Content Engineering

Maintaining Control Of External Sites

Content Engineer DJ Gilcrease

Many of today’s brands generally have a large number of external or partner third-party sites that should ideally maintain the same look and feel as the brand’s main site. The solution for many is to pull in the CSS from the main site to keep the style of each experience consistent.

This approach has two issues. First: if the main site restructures their DOM or CSS, it can break the external site. Second: content changes do not automatically get propagated to the third-party sites. This can lead to inefficiencies and extra costs in maintaining and supporting those sites. It can also cause a lack of brand control and an inconsistent cross-channel customer experience, which can erode site conversion and brand loyalty.

To save our clients time, money, and aggravation, Kanban developed a multi-channel solution. Our approach is to export an HTML fragment that contains all the DOM, CSS, and JavaScript required for various sections of the site, namely the header and footer. External sites pull this file in every 3 hours and cache it on their side, so within 3 hours of a content or style update, all external sites get those sections updated. The layout of the targeted pages does not break, since the CSS for those fragments is highly targeted to the DOM so it doesn’t bleed out and affect other sections of the site.

This, of course, requires coordination and integration with the external third party, which is not always a forgone conclusion – it may not work for everyone. But in the right environment, this approach has the power to greatly reduce the level of effort to maintain consistent customer experiences and can improve conversion rates and revenue – something we can all rally around.

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