Lucid CMS: Powerful Content Management, Simplified
All full-feature content management systems can be configured to comply with the latest and greatest SEO best practices; however, only the Lucid CMS® has been crafted specifically to help medical and dental practices maximize their results while keeping the workflow simplified. How does Lucid stack up against WordPress and other content management systems? What advantages does Lucid offer over the other options? Click on, read on, find out!
Control. In a word, that's what any full-feature content management system (CMS) will give you. Control over your content, control over your image, control over the message you wish to convey to your patients and your potential patients. Ultimately, a CMS will allow you to take control over growing your Internet presence.
We've managed to take over 10 years of experience in building websites for medical and dental practices, hone in on the critical features our clients need, and create something that is powerful on the inside while easy-to-use on the outside.
It's an extraordinary tool that offers many unique benefits; however, I don't want to mislead you. If you are looking for a CMS that will allow you to publish, edit, and manage your Web content, WordPress, Joomla, and Drupal will do so just as surely as Lucid.
So what is the difference between Lucid and, say, WordPress? Why should you choose one over the other when, ultimately, both are perfectly sound content management systems? The answer is quite simple - in fact, it's simplicity, itself.
Pay No Attention to the Man Behind the Curtain
As the concept of Search Engine Optimization (SEO) has become more widespread, transforming from mere industry jargon into a common part of many Internet-savvy business owners' vocabularies, an increasing number of people are looking to take an active role in their website's optimization. Although some search engine marketers hate to admit it to their clients, SEO is no longer the great and powerful Oz - that curtain has been pulled back to reveal a process largely guided by well-executed, compelling, and relevant content; intelligent design and logical organization; and a clear hierarchy, all with healthy dollops of common sense and hard work.
Content management systems give you the chance to take a very active role in the performance of your website and your online marketing efforts - they are a very powerful SEO tools. You should be very skeptical of any search engine marketer or other web professional who claims they have a magic CMS that offers significant SEO advantages over any other. While some professionals may feel more comfortable using a certain CMS for whatever reason, that reason should have nothing to do with SEO. If it is set up properly no CMS should perform any differently from any other full-feature CMS.
I'll say that again with more attitude, just to be clear:
No CMS possesses a special snake-oil formula for magical SEO results. Not a one. Not WordPress, not Joomla, not Drupal. Not even Lucid.
It's true that in the past, some content management systems failed to take critical SEO elements into account, but now most do, whether by default or through the addition of a plugin that enhances the functionality of the CMS. These days, the effectiveness of a website's SEO depends far more on how the CMS is set up rather than on the CMS itself. Unfortunately, the setup and configuration of most CMS platforms can be highly confusing and a huge time suck. Most content management systems strain to provide you with so many options that you'll wish there was another option altogether. There is.
Ah…the Value of Simplicity
Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, and most every other CMS were built for anyone and everyone. There is great value in that, for them. Wordpress is the largest publishing platform in the world because they offer so many features and options that one can do a million things a million ways. In the end, it is better suited to experienced web professionals than the average physician or surgeon. While at first WordPress may seem like it gives you tremendous control over your content by offering all of these options, for many users, the experience can be overwhelming - so much so, in fact, that many people are actually dissuaded from using any CMS to its full potential because these platforms can make them feel stupid. That, as you might imagine, hardly bodes well for a website's SEO. Adding new content regularly to your website and ensuring that existing content is up-to-date and accurate is critical to rank highly and draw in new potential patients.
By comparison, Lucid is built with both SEO performance and the average Internet user (i.e. the average dentist or surgeon) in mind. Its core purpose is to encourage you to keep your content fresh, whether through adding new content or revising existing content. Rather than exposing you to all of its internal workings - the "guts," if you will - Lucid places its most practical and easy-to-use elements front and center, giving you the opportunity to focus on the substance of your content rather than having to worry about becoming an SEO expert. SEO best practices are all baked into the system and are updated regularly by Einstein Medical's development team.
For example, one recent SEO development that has made a huge impact in the search ecosystem is Google's Authorship program. Because we can update the central core of Lucid quickly for all of our clients, we were able to offer authorship integration to our clients very quickly. The more efficient Lucid is as a platform for us as a company, the more efficient and agile Lucid is for each one of our clients.
If the mention of website elements such as page titles, URL structures, robots.txt, XML site maps, and page categorization fails to elicit whoops of joy (let alone murmurs of recognition) from you, then Lucid may well be the ideal CMS for you and your practice. These elements, which are critical to proper SEO, are dynamically included by Lucid… without plugins… or needing to update plugins… without even knowing that you're "SEOing" your content.
To prove I'm not simply engaging in shameless self-promotion, let me restate that WordPress is a strong, robust CMS that will ultimately perform as well as Lucid if set up properly. We should know, since we ran it on our servers for years and witnessed first hand its strengths and weaknesses. If you are interested in being overwhelmed with options, not being able to find your pages, installing and updating plugins, installing version updates when security bulletins are released, and are willing run the risk of getting hacked, then you may well prefer WordPress or another CMS to Lucid. If, however, you are interested in a secure CMS that makes publishing, editing, and managing your content dramatically simpler while delivering all of the power you would expect of a full-feature CMS, then Lucid is worth your consideration.
What Else Does Lucid Offer to the Modern Medical Practice?
The advantages of Lucid extend not only to how simple it is to use, but also to its extraordinary versatility. In stripping away the unnecessary options that can make other content management systems, at times, very difficult to use, we've equipped Lucid with a number of features that make it ideal for the modern (i.e., extremely busy) medical practice. Many of these features are unique to Lucid and further distinguish it from other content management systems, including:
A powerful, yet easy-to-use admin screen - Upon logging into Lucid, you will arrive at your admin screen, where you can manage your content with ease. For example, you can:
- View a convenient list of recent changes made to the website in the Overview section
- View, add, reorder, remove, or edit pages in the Pages section
- Upload, view, and manage images, videos, and similar content in the Assets section
- Review and edit specific elements of every page of your website, such as titles and meta descriptions, on a single convenient page
- Click-to-edit - Once logged in, simply browse your website as you normally would. Once you find a page you'd like to make a change to, just click into edit mode and all of the editable portions of the web page will become "hot"; that is, they will appear in easily identified highlighted boxes. A single click on a highlighted section will bring up the text editor, allowing you to make changes much like in a desktop text editor (i.e. Microsoft Word). From there you can either publish your changes live immediately, or save them as part of a draft that you can return to later.
- The ability to track changes - Every time you or someone else makes a change to a page, that change can be documented upon the publication of that page. You can describe your changes to help keep a history of them, which in turn facilitates another unique feature of Lucid, namely:
- Versioning - One of the disadvantages of many content management systems is that, once you have revised a page, there is no way to return to a previous version. Lucid, however, allows you to return to any version of the page you'd like, whether you want simply to refer to that version or restore it to the live website. The various versions are organized by date, from the most recent to the oldest, and accompanied by the descriptions you provided each time you published your changes.
Because Lucid was created with the busy medical professional in mind, it is organized so that its most important features are never more than a convenient mouse click or two away. The CMS requires little in the way of training and very little time to master. Instead of scratching your head trying to figure out how to configure your robots.txt properly, you can focus on your practice and writing great content.
Sounds Pretty Good, Eh?
I admit that I am, of course, far from an unbiased commentator. A lot of work went into making Lucid the powerful, yet simple-to-use, CMS that it is. I spent a lot of late nights, running on caffeine fumes along with my colleagues, engaging in what seemed at the time like an endless loop of trial and error, deciding on and refining what needs to be exposed to the user (that's you!). What emerged from this process was a CMS that, by any objective measure, offers features and ease-of-use that WordPress and its counterparts simply do not. Does that make Lucid a better CMS? Ultimately, that's for our clients to decide, but the feedback so far has been overwhelmingly positive.
Compared to other content management systems, however, one thing is certain: Lucid is substantially more, well…lucid†.
†When my colleagues and I were developing the Lucid CMS®, we not only used the dictionary definition of "lucid" as inspiration, but also adopted it as our collective mantra:
Lucid - Expressed clearly; easy to understand
This helped to keep us focused on our goal: to create a CMS specifically for our clients, not for everyone, and not simply our fellow web professionals.
Update Dec 1, 2015: This post has been updated to reflect the patent pending/registered status of our Lucid CMS®
Bite the Apple before the Apple Bites You
In conjunction with the historic release of the iPhone 5, Apple recently updated its proprietary operating system, but not without significant controversy. The latest version of the operating system, iOS 6, does not include the Google Maps app, replacing it with Apple Maps, a flawed but promising app that figures to improve substantially over the coming months. This now-very-public clash between Apple and Google affects not only iPhone users, but also the businesses that rely on being easily located on mobile devices. How will this affect your medical practice? The good news is that, if you’re prepared, it doesn’t have to.