The Best Optimizely Features, According to Team Nansen

Recently, Optimizely has received well-deserved recognition and shared strong success metrics for its web experimentation platform, a fantastic tool that Nansen team members know well. There’s more to Optimizely than tools for experimentation, however, including its excellent content management system (CMS). And while Optimizely’s CMS hasn’t been in the news as much as its experimentation platform of late, the Optimizely specialists on our team consider it a superlative tool that enables us to consistently deliver success for our clients.

Team Nansen prides ourselves on designing seamless, robust, and meaningful digital experiences. With customer expectations as high as they’ve ever been before, slight delays or outdated content can prompt an exit from an online experience, and the possibility that the user will never return. The key to maintaining an engaging, seamless digital experience is having a great CMS, like Optimizely.

Read on to learn more about some of the Nansen team’s favorite, possibly overlooked, Optimizely CMS features.


The Optimizely editor interface

Even highly experienced technical specialists appreciate simple, intuitive tools for web development. The Optimizely editor interface is a perfect example.



Nansen team members highlighted the drag-and-drop option for content blocks, including images and other media, as a key way that Optimizely makes it easy to build web pages, even for new users. 

Additionally, when it comes to content entry and editing, Optimizely’s CMS has two trees, one for pages and one for blocks and media. “This is what makes editing such an easy process with Optimizely,” says our Sr. Quality Assurance (QA) Lead Steve Smith.

Content entry and updates may not be the most thrilling part of our work, but getting them right is among the most essential things our team does. Optimizely’s editor interface and its intuitive tools make this critical task just a bit simpler for us.


Extensibility and flexibility of the editor

Beyond the options and tools built into the Optimizely CMS, the editor interface is also highly extensible, allowing users to develop custom widgets and properties easily.

Nansen Front End Technical Lead Patrick Waks took advantage of this extensibility to create a custom widget for easily selecting icons from the popular Font Awesome library. (He wrote about it here!) Patrick notes that it doesn’t require a “black belt” in development to create these features: “You can start small, and still make incredibly useful widgets.”



Optimizely’s flexibility also allowed our team, including Sr. QA Steve Smith, to create a Developer Tab, which allows anyone working on a given website to inject code directly onto a page or block without having to change the code base.

The Dev Tab is especially useful for servicing brands that run lots of one-off projects or new pages. If a new page or block needs to be fixed or adjusted, Steve and his team can use the Dev Tab instead of having to deploy new code, saving time and money for both Nansen and our clients.


Optimizely add-ons that rock

We love that the Optimizely team is responsive to user feedback and requests, and that they often build add-on features to enhance the platform. 

Nansen Senior Developer Alan Keegan highlighted two Optimizely add-ons that he uses often in his work for our clients: the Languages Add-On and the Block Enhancements Add-On.

Many brands that we work on sell products and services outside of the United States and other English-speaking countries. As such, they need to set up websites and content in other languages. The Optimizely Languages Add-On simplifies and accelerates this somewhat arduous process, in a few ways:

  • Adding a gadget to the editor interface that lets developers easily translate pages and blocks to other languages. 
  • Allowing for content to be copied from one language (say, English) to another.
  • Comparing differences between the two language versions.
  • Facilitating the “untranslation” of a page, which deletes a specific language version if for some reason that page is no longer wanted or needed.



Even very simple websites can be challenging to edit, when certain blocks are shared across multiple pages and others are specific to one page. The Optimizely Block Enhancements Add-On solves this and other problems, by making it clear to developers which blocks are “local” and which are not. This add-on also increases productivity, by allowing for opening and editing blocks in a modal while staying on the page being edited; no more navigating back and forth between different blocks and the page.


More about Nansen and Optimizely’s partnership

The commitment that the Optimizely team has shown to the evolution of its platform and tools is inspiring, and we are proud to be an Optimizely Silver Partner, with two platform MVPs on our team and hundreds of projects under our collective belt.

Discover more about our collaborations with Optimizely, including specific case studies, on our in-depth partner page.