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Appearances Matter – Simple Solutions for Creating Engaging Web Content

When not busy working with The Gilbane Conference I spend my time working as a CMS editor. As a CMS Site editor I often times feel torn between my responsibility to preserve the integrity of my employers website by focusing on the content (I.e text) and my desire to enhance the more superficial elements such as the background, graphics, and fonts. 10/10 times I choose to tweak the text as our current software has been fixed to only offer 3 color options and only one font…

While ultimately the content on a site is more important than its overall appearance, I believe that in an age where analytics show that the majority of website viewers spend an average of only 10 seconds on a site they are visiting for the first time, that appearance cannot be ignored. Those statistics are not only discouraging to the average CMS editor, but further proof that in order to make an eye catching site to get viewers to explore and spend time on your site you’re going to need a bigger arsenal then a three choice color palette.

Although many are in the same position that I am in, working on company websites that have pre-programed fonts and colors, and in some cases graphics, there are several simple ways in which to make a big statement without straying to far from what is deemed acceptable and professional by your employer.

  • Add an Infographic



Adding infographics to your website is not just an easy way to display relevant company data in an engaging manner, they are also great in adding a much needed pop of color and excitement sure to make even the most casual of browsers stop and take a look.

While several companies will make custom infographics for you company at a price there are several websites that will generate them for free. Some notable options are and Piktochart. If you’re feeling especially creative and have time on your hands try creating your own using PowerPoint.


  • Avoid large StockPhoto sites whenever possible


How many times have you seen a photo on a companies website that looks exactly like this. While we can appreciate the fact that somewhere out there, there may be an office full of people that are always camera ready and enjoy each others company so much that they can’t get rid of their ever present  grins, this is simply not the case for most workplaces. If possible get real photos of real people in your office, and include pictures of your headquarters as well. These are the types of photos that will engage viewers and create a certain level of trust and comfort that stock photos cannot.

  • Make your Headlines and Titles Bold.

As Simple as it may sound by making the text of your article titles and headlines bold you are  creating a natural focal point for site browsers to focus on when scrolling through your website. When there is text to focus on within a sea of words people will be able to identify the content they are looking for easier, making them more likely to read what comes after the title.


  • Add a Social Element

It has become the norm for companies to be connected on at least one Social Network, so there is virtually no excuse why this fact should not be advertised on your website. Add a “social bar”, a twitter feed and of course share buttons to all of your blog and article entries. People are apt to feel more comfortable sharing and reading your information when they have visual proof that other have done the same before them. The upside to this is that when people share your content on social sites, it will inevitably lead more viewers back to your web page.

Utilizing even just one of these tools is a sure to expand not just your website viewership, but also the amount of time they are browsing as well. These which will all eventually lead to increase in clients and customers!


For more information on The Gilbane Conference please visit our website @:

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Mark your calendar for Gilbane Boston 2012!

Gilbane Boston content management and technologies conference bannerIt is time to mark your calendar for Gilbane Boston 2012. We will be back on Boston’s waterfront adjacent to the new “innovation district“, at the Intercontinental Boston Waterfront. The dates are November 27-29, 2012.

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Content Strategy for Marketing: Influencing + Evaluating Results (without Breaking Your Budget)

Today we highlight Workshop E: Content Strategy for Marketing: Influencing + Evaluating Results (without Breaking Your Budget) taking place at Gilbane Boston, November 29, 1:00pm – 4:00pm at the Westin Waterfront.

Digital marketing is quickly becoming THE marketing. What drives digital marketing? Content. If you’re not ready, you’re not alone. This intermediate workshop will help you form a strategy and then act on it. You’ll apply lessons learned with exercises inspired by Colleen’s years in the trenches and her best-selling book, Clout. By the end of the 3-hour session, you will

  • Understand the role of content in attracting, converting, supporting, and engaging customers.
  • Know eight principles of influence based on psychology and rhetoric.
  • Learn techniques for applying each principle to web content.
  • Ask the right evaluation questions and answer them with the right evaluation methods.
  • Learn tips and tricks for getting the most value out of your content.

You’ll also receive a hard copy of Clout: The Art and Science of Influential Web Content.


Colleen Jones, Principal, Content Science, and Author, Clout: The Art + Science of Influential Web Content

Register today!

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How to Build a Content Strategy – Practical Principles for Influential Web Content

Today we highlight E5. How to Build a Content Strategy – Practical Principles for Influential Web Content taking place at Gilbane Boston, December 2, 9:40 – 10:40pm at the Westin Copley.

All too often, when charting the plan toward consumer engagement, content seems to be an afterthought. However, web content is the key to a successful user experience and delivering a consistent brand message. This session will outline the principles of a sound content strategy and how to create one.

Moderator: Andrew Bredenkamp, CEO, Acrolinx

Colleen Jones, Founder, Content Science
Margot Bloomstein
, Principal, Appropriate, Inc.

Register today!

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Network with the CMS experts at Gilbane Boston

Converse with the experts at the Conference, in the Exhibit Area and in the Hallways.
November 30 – December 2, Boston Westin Copley

We are honored to bring you a “who’s who” of leading practitioners, analysts, and technologists at our upcoming Boston Conference, this year focused on the theme “Content, Collaboration & Customers”, and strategies for engaging global customers on the Internet, and for collaborating with both internal colleagues and customers.

You aren’t limited to listening to speakers on a panel – there are two full days on conversations taking place in the hallways, in the exhibitor area, and during the reception, lunches and breaks. This large collection of diverse content management technology experts can only be found at Gilbane events. Don’t miss this opportunity to learn, network, and socialize with colleagues, peers, and experts at

You can learn more about our speakers, including how to connect with them via Twitter or their blogs at

Our faculty of experts and industry leaders includes:

Brooke Aker - CEO, Admantx

Navdeep Alam - Director of Data Architecture, Mzinga

Deane Barker - Content Management Practice Director, Blend Interactive

Jay Batson - VP & Founder, Acquia. Inc.

Geoffrey Bock - Senior Analyst, Collaboration & Social Computing, Outsell’s Gilbane Group

Tony Byrne - Founder, The Real Story Group

Arje Cahn - CTO, Hippo

Melissa Casburn - Director of User Experience, ISITE Design

Ann Comer-Woods - Executive Director of Communications, MIT Sloan

Keith Cook - Global eBusiness Officer, ACE Group

Cornelia Davis - Office of the CTO, EMC Corporation

John Eckman - Sr. Director, Optaros

Mark Fidelman - eVP, MindTouch

Elizabeth Fraley - Founder and CEO, Single-Sourcing Solutions

Jeff Fried - CTO, BA Insight

Doug Gaff - Director of Technology, NPR Public Interactive

Emmanuel Garcin - Vice President & General Manager, Jahia North America

Frank Gilbane - President, Outsell’s Gilbane Group

Paul Gillin - Principal, Paul Gillin Communications

Doug Gorman - CEO, Simply XML

Kian T. Gould - CEO, AOE Media

Jarrod Gingras - Analyst, Real Story Group

Tugdual Grall - VP of Business and Product Strategy, eXo

Ryan Gruss - Intranet Project Lead, Continuum

Darren Guarnaccia - VP Product Marketing, Sitecore

David Guenette - Senior Analyst, Outsell’s Gilbane Group

Laurence Hart - Director Technology Solutions, Washington Consulting, Inc

Larry Hawes - Lead Analyst, Collaboration and Enterprise Social Software, Outsell’s Gilbane Group

Paul Hinz - CMO, Liferay

Devin Holmes - Executive Director, Warrior Gateway

Jason Hunter - Principal Technologist, MarkLogic

Colleen Jones - Principal, Content Science

Mike Iantosca - IBM Authoring Tools and Content Management System PDT Lead, IBM

Mark Korey - Online Applications Project Manager, SAS Worldwide Marketing

Simon Lande - CEO, Magus

Mary Laplante - Vice President and Lead Analyst, Outsell’s Gilbane Group

Andrew Lawless - Principal, Dig-It! Consulting

Debra Lewis - Web Content and Localization Manager, OCLC Online Computer Library Center

Barry Libert - Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Mzinga

Scott Liewehr - Senior Consultant, Web Content Management, Outsell’s Gilbane Group

Greg Lloyd - President & Co-Founder, Traction Software

Ned May - Director & Lead Analyst, Outsell Inc.

Cheryl McKinnon - Chief Marketing Officer, Nuxeo

Marcel Meth - Marcel Meth Independent Senior SharePoint Analyst

Lynda Moulton - Senior Analyst & Consultant, Enterprise Search, Outsell’s Gilbane Group

John Parsons - Principal, Byte Media Strategies LLC

Peter O’Kelly - Independent Analyst

John Petersen - Founder, Sutro Software

Stephen Powers - Senior Analyst, Forrester

Patrick Quinlan - Lead Curriculum Specialist, Citrix Education

Kathleen Reidy - Senior Analyst, 451 Group

Hadley Reynolds - Research Director, Search & Digital Marketplace Technologies, IDC

Sara Roberts - President/CEO, Roberts Golden Consulting, Inc

Robert Rose - Founder & Chief Troublemaker, Big Blue Moose

Shannon Ryan - President & CEO, non-linear creations

Barry Schaeffer - Sr. Analyst, Outsell’s Gilbane Group & Principal Consultant, Content Life Cycle Consulting

Anne Scharff - Director, IS Web Services, Cincinnati Childrens’ Hosptial Medial Center

C. Scyphers - Chief Technical Architect, Daemon Consulting, LLC

Jerry Silver - Senior Product Marketing Manager, EMC Documentum xCP

David Suess - CEO, Northern Light

Bill Trippe - Vice President, Content Strategies, Outsell’s Gilbane Group

Dale Waldt - Senior Consultant, Outsell’s Gilbane Group.

Shaun Walker - Creator & Chief Architect, DotNetNuke

Melissa Webster - Program Vice President, Content & Digital Media Technologies, IDC

Lisa Welchman - Founding Partner, WelchmanPierpoint

Randy Woods - Co-Founder & Executive Vice President, non-linear creations

Brett Zucker - EVP and CTO of Bridgeline Digital

The complete conference program and speaker list is available at

We Hope To See You There!
The Gilbane and Lighthouse team

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