Helvellyn CMS is already powering a number of websites and blogs, but it's still in its infancy. While theme customisation, Medium cross-posting and one-click Google Analytics already feature, there is a lot, lot more that still can be done and that I want to do in order to make Helvellyn a very real and attractive contender of a CMS.
There are many goals already drafted, some already achieved. Each belongs to a value, and it's those I want to detail here. These are the driving values of Helvellyn CMS and some of the ways I've already achieved them or will be looking to achieve them as the project develops.
This is our Mission Statement.
Faster, Better Across the Board
Before I started developing Helvellyn CMS, I had to make a crucial decision about the technology that would power clients' websites. In the past I'd used WordPress, and as of starting this project I was already using Jekyll static site generator for my own blog. I knew that I wanted to serve client websites in the same way. Static sites are less resource-hungry and typically faster to serve to end visitors. So they're more eco-friendly, the challenge is in making them easily updated by owners and content creators. Because they're built from scratch by a generator instead of served dynamically from a database, the creation step (as opposed to viewing the finished website) can be slower. And it's for this reason I've moved away from Jekyll and adopted Hugo as the foundation of websites created using Helvellyn CMS. It bills itself as "the world's fastest framework for building websites". They're not wrong; Hugo is between 23 and 63 times faster than Jekyll, a difference that only becomes more and more apparent with scale.
Helvellyn sites then already build quickly and are served even more quickly to website visitors. I'd like to keep it that way, and to do even more yet to deliver on that commitment for websites that are faster and better across the board.
Digital Marketing All Under One Roof
There's a lot more to managing a web presence than simply having a website these days. It's a good first step, but a website alone won't do very much for you if you aren't posting regular content, managing your search presence and active on social media. There's a lot to consider, and most platforms really only let you manage one aspect of your online presence at a time.
I want to make Helvellyn CMS different. I see a platform which enables not only website and content management, but that offers search engine optimisation and marketing as baked in. To that end, I've already integrated Google Analytics and Search Console into the Helvellyn dashboard to provide a quick oversight of search presence and visitor behaviour. I've also already added a cross-posting facility for the Medium blogging platform, so that content creators can immediately boost their exposure with a quick share of blog posts there.
These provide the foundation for a CMS that is more than just a content management system, but a full-fledged digital marketing suite. My next planned integration is with MailChimp so that email campaigns can be managed alongside your content easily.
As much as possible, I'm depending on these third-party integrations because they do their jobs very well indeed. And because a dashboard brimming with all of these features would go against my aim for an easy to use platform. Helvellyn will integrate with these and with social media channels and reputation management tools to provide a quick overview and easy to use defaults. But the ownership of your content and web presence will always remain yours, so I will aim to always make it easy to access your information on those other platforms too for a more in-depth insight into specific areas. I have no intention of being precious about keeping you locked into the Helvellyn dashboard.
Built for Growth
One benefit of using a static site generator to build websites is its lack of a strict tie-in to any CMS - that includes Helvellyn. Your website does not depend on our dashboard, it's merely provided to make it easier to manage. This approach is known as "going headless" and Helvellyn is a headless CMS. You could, if you so wanted, swap it out for another headless CMS.
It goes both ways. For Helvellyn, this means that the CMS also is not tied to the technology that builds your website. And this provides the opportunity to extend Helvellyn's offerings. At this time, it's a CMS for the Hugo static site generator, but it is also already a web management tool in its own right. Helvellyn already features a domain name management dashboard, for instance. In time, I'd like to also integrate support for more sophisticated web apps and mobile development.
All of this will go to make Helvellyn CMS a platform that supports growth. As your web needs expand, I want to anticipate and make it easier to manage your developing needs.
Helvellyn CMS already has the capability to provide basic management of more sophisticated apps. Eventually, I really want it to be a knock-out tool for developing and monitoring them too.
Powered by People
When you sign-up for a blogging site like Medium, or a social media site like Facebook or Twitter, you sign-up for something highly focused and not providing much opportunity for personalisation.
The same is loosely true of DIY website building services like Wix, Weebly and Squarespace. You tend to get something made to serve many people, not something tailor-made for you.
It's in this area I want to differentiate Helvellyn CMS.
Because it isn't built around a core system that serves everybody, because your sites and apps developed on Helvellyn CMS aren't tied directly to it, it will always be easy to go the extra mile and add your own unique designs and developments to your website.
Your site is stored under version control and managed by a web designer and developer. In theory, this means you can do anything you want with your website. The sky is the limit.
And if you have your own designer or developer in mind, I will gladly work with you or them to provide the necessary permissions granting access for them to do anything you'd like too.
Made for Everyone
At this time, Helvellyn CMS generates sites built in our own dashboard. These sites are powered by Hugo, chosen for its speed and flexibility. At this time then, Helvellyn only supports Hugo websites. And brand new ones at that.
But a plan is in place to make it possible to import your existing Hugo, Jekyll or WordPress website. If you do want to do that right now, it may well already be possible and you should get in touch.
Eventually, Helvellyn CMS will support site builds catered to your choosing (as part of our 'Built for Growth' plans above). Your chosen design, your chosen technologies, your own developers and designers. Most of that's already possible - you just need ask.
Helvellyn CMS is sort of not a CMS at all. It's an integrations dashboard. The dashboard itself doesn't actually host your site or serve your content, but it communicates with the service that does. It features analytics and search insights, but it doesn't host these either, it communicates with the service that does.
Helvellyn CMS is a dashboard for managing your web presence, and I will continue to expand on that offering. Because there is so, so much to manage these days; wouldn't it be nice to have a window onto it all?