There’s a lot of things that need to be done to successfully host and manage a website. Add in the special features that the broadcast industry needs and you need yourself a team of hyper-caffeinated techs making sure everything is running at tip-top shape. That’s why most choose a digital provider (like InterTech Media’s OneCMS) to host their website and develop all of the audience engagement items necessary for mass communication.
Having a digital provider makes your life easier. There’s lower overall costs and commitment than trying to manage all of the confusing infrastructure yourself. The people there have an overall broader skill set and access to advanced tools that make it easier for you to sleep at night knowing your digital assets are being served effortlessly to your audience.
But you still need to do your due diligence when choosing a digital provider. While most offer satisfactory products with cool features, that is only half the story.
What is going on behind the scenes?
Do Your Research Beyond the Features
Wow, cool themes! Sweet features! Awesome apps!
That’s the pitch you normally hear from a digital agency or provider who is looking for your business. And while you may be dazzled by the polish, you need to see what is lurking underneath that shiny veneer.
Most digital providers in the broadcast industry use the exceptional open source software WordPress as the basis of their CMS offerings. We here at InterTech Media do as well for OneCMS™ (along with hundreds of proprietary features that the broadcast industry needs)!
But what most people do not realize is that this software needs constant maintenance and upkeep. The team at WordPress releases an update approximately every 2-3 weeks. Those updates include (amongst other items) security patches, optimizations, new features and bug fixes. If your provider is not keeping up with these updates, then your website is sitting on a ticking time bomb.
Keeping the core CMS software updated is not an easy task either. When you’ve got hundreds (1,000+ in our case) of websites running unique and proprietary functionality, you’ve got to make sure that each time you change the “foundation” that it doesn’t topple what you’ve built on top of it.
Intertech Media always strives to update the WordPress Core within 5 days of any release. How’s this for transparency? As of today (August 18th, 2020), we are running WordPress Core 5.4.2; and have version 5.5 on deck to launch…which is the latest version.
Want to keep track of WordPress releases? Go right to the source!
How about asking your provider what version of WordPress they are running as of today? Chances are it is not the latest (or even close). Most providers prioritize features and slick stuff behind security and optimizations. InterTech Media provides puts security and speed first without sacrificing new features.
Ask your provider what version of WordPress they are running. If they won’t tell you, let us know what your website is and chances are we can find out for you.
The frontend software is only part of the large puzzle that keeps your website running. The actual infrastructure is yet another piece. OneCMS is hosted on a large pool of Amazon AWS EC2 servers that autoscale (automatically add and remove servers) based on demand and load. On top of that, our database runs on multiple RDS instances for redundancy and speed. Your images, podcasts and video are served from a CDN for reliability against traffic spikes and always available speed.
Basically, your website should run the same speed whether it’s a slow news day or there’s national breaking news. The hardware behind the scenes is a major part in helping to achieve that. (Remember that when your friend’s cousin’s dog groomer says they can build and host your website cheap).
Ask your provider what infrastructure they are running your website on.
Let's Go Even Deeper (PHP-Ception)
Those servers we were referring to above? They run software that needs to be maintained and updated regularly as well. (Aren’t you glad you are not in charge of all this?).
The main software they use to run your website is PHP. PHP is a server side scripting language that is used to develop software for websites and coincidentally is the main language used in WordPress and all of the features that are built on top of it. If your provider is not using the latest version of PHP, then everything we spoke about above is running on a cracked foundation.
We see many providers running PHP versions as old as 5.5. To let you know how old that is, it stopped being supported 3 years ago. Yikes.
OneCMS runs PHP 7.4.X, which (naturally) is the latest version (are you beginning to see a pattern here?). It supports all the newest features and supplies the heavy lifting your brand needs.
The Most Important Part: The Support Team
Do you speak with a different person every time you call your digital provider? Can you even call them?
Its important that the team you work with to grow your digital brand has the in-depth technical knowledge necessary but also knows the ins-and-outs of your specific website. (A nice bedside manner doesn’t hurt either.)
Your goals aren’t the same as another client, so your provider having intimate insight on your situation makes the difference in your success.
You don’t want to be a number, you want to be a PARTNER.
The Support Team, Engineering Team and Management at InterTech Media have the longest tenure in the broadcast CMS industry. If your provider constantly has a rotating door of staff, that might say something about the rest of their business.
Choosing a digital provider doesn’t have to be hard if you know what to look for. But make sure you take a peek under the hood. It may not be what you expected.