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Is Adobe Business Catalyst right for your website?

You probably haven’t heard much about Business Catalyst (BC). I only became aware of it 2 years ago while researching online for feature-rich content management systems (CMS). I wanted to focus Idestini’s service offerings involving a CMS around something more powerful out-of-the-box than WordPress, something with dependable support behind it, but also a product without the price tag of a system like Magento or Sitefinity enterprise products. Ultimately, that led me to favor Business Catalyst.

So, what is Adobe Business Catalyst?

Business Catalyst is an all-in-one website and online marketing platform. BC’s content management system makes it easy to manage your website, run marketing campaigns, care for your customers, and sell your products. Like WordPress, you can create and manage pages and blogs. Unlike WordPress and similar platforms, it comes with additional built-in, powerful capabilities. There is no back-end coding or plug-ins to install. HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and BC’s basic template language is all that’s really needed to implement a website on the platform. Here are just a few of the features of Business Catalyst:

  • content management (pages, blogs, FAQs, etc.)
  • e-commerce and paid subscription capabilities
  • event registration
  • drag and drop web forms
  • built-in Customer Relationship Management (CRM)
  • targeted email marketing
  • interesting analytics and reporting
  • custom web application capabilities
  • APIs to connect everything to external systems

We’ll dive in-depth into these features mean in future articles but I do want to point out a few of the things that you can do with BC out-of-the-box that are difficult with other systems.

  • Send an email to customers who have spent $100 or more in the last 6 months.
  • Create a secure section of your website and charge a membership fee to gain access.
  • Capture lead information from web forms and have it notify only particular members of your team, even people not admins in the site.
  • Check if the logged in customer has ever ordered a particular product before.
  • Create a custom web application that contains a record for each of your company’s departments. Then, have a page that automatically lists each one and clicks through to detailed information about each and displays information in a standardized way, without having to create HTML for each page..

Pricing

Business Catalyst is available in three main packages. You don’t have to pay for all of the advanced functionality if you’re just making a simple brochure site. Below are Idestini’s Business Catalyst monthly hosting packages, along with information about what is included in each package. Note that these prices may change, but are accurate as of January 2016. An ecommerce or event registration website with three admins would fall into the webCommerce package below. As you can see, it is extremely affordable for most businesses.

webBasics+

FROM

webMarketing

FROM

webCommerce

FROM

$25

per month

$40

per month

$75

per month
Content Management Targeted email marketing E-commerce platform
In Browser Editing Blogging engine Business reporting
Site Analytics Customer databases Event bookings
Web Forms Community forums Custom web apps
Social Media Sharing News/FAQ everything in webMarketing
(S)FTP & File Manager Ad Rotators  
Hosted email accounts Photo Galleries  
Dynamic menu builder everything in webBasics+  
1 GB Storage 1 GB Storage 1 GB Storage
1 TB Bandwidth 1 TB Bandwidth 1 TB Bandwidth
3 Users 3 Users 3 Users
10 Email Addresses 10 Email Addresses 10 Email Addresses
3 Users 3 Users 3 Users
Newsletters/month: N/A Newsletters/month: 5,000 Newsletters/month: 10,000
SMS/month: N/A SMS/month: N/A SMS/month: 10

All packages also include basic support from Idestini. This basic support covers things like troubleshooting and communication with Adobe if the website hosting or email is down, operating at slow speeds, or standard functionality is not working properly.

Know that the data centers that host Business Catalyst websites are located in Tier 4 data center facilities and all of the data center facilities are connected to the Internet via Tier 1 networks, or have peering arrangements with Tier 1 networks. This means that the servers are essentially hooked into the "backbone" of the Internet, which generally results in higher network speeds and lower latency from your customer's browser to the servers. Adobe uses reasonable efforts to make the services available 24x7. In other words, the infrastructure is well taken care of.

Could Business Catalyst be right for your website?

Picking a website platform is an important decision. This article is only an introduction to what Business Catalyst is capable of and how we price hosting. You certainly can do many of the same things with Business Catalyst or WordPress. But know, with WordPress, you will need to install many different plug-ins made by several different developers with no guarantee of support that functionality will continue to work. There are no updates to apply with Business Catalyst. Because it is a fully managed solution from Adobe, every day you are running the most recent features and the most secure code.

It can be a mistake to assume that just because something is popular and widely used that it’s the right tool for you. Maybe your peers are all using WordPress but maybe also they are limiting what’s possible for them to accomplish easily online. If you’d like to consider that Business Catalyst might be right for you, give us a call or email. We love BC, but we realize it’s not the right tool for every project. I promise, that we’ll talk over your needs and advise you honestly.

 

Is there anything specific you want to know about Business Catalyst? Let us know in the comments and we’ll try to cover it in a future article.

About the author

Abby Sims

Abby Sims is passionate about growing small and mid-size businesses through well-done websites and custom software. She has 18 years experience in the web and software development industry. She has worked in every developer position imaginable on a broad range of web and software development projects for non-profits, governmental agencies and public and private companies, really large and small. She is a pragmatic developer who likes to get things done.

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