The Best Marketing Tools and Integrations for your Static Site

Will my new static website integrate with external applications and services?

Marketing and sales teams need new websites to integrate smoothly with the external tools they already depend upon — or with more up-to-date equivalents. From rich and up-to-date web analytics to SEO, a modern static site can cover all of the bases so you can be up and running as soon as possible.

With static, you can (still) do it all

We get it. There’s a lot of convenience in using an all-in-one service like WordPress that has a separate plugin for everything you need on your website. The trouble with WordPress, though, is staying on top of security updates and compatibility for each of your services — analytics, SEO, forms, newsletters, e-commerce storefronts, CRM, and so on.

With the growing trend away from legacy CMSs like WordPress and towards modern static sites paired with static-focused CMSs like CloudCannon, it’s clear that more and more teams are learning that the static ecosystem of tools, products, and services can meet their needs, while also providing a faster, more reliable experience for site visitors.

Here’s a broad range of integrations you should be looking for:

  • Analytics tools — allowing you to study user behavior at the small scale, as well as tracking broad trends and patterns in the way your users find and use your site.
  • A/B testing — this wraps into analytics, but it’s an important feature to address. With accurate comparisons and reporting on how site changes affect user behavior, you’ll be able to identify trends and respond immediately.
  • Search engine optimization — you can fine tune your pages manually, but it’s worth considering whether your CMS or static site generator will build pages that are immediately optimized for search engines like Google.
  • Compatibility with services in the static ecosystem — including support for features such as:
    • Contact forms, allowing you to grow your audience, survey users, and gather leads. (Encrypting these forms is another helpful feature offered by some CMSs.)
    • Commenting and user feedback tools, so you can generate discussions and build a community around your content.
    • Site search, particularly for large static sites — how quickly will your users be able to find what they’re looking for?

The best marketing tools for modern static sites

Analytics

Perhaps the most important part of a marketer’s toolkit, analytics tools allow marketing teams to test the efficacy of their website content, track user journeys, and make decisions based on site performance. Millions of dynamic sites run their analytics through popular services like Google Analytics, Clicky, Hotjar, Matomo, Fathom, and Clarity.

Good news! All of these tools — and many more — also support real-time analytics on static sites.

We recommend: Google Analytics or Fathom. GA is the most widely used analytics suite in the world, and comes with a host of robust features and actionable reports. Fathom is a strong GA alternative with a focus on user privacy and GDPR compliance.

A/B testing

For data-driven teams, A/B testing is a goldmine of insights into user behavior — and the effectiveness of new copy and site assets. The goal of A/B testing is to determine which version of a page is more effective at achieving a desired outcome, such as more sales or more sign-ups, though advanced tools will also let you compare bounce rates, and time spent on each page in a user journey. If you’ve been using Google Optimize, Nelio A/B Testing, or Split Test for Elementor, you’ll be pleased to know that you’ll have similar tools available to you in the modern static world.

We recommend: Google Optimize. Different static hosting services and CMSs have different capabilities with regards to built-in split testing, but Google Optimize is a great catch-all service regardless of your host or CMS. Setting up A/B testing with Optimize is a straightforward task for a developer — all they will need are the two different versions of the page you want to test.

SEO

SEO is important for any business with an online presence, and as a long-term marketing strategy it’s important to ensure your websites rank well in organic search results. While it’s always important to consider SEO, there’s no magic formula that will automatically send your page to the top of the charts. Rather, marketing teams and copywriters should always be aware of the importance of key words, accurate page descriptions, and website copy that users actively want to read, share, and come back to.

Tools like Semrush, Yoast SEO and SEOPress are popular on WordPress — a lot of the work they do is in reminding users to fill in the right fields, tweak key words, automated checks of things like redirects and semantic tagging (of headings, for example). But the same SEO performance gains can be made with a mindful marketing team on a modern static site.

We recommend: A considered approach: writing web content with SEO in mind; Semrush for site audits, retrospective SEO suggestions, and on-page SEO checking; and a comprehensive strategy of revisiting and iterating on existing content.

Commenting

Building a community is important to a lot of site owners, and if you include comments on your posts, you’ll want to be sure of two things: that good comments rise to the top, and that you’re not overcome by spam.

There’s a huge variety of commenting tools for static sites, including the most popular options frequently used on dynamic sites, such as Viafoura, OpenWeb, Facebook Comments, and Disqus.

We recommend: Viafoura or Disqus. Both are GDPR compliant, offer automatic spam protection, and support nested comment threads for keeping track of conversations.

E-commerce storefronts

For many online retailers, having a responsive digital storefront is the most important part of their business, with potential for great gains in conversions and sales if the shop performs well, loads quickly, and checks out customers reliably.

Snipcart, WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, and SquareSpace are all leaders in e-commerce solutions for dynamic sites, including many websites run on WordPress. But from customer dashboards to web hooks, from selling digital downloads to physical products, static sites can do it all, with active support for your sales goals.

We recommend: SnipCart or Shopify. Both are highly configurable, responsive and reliable, and can be integrated into your static site easily by a developer. Once either solution is set up, non-technical team members are able to add, remove and edit products.

Chatbots

Chatbots like those offered by Zendesk and Intercom can help answer customer questions, and provide at least some customer support for commonly asked questions. Chatbots are available 24/7, so they can provide assistance to website visitors at any time of day or night. Additionally, chatbots can handle a high volume of requests, so they can take some of the pressure off human customer service representatives.

Luckily, both of these popular services work flawlessly on static websites — chat widgets from each can easily be added to a page.

We recommend: Intercom or Zendesk. Both are focused on message-based customer service, support triggers and automations, and are compatible with third-party services like Slack, Stripe, and Salesforce.

Forms

You’re already reaching your audience, but you’ll want to let them reach you too. If you’d like to generate leads, or let users engage with your content and your team, you’ll need configurable contact forms. WPForms and Jetpack Forms are widely used on WordPress sites, but there are all manner of form solutions available to static websites,

We recommend: For existing CloudCannon users there’s a built-in forms solution that integrates with the rest of your page- and site-building activities. Other notable solutions include FormSpree, which offers spam filtering, GDPR compliance and a free option, among other features. If you require payments to be taken when a form is submitted, Cognito Forms is another good option — and it also matches FormSpree’s other features.

When if comes to newsletter services, one of the most common targets for site forms, Mailchimp is still the gold standard, with deep analytics and flexible scheduling to reach each member of your audience when they’re most likely to read their email. Adding Mailchimp signups to your static site is as easy as using your forms solution with the code snippets Mailchimp provides.

While very small websites may get away with just a site menu, it’s important to keep your users’ needs and expectations in mind — when websites get big, or information begins to pile up, we all rely on a solid search interface. Popular search tools on dynamic sites include Google Programmable Search, Algolia, Search WP, or ElasticPress, though these solutions can come with an unnecessarily large search index file, slowing your users down.

We recommend: Pagefind for static sites up to 100K pages. It’s hard to beat CloudCannon’s own Pagefind — a free, open-source tool that sips as little of your users’ bandwidth as possible, while serving lightning-fast and finely configurable results. Even better, Pagefind’s search index is rebuilt automatically when your site builds, meaning it’s always up to date. For larger sites or more complex needs, we’d recommend using a paid, hosted search service like Algolia, or a customized instance of Google Programmable Search.

CRM

Customer relationship management, or CRM, is a broad term for tracking, building, and enhancing customer journeys. While CRM companies like Salesforce and HubSpot have grown and integrated dynamic CMS solutions in addition to their CRM offerings, the real benefit of both tools is helping businesses generate leads, keep track of their customer’s interactions, and better understand their needs. Luckily, both of these popular CRM solutions readily integrate with other software applications, so they’re prepared to work with websites built with any CMS.

We recommend: Salesforce, Zendesk, or HubSpot. Your developer will be able to assist by adding web-to-lead forms and platform-specific tracking codes to integrate your CRM with your static site. If you’re part of a larger data-driven team with multiple static sites to manage, you may also find it useful to add an intermediary service like Rudderstack to set up ‘event streams’ that your CRM can recognize.

Modern static sites offer the best of both worlds

Whatever integrations you might have relied upon on a WordPress or other dynamic site, you can rest assured that there’s an equivalent tool or service available for static websites. (And of course, many of the tools you use will already support static sites!)

As an added benefit of your switch to static, once you’re out of the WordPress plugin ecosystem your developer will be freed from the endless maintenance loop of updates, security concerns, and compatibility checks. Broadly speaking, the static approach (together with CMSs like CloudCannon) allow web developers more flexibility to configure their tooling and website integrations, or to more quickly pivot to new marketing tools or approaches as they emerge.

If you’re using a tool or service we haven’t mentioned, and would recommend it for other marketing teams on static sites, we’d love to hear about it — let us know!

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