Date: Wednesday, May 29th
Location: Northwoods Web Solutions
1572 E Capitol Drive, Shorewood
Register for Titan CMS Labs
- 8:30 a.m. | Registration
- 8:45 a.m. | Titan CMS Labs Open (See Lab Topics Below)
- 10:00 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. | Leverage Proximity Marketing to Grow Your Business
- Does your business attend trade shows or host events? If so, this session is for you! Learn how to use digital advertising to drive more booth visitors, create more event registrations and stay top of mind post-event.
- 11:00 a.m. | Titan CMS Labs Close
- 11:15 a.m. | General Session
- Our general session is a perennial client favorite! Northwoods President and Founder Patrick Bieser will present his unique, insightful tour around the web to highlight emerging trends in digital, including exciting developments in digital marketing and website development. He’ll also showcase a few of our recent client launches, sharing lessons learned along the way that you can put to good use. Finally, he’ll present a brief overview of Titan CMS v6.9.5, as well as an update on Titan CMS v7.0 before we break for lunch.
- 12:15 p.m. | Lunch
Titan CMS Labs Topics
Harness the Power of Your Website’s Internal Search Functionality
Improving your website’s internal search capabilities is easy when you harness the power of Titan CMS SmartSearch! We’ll provide a quick overview of SmartSearch features and then jump into your workstation to evaluate your search set-up. You’ll leave with a number of best practices you can implement right away.
How Titan CMS v6.9.5 Can Help You Create Actionable SEO Reports
Join us for a show-and-tell of our new Titan CMS v6.9.5 marketing features and find out how you can use them to improve SEO. Come with your questions ready! We’ll log into your Titan CMS instance and help you create reports on the spot so you can use them as soon as you get back to the office.
Is Your Google Analytics Account Set Up Correctly?
Google Analytics (GA) is a powerful tool, but only if you set up correctly. We’ll dive into the GA accounts of attendees to show you how to evaluate your own GA set-up, and we’ll also present several case studies to highlight how GA and Google Tag Manager can be used to evaluate the what’s working and not working on your site.
Tips and Tricks for Optimizing Your Website’s Page Speed
Learn how to leverage the speed enhancements available in Titan CMS v6.9.5. We’ll share tips for optimizing web images, how to interpret results from site speed graders, and how structured data can improve site performance. We’ll run your website through a few tools so you leave with practical tips for how to optimize your website.
Power Up Your Website with Data Sites & Filter Blocks
Data Sites and Filter Blocks are a powerful combination of tools commonly used to create event calendars, product catalogs, document libraries, and much more. Join us to find out how you can use these building blocks to help power your website and create deeper engagement with site visitors.
Stump Our Titan Experts
Jon Kuhl will be available to field your questions and hear your ideas regarding Titan CMS. Are you trying to do something new but don’t know if Titan CMS can do it? Do you have some great idea for the next version of Titan CMS that would make your life easier? Bring them to this session and see if Jon has an answer. He usually does.
Google Tag Manager (GTM)
If you want to go beyond the plain-vanilla installation of Google Analytics on your site, Google Tag Manager (GTM) is the tool to use.
GTM makes it easy to customize your Analytics set-up. Most webmasters want to know information about specific “events” that happened on their site. For example, do you want to track how many people watched a video on your site, and how much of it they watched? Or how far down users scrolled on each of your pages? Or what outbound links on your site they clicked on? All those – and many more – are way easier to set up in GTM.
In addition, if you’re using other tracking tools – e.g. Google AdWords, or the Facebook pixel, or setting up heatmaps – those are also much easier to set up and verify in Google Tag Manager.
Google Tag Manager lets you create, test, and document how you’re tracking visitor interactions. It’s a wonderful tool, and in this session we’ll cover why to use it and how to use it.
WHAT IS TUG?
At Northwoods, we keep our friends close -- literally, in the sense of "in the same room with us".
"Most CMSs don't upgrade that often," says Rick Fessenbecker, Northwoods managing director. "We do it to keep our updates cost-effective and easy. So we have to keep our clients up to speed and be sure that what we're doing meets their needs."
"We're constantly evolving Titan CMS, so it stays relevant and never goes obsolete, " says Patrick Bieser, Northwoods founder and president. "So we have sessions like 'Really Cool New Features You're Not Using but Probably Should.' We always hear clients say 'Wow, I didn't know I could do that.'"
Titan Users Group get-togethers always include sneak previews of soon-to-be-released features, and sometimes sneak previews of new Learn at Northwoods workshops before they open to the wide web world. Northwoods is know for generously serving the field through free, live educational sessions that cover everything from web design trends to user experience to SEO to intranets. (The company serves the industry beyond Greater Milwaukee through highly informative and very readable blogs.)
“It’s helpful to try out a new workshop at TUG, before a friendly audience that will give us some feedback,” Fessenbecker said.
The workshop previews add electricity to the lively atmosphere typical of TUG gatherings, which usually attract 100 or so Titan CMS users at all levels to Northwoods’ spacious quarters.
“I think I’ve attended every TUG meeting and taken every [Learn at Northwoods] workshop,” said Mark Barthel, webmaster for the Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee. “I appreciate their ability to help both programming types and marketing types.”
Barthel has worked with Northwoods people since 1999, the company’s earliest days. He adopted Titan CMS for his employer 10 years ago. He cited the frequent upgrades, user-friendliness that makes it easy to teach to his non-technical colleagues, and the ability to easily manage thousands of pages and seven distinct archdiocese sites as reasons for sticking with both Titan CMS and the people behind it.
“They always seem to be on top of things in this field,” Barthel said. “They always seem to know when a trend will turn out to be a fad, and they’re not afraid to share their thoughts.”
Bieser and his Northwoods colleagues take pride in their users’ accomplishments, and they delight in showing off the clever things clients do with Titan CMS.
“User sharing was the original impetus behind TUG 10 years ago,” Bieser said. “People still find the user show-and-tell sessions incredibly valuable.”
THE VALUE OF TUG
TUG often has between-session crosstalk among clients, as they share ideas, tips and experience one-to-one. Sometimes, new friendships and business relationships take root at Titan Users Group gatherings.
“The main value for me is meeting other users and seeing how they solve problems and use the software,” said Jeanine Hantke, webmaster and marketing specialist for Server Products, a B2B manufacturer of specialty restaurant equipment. She adopted Titan CMS 10 years ago and has attended nearly every TUG meeting. Her company’s online product catalog – catalogs are among Northwoods’ specialties -- lists 400 items. Titan CMS provides easy manipulation of meta data and URL aliasing, which greatly enhance the searchability and search-engine visibility of catalog items.
She recalled that clients at a TUG session asked for URL aliasing, and before long, it was embedded in Titan CMS.
“It’s great to see them implement good ideas from their users,” Hantke said. “If they see value in something, they put it in the base. And that’s just awesome.”
From Northwoods’ point of view, user input is the main benefit of the TUG assemblies. Bieser and friends rarely field complaints, but they get lots of requests for new features -- so many that they dedicate wish-list sessions at TUG.
Those wish lists don’t fall into the black hole of some suggestion box. The Northwoods team discusses them at length, decides which among them offer the best and broadest utility for clients and thus determine the finalists among the items.
At the next TUG conclave, users vote their preferences, and Northwoods responds.
“Customers have a hand in setting priorities,” Bieser said. Off the top of his head, he mentioned page URL aliasing, built-in responsive design, filter blocks for geographic proximity search, batch file uploading, and batch meta data updating as among the items added to Titan CMS over the years by client request and votes at TUG sessions.
Between TUG gatherings, Northwoods keeps in touch through TUG email newsletters and through the TUG Group on LinkedIn. Those channels might be more important in the future, as Northwoods’ client base expands beyond Greater Chicago and Milwaukee.
Clients from Delaware to California can’t really fly to Milwaukee for a half-day session. Bieser and his team are pondering a more nationwide future for Northwoods and TUG. They’ve lived-streamed one meeting and might do more of that, or they could expand at least one of the two annual meetings to a full-day or two-day experience at a convention hotel. But they’re determined to maintain the close client relationships that they established and have maintained since.