It’s not uncommon for a client to request a custom integration between their existing software and any new systems they plan to implement. I’ve seen (and built) integrations with SAP, Salesforce, legacy applications, and many others. In the case of website development (something we do frequently at Springthrough), connecting a content management system with other platforms can take a website from a marketing brochure to an actual tool.
One of our marketers made that request just a few months ago.
At the beginning of the year, Springthrough started building a new website (which will launch in a few weeks). We had new software tools, new team members, and a new process that made now the right time. Ultimately, we wanted to deliver timely, and relevant content to our clients, potential clients, and potential team members.
Before the website development began, the Marketing Lead started using HubSpot for digital marketing activities like posting to social media, managing contacts, and hosting our blog. When we began building our new website in the Sitefinity Content Management System, we decided to keep the blogging feature of HubSpot for Phase I. Our website would be hosted in Sitefinity with our blog hosted in HubSpot.
It would be simple enough to add navigation to include a blog hosted on another platform, but we ran into a challenge when the website design instructed us to show blog posts related to the content of a web page. Marketing said this was a necessary feature. So it was my job to create a way to connect the two systems.
How I Did The Work
It was important that I know what the systems had to offer and what they didn’t. First, I looked at the HubSpot API and found that you could either pull all of the blog posts together or the single most recent post. You couldn’t sort them by other fields. We wanted the blog posts to filter their display based on the content of the web page, so I built a new rule for our website.
I used the HubSpot API to pull the data I would need - information like title, date, author, and most importantly, topic. Then I vetted through the options available from Sitefinity to import that data into our web pages. Within Sitefinity, I could either create an Inbound Pipe function or a Scheduled Task.
The Inbound Pipes allow you to push or pull data, but they would require me to build a lot of baseline work to set up the function. Instead, I went the route of the Sitefinity Scheduled Tasks. The scheduled tasks allow me to schedule the task of pulling data from HubSpot as frequently as we want. Since we generally publish one or two blog posts a week, we decided that daily pulls would be sufficient. By using this feature, blog posts would pull from HubSpot and import into the Sitefinity blog module (a pre-built function of Sitefinity).
The Value of This Project
The new website will offer related content to the reader, giving him more content that is relevant to what he is reading. It will give a personalized sense to the experience. We want to encourage viewers to interact with the topic that interests them. Another benefit of this integration, is that Springthrough can easily switch to using the Sitefinity blog in the future. All of the data is already integrated and available.
At Springthrough, we value learning on a daily basis as well as taking action on what we learn. I took a request by our system user and researched a solution – adding to our collective experience base. It can take what we offer, one step further.