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Episode 2 – WordPress as CMS

Video Transcript

Rokture Ramblings – Episode 2 – WordPress as a CMS

Hello everyone, and welcome to Rokture Ramblings, where I discuss topics around digital marketing, marketing technology, and also marketing operations for the financial services industry. My name is Fernando Pena, and I’m the founder of Rokture, where I provide services to help you master the digital channel. And so today’s topic is one around what type of platform you should use in order to be able to host your website. I know that there’s a number of solutions that are out there, but I have a certain opinion, especially for smaller institutions, that you may be able to use tools that are pretty much off the shelf and don’t cost a significant amount of money and take up all your budget or all of your resources in setting up. And so that platform is called WordPress and you’ve probably heard of it and I’m going to explain why I think it’s the right platform to use as a content management system for your financial institution. So what we’re going to be going over today is the definition

of a CMS. What does your institution, why do you need a CMS in terms of financial services? Why WordPress? What those concerns around WordPress might be? And when to upgrade to an enterprise platform? And the reason that I came up with this topic is that oftentimes you have a smaller institution that is being courted by these vendors that provide these enterprise -wide solutions that are very expensive, a lot more capability than you actually might need, and also just require a tremendous amount of upkeep and support and you end up exhausting all of your resources and draining your budget on this platform when you can really look at something else that is a lot more easily managed within your institution and provides the same capability and functionality that you might need. So let’s start off on what is a CMS. For those of you that don’t know, I’m using that acronym, and basically it stands for a content management system. And so you see the picture that I have here on the presentation

where it shows a library. And that’s essentially what it is. It’s a database, but there’s a front end on it that allows you to very easily categorize and classify content. And so this platform is what your public facing website is built on. This is an important distinction because that doesn’t mean that this is what you’re going to run online banking on. Those platforms are very specialized, highly regulated, and very secure. And so this is something that would just provide the sort of front end where you provide information on products services promotional offers and even blog entries and and so there won’t be any sort of logging into this system and that’s why I’m Really a proponent of using this system For an online bank website just because of the fact that you don’t need those sophisticated capabilities that’s all being done within the sort of online banking platform and we’ll get into that a little later in a different video as that’s outside of the scope of what we’re going to discuss

here in this one. So the advantages of this is that these systems really provide you to create a template system that allows for easily publishing content and content could be text that could be video PDFs any other files that you want to go ahead and display or share with your users. And this database that it runs on is it provides the sophistication and the ability to create search routines, categorize content, and also easily organize all your assets. Now, if your content is just a collection of pages, it may not be that big of a deal. But if you have a large number of different assets that you’re sharing with customers, then it might be in your best interest to move to a content management system that allows you to categorize and classify all these assets that you have.

Now, do you need a CMS? And my short answer is yes. And the reason why is that a CMS, if you look at this picture here, it’s sort of like an assembly line. So right now, if you think about, let’s say, a custom car being created or anything that’s custom and bespoke instead of off the shelf, every single component is created for that specific purpose. So instead of just assembling something on an assembly line like a CMS would do, when you’re creating something and not using a CMS, instead you’re creating individual pages that are very static. Now, there are developers that can create pages that resemble a CMS, but I think it overly complicates the whole scenario and situation unnecessarily. So the CMS, what it does is that it allows you to run the website from a business perspective and not require continual IT assistance and custom development once the initial setup is complete. So yes, in the beginning, you will have to create whatever integrations are necessary. You’ll have to also create

the right layout and design and all the templates that are going to be used throughout the life of this platform. But after that’s done, for the most part, you can manage this as part of the marketing operations team and run this, even from a business perspective, it’s really easy, it’s almost as easy as using, let’s say, MS Word or PowerPoint, to publish content and put it out there. And of course, there’s checks and balances, there’s different assignments or responsibilities that can be placed if that’s something that’s necessary. But it does create the ability to productionalize the publishing of new content on the website without having to hire a programmer or to do something every time a change is needed. The other thing is that these platforms have access to thousands, if not maybe even tens of thousands, of pre-built applications, features, and functionality to expand those digital capabilities. So in the beginning, you may not necessarily need a lot of them, but as you grow in

sophistication and your online journey, you’ll find that there’s a lot more that can be offered from a digital perspective. and these platforms allow you to just add a plugin, almost like an app for your smartphone into these platforms, very easily adopted and deployed, and then instantly you have that functionality available to you.

Now, why WordPress? So this is something where, again, it may generate a little bit of controversy because vendors are often pushing very expensive solutions and also looking to provide a platform that I think is way past what most smaller institutions need in terms of capabilities and functionality. So number one, WordPress is the most popular platform for all websites. So nearly 43 % of all websites on the entire planet are using this platform. So it’s proven, it’s robust, it’s sophisticated enough. Now, granted, a lot of those websites are probably sharing pictures of cats or travel blogs, etc. But aside from the fun, there is a lot of serious business capabilities that are available within WordPress, and that’s one of the reasons that I’m such a huge proponent of it. As I mentioned before, there is access to a very robust library of plugins that can expand functionality. So out -of -the -box WordPress is sort of plain, but you can add templates on top of it. You can add different features

and sort of functions that might be unique to your use case. But in many cases, aside from just the design and the templating, that’s often sufficient enough for most bank and credit union websites. The third thing is that there’s a huge development and support community. So since so many other users or operators are running this platform Then there’s just a multitude of developers and they’re also reasonably priced so instead of looking for a developer that is for a specific platform that might be Have have a lot of presence within the industry But not necessarily worldwide in terms of just a vast and sheer number of users that exist on WordPress That’s a much more expensive resource. But on the other hand you have this this community that has been around for many years and has just grown to a point where you can find a WordPress expert just about anywhere. The last point, and this might scare some chief information security officers, but it’s that it’s an open -source system. So there’s

pros and cons to this, and one of the pros is that since this code is out there and open to everyone, then there’s the ability to really try to address any sort of security intrusions or any sort of potential hacks before they happen. So WordPress is being continually updated, and as a result of that, it is a pretty secure platform. And I know that, again, some of you may disagree with this assessment, but the fact is that it’s very hardened and tested, and oftentimes if a security intrusion, a potential security intrusion is discovered, it’s addressed pretty quickly and remediated before it becomes a real problem.

So what are the WordPress concerns? So I just touched upon this first one, and that’s that some CISOs might be concerned about the fact that it’s open source. And I would argue that at one point, the cloud was also pretty much off limits for most financial institutions. And now we’re finding that the cloud is actually where a lot of the software -based solutions are based. And so that is is something where open source pretty much sits on the same scale in my opinion. Now keep in mind that this is just for public facing website. So there’s not going to be any customer data stored in a database. Essentially what the users are doing is they’re logging in, they’re viewing content, and then if they need to log in to the, and when I say logging in I mean they’re they’re just accessing your site, but if they need to physically log in with an ID, then that’s where your online banking software takes over. So this is just a collection of pages or content and there’s really very little security concern

aside from somebody hacking into the site and modifying the content and that’s something that just doesn’t happen very often as long as you have hardened your platform in terms of the right kinds of passwords and you can also limit IP access and take all those measures that are necessary to make sure that people that are bad actors aren’t logging into your site. It does require partnering with a reputable hosting company. So one of the things that these enterprise platforms do is that they essentially take care of all this for you if you choose the cloud -based solution. If you have an on -prem solution, that means that the server is on your premise, then of course you throw that out of the window. But most of the solutions now are cloud -based. And you’re able to host WordPress in the cloud. But oftentimes, it’s easier just to host it on a server that is rented from a server warehouse or server provider. And there’s hundreds, or if not thousands, of those. And many of them are the same

big names that offer cloud services as well. The third thing is that plugins, I mentioned earlier, they’re vast and everywhere. It’s just like apps. where not all apps that are on your smartphone are good apps. And by that, it means that there are some that aren’t well built. So they are, they potentially crash your device, or maybe they are even not observing privacy standards. Now in banking, and of course, financial services in general, that is something that is really important to observe is data security. So plugins should be vetted before putting them into a production environment. And I would argue that that’s something that needs to be observed regardless of whether it’s WordPress or any other system, but you do want to be extra careful just because anybody can publish an app or a plugin that goes into WordPress. The last point is that it does require a separate support structure. So you’re not buying this from a company, although there are companies that do offer this as sort of

a service where they deploy this WordPress website for you, they support and maintain it, and you pay them a recurring monthly fee in in order to provide that support. So that’s certainly an option, but if we’re looking at maximizing your budget, then the easier way is to just hire a sort of third party external support or make use of your own internal resources to do that. It’s not a very complicated system to maintain, especially if you’re only adding content on a sort of infrequent basis. And even if you are adding content frequently, if you’re not adding a lot of new plugins or making changes to the templates, then pretty much it’ll run indefinitely. There’s not a huge concern there. I’ve used it for many years on some of my personal and business sites, and I haven’t had any significant concerns or cause for worry. So, and again, with this huge community that’s out there, there’s support everywhere. So it could be a commercial support, or it could be the actual WordPress support that

is providing you with the answers that you might need.

Now, when should you upgrade or when should you leave WordPress? And I would say that for the most part, for most smaller financial institutions, you probably would never have to, honestly. I think it’s robust enough and has as many capabilities that are needed in order to run the business indefinitely. But I would say that once you start to exceed server limits, and by that, keep in mind that you can upgrade a server. So you can move WordPress from one server that’s not powerful enough to another, and pretty much you’ll be able to continue supporting, excuse me, you’ll be able to continue supporting your users regardless of the amount of traffic that comes in. But there may be instances where you just exceed the capabilities, and in that case, then it’s probably worth looking at an enterprise -based platform. Now keep in mind that this would be a significant amount of traffic, and with that a lot of it probably multimedia based. So if you’re just pushing text and PDFs and other content

like that, it’s unlikely you’re ever going to find the limits of WordPress if your server is sufficient enough. The next thing where WordPress may fall a little short is collaboration across multiple locations. It certainly is capable of doing so, but it’s not really designed for that. It’s really designed for a single sort of location or a single administrator going in and managing it. You can have multiple contributors. So that certainly is something that is a possibility. But if you have multiple locations and you need sort of collaboration across the board, this may not necessarily be the best tool. So in that case, then you may want to consider something more sophisticated. The next one is integrations that require continual maintenance and development. So WordPress does have integrations with most of the popular programs that are out there. and there’s always new ones being developed, of course. But if you have something internal that is sort of an oddity and there’s not a standard

integration for it, then this may not necessarily be the platform for it. There are some enterprise platforms outside of CMS systems that integrate nicely with their own type of designer or author. And in that case, then it might be in your best interest to move to them. but WordPress certainly would be capable of integrating with them, but it may not necessarily be the most seamless integration. And then the last one here is if there’s any regulatory concerns requiring the elimination of open source platforms. Now, I think this is probably not as much of a concern within a publicly facing site that doesn’t have credentials or security attached to it. Again, all you’re doing is that you’re just providing content and it doesn’t require any sort of data being captured from the user that is viewing this content. And that’s where I believe that even though it’s open source, it’s still relatively safe and in a platform that is just as capable as all the other more expensive platforms in order

to be able to provide you with the functionality and capabilities that you might need. So that concludes today’s presentation. If you do have any more questions or you feel like I’m is completely off base here in terms of making use of this platform to host your financial institution’s website, then please get in touch with me and we can discuss a little bit more and I can hopefully point you in the right direction and see if this might be the solution for you. So I thank you for your time and we’ll talk again next time. Bye bye.