The Array: Largest Advertising & Marketing Agencies in St. Louis – CMS & Hosting

We’re introducing a new series on our blog called “The Array”. Each month, we are going to take a list of URLs, complete a website analysis, and find out what we can learn about how different industries and cohorts build their websites. This month’s list is from the St. Louis Business Journal and looks at the Largest Advertising & Marketing Agencies in St. Louis.

After picking a domain, figuring out how you are going to build your website and where it’s hosted are important steps when building a website. While certainly not as important as your branding and messaging, if your site is broken because you chose the wrong provider, then that will be what your users remember regardless of how cool your site looks or how beautifully your words are crafted.

How are we going to build it?

Picking the right Content Management System (CMS) or Framework will determine how easy or difficult it will be when you or your team needs to update the site in the future. The decision usually starts somewhere between “build from scratch,” a Framework, a CMS, or a Web Builder.

In St. Louis Agency Websites, WordPress is over-represented in Content Management with 56% compared to the estimated 43% of all websites. Additionally, newcomer Webflow is about 10X the average usage online. Interestingly we only found one other web builder, Squarespace represented. Likely this is due to the perceived limitations of Web Builders.

Tenacity Note: We almost exclusively use WordPress, but newer tools like Webflow are interesting; in fact, we just performed our first Webflow Page Speed Optimization.

Where’s this gonna live?

Web hosting matters! If you go too cheap, you are going to share hosting resources with 100s or even 1000s of sites. While the decision between Shared, Cloud, or Dedicated is difficult to determine, who is picked as the hosting provider may help the management of future issues.

We found that most Agency Websites used Cloud Hosting (36%) and only quarter (25%) were only using a Traditional or Managed host.

Hosting Type# of Websites
Cloud Hosting9
Traditional or Managed6
CDN5
Dedicated or Colocation Provider3
Web Builder2

It should be noted that we do see false positives with some of the managed hosting providers and some web builders. Additionally, if the site is behind a CDN, it becomes nearly impossible for us to determine the host. 

Amazon was the most popular single company providing hosting services for the Largest Advertising & Marketing Agencies in St. Louis.

Other Hosting Providers included: Advanced Hosters, Connectria, DigitalOcean, Liquid Web, Rackspace Hosting, Squarespace, and TierPoint.

Tenacity Note: We generally recommend absolving yourself of IT Management unless absolutely necessary. Whether that means working with a managed host like Cloudways, WP Engine, and Nestify, or hiring a local agency or IT Provider to provide hosting services.

Getting Closer to Your Audience

Content Delivery Networks or CDNs allow you to get your data physically closer to the end user, provide a high-speed infrastructure, all while adding a layer of security. The use of CDNs is not only as a proxy for hosting; it can also deliver static assets, which is very common for JavaScript libraries. Forty percent of the Advertising & Marketing Websites used CDNs to deliver static assets.

DNS, it’s like a Phone Book Contacts for Your Website

The Domain Name System (DNS) connects your domain with the IP Address of the computer that hosts your website, similar to the way your Contacts connect names to a phone number. The provider for this usually falls into a few categories Registrar, Webhost, CDN, Premium/Cloud, or Custom. The two most popular DNS options were Premium/Cloud, 32 percent, and Registrar, 28 percent.

Tenacity Note: We’ve found that DNS is a relatively low-priority service for both Registrars and traditional Webhosts. As performance optimization experts, we are always looking for ways to “buy” more load time. We’ve found that Premium, Cloud, and CDN Nameservers provide the best performance overall.

WordPress being the most popular CMS for these Agencies was unsurprising, but having 16% with no CMS detected was. We wonder whether these sites are fully custom built or not, and taking advantage of a tested, widely used platform while obfuscating its identity. Further, we found the move to Cloud-based hosting surprising, but these are the Largest Agencies, so they may have the staff to manage the hosting infrastructure. Though it should have been expected with everything moving to the Cloud. How are you leveraging Cloud Hosting? Or are you still on a traditional Shared Host? Let us know in the comments!

Check out our next post in The Array, where we check out the Privacy & Security of the Largest Advertising & Marketing Agencies in St. Louis.

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