Preparing your CMS infrastructure for traffic spikes

We’re living in the days of “going viral.” Consumers move faster than ever, and businesses need to be ready to respond to sudden demand the moment it arrives—or risk losing out to competitors.

The right endorsement from the right person can generate global exposure and cause unprecedented numbers of people to flock to your site, with little or no prior warning.

Take Lady Gaga’s Super Bowl halftime show in 2017—millions of people saw her backup dancers in Steve Madden boots and rushed online to order them. That can amount to more traffic than most people dream of in a year, all arriving in seconds.

Major televised events are only one piece of the puzzle. In the modern digital world, digital marketing is aimed purposefully at trying to create demand–and businesses need to be ready to scale up to meet sudden successes from the drop of a tweet.

Crucially, it’s not just about bearing the weight of enormous traffic spikes. It’s about being able to innovate, and capitalize on sudden demand at a moment’s notice. One great way to do that is to leverage cloud hosting for your CMS.

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Mitigating CMS implementation risk

Prior to joining Sitecore as a Technical Evangelist, I worked as a consultant on many projects implementing Sitecore in various types of scenarios. The implementation is where things can really start to heat up!

The stakes are high. More than that, implementation projects can also be long, costly, and susceptible to error, even with the best partner. No implementation project is exactly like another, so there is always an element of the unknown as you undertake this new project. Also, just like the selection process, these projects are highly visible to the rest of the business. That means risks need to be identified early and addressed as soon as possible.

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One of my new ventures this year was to try my hand at creating short Sitecore help videos, under a minute. I wanted to be able to speak not just to developers, but sitecore admins and content authors as well. My good colleague Grant (@GrantReadAccess) has been helping out and together we’ve got a few videos up on the ol’ YouTube for you to enjoy!

I’ll be updating this post as new ones come out, and I also have a PlayList you can watch to catch ’em all!

See the videos…

Continue reading “This has been a Sitecore Burst!”

This has been a Sitecore Burst!

Sitecore MVP Summit 2014: Return of the Jedi

MVP 2014 -TechnologyThe week in Vegas culminated with the gathering of all the North American Sitecore MVPs for the 2014 MVP Summit. Starting off with a solid breakfast was a must for most of the group, especially those who had stayed out until the wee hours of the morning. If a coffee shortage had occurred, blood might well have been shed!

Luckily for all, food and liquids were in plentiful supply and the group was small enough to feel cozy. The MVP summit had a lot of ‘secret stuff’ that can’t be shared, but I can say that it looks like the future of Sitecore is going to be pretty exciting!

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Sitecore Symposium 2014 Day 3: The closing sessions

Sitecore 122After a busy day of tracks on Day 2 followed by a late party at the club, Wednesday’s sessions seemed to be starting a little early for pretty much everybody. 🙂 My plan for Wednesday was to see a few key sessions and spend more time meeting folks at the booth, so I apologize that there were many sessions going on that I can’t recap.

As a general overview of Wednesday, the crowd was a little quieter and the desire for coffee seemed to be pretty high. I got a chance to chat with quite a few of the Sitecore folks, still donning their purple shirts, which was nice since I’ve only ever spoken to most of these folks on the phone. It’s always great to put a face to the name/voice! To everybody who came by and said hello at the booth, thanks so much, I love meeting those of you that chat with me on twitter and here on the blog.

Now, on to some session stuff!

Continue reading “Sitecore Symposium 2014 Day 3: The closing sessions”

Sitecore Symposium 2014 Day 2

Sitecore 122Day 2 of the SYMNA held much excitement as the keynotes and tracks kicked off with a bang (or at least with dancing). Michael Seifert delivered an excellent opening keynote to set the tone for the day (say “Experience” one more time) which entirely focused on learning the complete context of a customer in order to truly understand their experience. A few slick Sitecore 8 screens later and we were all itching to get our hands on it.

For me, the really neat part of it all was the tie-in to the Microsoft Azure machine learning computing. I can really see that part taking experience prediction on a whole new path that we haven’t gone down yet. However, this type of computing may be quite a ways off for a lot of small-to-medium business who are still wrapping their minds (and content) around basic personalization and A/B testing.

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Sitecore Symposium 2014: Time to Keystone!

Sitecore 122With just 8 hours of flights between myself and Vegas, the excitement was starting to build. Our team was coming out in full force this year to watch some great sessions, meet awesome people, and show off Keystone at our booth!

After years of building up an accelerator internally to deliver our own solutions to clients more quickly, we’ve productized our framework into the new Keystone platform. Now, it’s time to share with the world!

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Sitecore tips for upgrading and development

Sitecore 122The last week has been very busy around the office and we managed to get out some helpful tips for those of you working with Sitecore for the first time, as well as folks who may be considering a Sitecore upgrade for their current installation.

Trying to get started with development on Sitecore and preparing for your first Sitecore upgrade are similar in a very simple way: it can seem scary. We hoped that with these tips we could convince some more folks out there that it wasn’t so bad and that a little help can go a long way to making the transition smooth and painless.

The laws of Sitecore development

First, my colleagues Nick Allen and Gavin Fortugno joined me for a Google Hangout as part of the nonlinear buzz series.  We chatted about about some common questions regarding development on the Sitecore platform, including a few ‘first-timer’ tips. Have a look!

3 tips: Preparing for a Sitecore upgrade

After that, as a lead-up to our first ever MVP forum, I posted some tips for folks preparing for a Sitecore upgrade.  The low-down:

  1. Move your configuration customizations to include files
  2. Map out your upgrade path
  3. Configure a load-balancer for a live upgrade

For the full article, have a read of the nonlinear blog: 3 tips: Preparing for a Sitecore upgrade.

Sitecore 7.2: Related Item Publishing

SitecoreA lot of new stuff dropped in Sitecore 7.2, so our team started taking a look at some of the bits that interested us most. I did a little bit of testing and review of the new related item publishing enhancements, and they are quite nice.

Peek on over at the corporate blog for my findings: