reliable and easy to maintain. For clients using in-house business tools from Microsoft, Umbraco’s Microsoft heritage makes integrations easier, more affordable and longer lasting. 

Ease of Use for Content Managers 

You shouldn’t need to be a developer to use your website as a marketing tool.  

Our job as website developers is to ensure we create something beautiful that allows content managers and marketers to easily update their content and website freely.  

During the development phase, we work with our clients each step of the way to build and tailor the features needed for their specific marketing needs. This will allow the user interface where marketers login to make content updates, clean, and easy to master. 

Some content management systems are messy and filled with unnecessary components that can cause confusion for users. No one wins in that situation. We like Umbraco because it has the sitemap, page structure and only necessary components shown upon logging in, making content updates easier for our users. 

With little training, marketers using Umbraco are able to edit, publish and delete pages, build customized pages and preview content and mobile responsiveness. 

Hands Down Our Recommended CMS is Umbraco

With Umbraco’s user friendly and flexible interface for both developers and content managers, we will continue to build and create beautiful websites on Umbraco for our clients. 

Having built hundreds of websites, Station Four prides itself on using only the most innovative and intuitive technologies. And as a business ourselves, we understand a website is an investment, and know that Umbraco is the best investment our clients can make when it comes to a CMS. 

Chris Lahey Chris Lahey

Co-founder and Development Partner at Station Four

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