Hot Banana Web CMSOntario-based Hot Banana Software, a strong contender in the Web CMS and Website Operations space recently unveiled their latest software update. The company claims that version 5.5, "takes Web CMS to the next level by integrating website optimization and marketing automation features. Notably the company has made changes to both its software as a service (SaaS) and licensed pricing. Their new tiered pricing structure targets small web teams, making the full set of Hot Banana tools more affordable for these smaller groups and organizations.In a recent statement Krista LaRiviere, Hot Banana's General Manager emphasized the company's intentions to take more of the small/medium Web CMS space, stating that “Hot Banana is throwing down the gauntlet and claiming the mid-market Web content management space. We’re now giving mid-size marketers advanced tools and controls for creating Web sites that are designed from the ground up to generate and convert leads and to handle complex online marketing campaigns. And we’re giving it to them at a price they can afford, in an off-the-shelf SaaS or licensed package that they can implement with or without IT assistance.” The latest development cycle concentrated on three key areas: # Traditional web content management operations -- empowering marketers to build sites and take control of their content # Website and web content optimization -- giving marketers the tools they need to fine-tune the marketing performance of their sites # Marketing automation tools -- enabling sales and marketing teams to capture site visitor information, contact details, and providing tools for lead conversion tracking and optimization Hot Banana is also focusing on making their price points more affordable. The company has introduced a three-tier model based on usage profiles: one to five users, six to 25 users and unlimited users. Hot Banana SaaS, the company’s hosted offering, starts at US$ 329 per month, while Hot Banana Licensed Software starts at US$ 4,999 for a perpetual license. On the high end of the pricing scale is a licensed-software offering that handles an unlimited number of users and URLs. This package runs US$ 27,999. “We’re the only Web CMS vendor with this laser focus on giving marketers total control,” said LaRiviere. “Our approach lets marketers focus all their energy on making sure the Web site content is fully optimized and automated, so their marketing campaigns can perform and outperform.” Key features of the 5.5 release include: * An industry-first “Analytics Center” that integrates several leading Web analytics tools, including the (recently acquired) ClickTracks, Google Analytics, IndexTools and WebTrends. Hot Banana automatically adds the proper tags to each Web page, based on the user’s preferred analytics vendor. Users can easily add additional Web analytics vendors. * Email marketing capabilities that transfer Web form data to the email marketing provider of choice, so this data can be leveraged in the next campaign. Best-practice design templates are included, so users can create emails, landing pages and corporate sites, all with the same consistent look and feel. * The ability to transfer Web form data to CRM systems, such as Salesforce.com. Hot Banana’s landing pages enable users to build Web forms that track lead sources and conversions. All the data captured in the Web form can be transferred to CRM, database or email-marketing software of choice. * A new “SEO Center” that consolidates Hot Banana’s built-in SEO tools and controls. Enhancements include 301 redirect and automated title attributes in hyperlinks. Users can also automatically create XML standards-compliant sitemaps, such as Google Site Maps, and register them with Google, Yahoo! and MSN. * An improved Rich Text Editor that enables users to quickly and cleanly cut, paste and filter documents and tables from Microsoft Office and other programs. * A “Dynamic Content Engine” that borrows tagging tricks from social networking sites – so content authors can categorize and tag their own content. This feature is ideal for managing large volumes of content for online publications and publishers. Web site visitors can search content by tag, categories, title, author and abstract.