Perch is nine!

Here’s nine ways to use Perch

Today marks nine years since the first public launch of Perch v1.0. In that time, Perch has matured from being a tiny content editor to a very small family of flexible content management tools.

To celebrate the occasion, and to highlight just how far Perch has come in that time, here’s nine ways you can use Perch and Perch Runway.

Build a small business website

Of course, the primary goal for Perch is to be a quick, flexible solution for building small business websites. We were tired of seeing people make a bad job of shoehorning blogging platforms to publish page-based content mired in a mess of HTML from WYSIWYG editors.

Perch has always been intended as a solution that makes sense for small agencies and freelancers to use to build fast, easy to maintain sites that their clients will be happy to use. That’s not changed over the last nine years. Perch is still the best CMS for those small business clients.

Retrofit to a static site

Another reason little old Perch has been a big deal is that it doesn’t require you to turn your entire site into some sort of theme just to make a few bits of content editable.

If you have an existing site without any dynamic technology behind it, you can drop Perch in and convert flat HTML files into content managed pages without a lot of time and effort. Perch doesn’t try to take control of your entire site, it just steps in where you want it to.

Manage content within a larger web app

That ability of Perch to step in where needed makes it perfect for using as part of a larger system. Many customers are using Perch to manage marketing copy and microcopy within their PHP based web apps and services.

If you build a product using something like a PHP MVC framework, Perch can happily slot in and give you a way to enable non-developer colleagues to log into a simple system and keep content up to date. Be that copy on the home page, legal notices, or just down to the call-to-action text on a button. It can all be managed easily with Perch.

Build campaign landing pages

For those times when you need to spin up a quick set of pages for a digital marketing campaign, it’s not always convenient to add them to your main website. Perhaps the team responsible need to move on different timescales to those who manage your main site, or the pages might be short-lived and will be thrown away in a few weeks. Either way, it can be convenient to set up a dedicated microsite.

Perch is perfect for this. Being fast to develop with and inexpensive to license, you can be up and running with a new microsite in no time at all. And when you’re done, just tear it all down.

Share content between web and mobile apps

With businesses engaging with an increasing number of digital platforms, it’s not uncommon to want to publish the same content to different places. Perhaps news updates that once just got published to a website now also need to be pushed out to iOS and Android apps.

Perch Runway has a headless CMS mode that will serve JSON feeds rather than web pages. Those feeds can be consumed by a JavaScript app on your site, or by any number of other platforms and devices. This enables you to centrally manage one set of content that can be distributed everywhere it’s needed.

Sell things!

We all need to sell things from time to time. That might be something simple like a single ebook or a zip of some software, or something complex like an entire catalogue of products that need international shipping.

The Perch Shop add-on is a free solution that can help you build a custom ecommerce flow and get trading in no time.

Run a membership site

Sometimes not all the content you publish on your site is for public consumption. With the free Members add-on you can create user logins and restrict parts of your site to only the types of users you want to admit.

That makes Perch useful for building extranet sites for distributed teams, for publishing restricted content for clubs or churches, or, when paired with Perch Shop, for building a site where you charge for access to premium content.

Manage content for your Static Site Generator

There are some cases where you might want to use a static site generator (SSG) to build and publish a website rather than a dynamic system like Perch. Typically those systems build a site from files that can be difficult for non-technical users to work with.

Using Perch Runway in headless mode, you can have those users manage content with a standard web interface, and have your SSG build process consume the JSON that Perch produces as a result. The best of both worlds.

Publish a book

Perch is optimised for producing websites, but its templates can output any sort of text-based format. Perch uses structured content fields rather than asking users to sink all their content into a big WYSIWYG silo. That means the content can be repurposed in different ways, even for things like ebooks.

When we wanted to publish a ebook of articles from the site, Perch enabled us to create a set of templates to output the content in a format that could be read directly into ebook authoring tools and we were away.

Bonus: pay once and keep control

There are endless products and services that will perform variations on the above for a monthly fee with your content held somewhere in the cloud. Perch installs on your own server, with all the content held in a jurisdiction you control. That means you keep ownership of everything, and can keep it running for however long you need to.

Perch has come a long way in the last nine years, but it’s still true to those core values. You can buy a Perch license for your website for $69, plus tax. Perch Runway is just $249, plus tax. You can download and try both locally, for free, today.