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Bento Nation: WMHT Goes Bento Complete

By Jen Carter, PBS Digital

In recent Bento Nation posts, we spoke to Nicole Rohr (@rohrrr), Interactive Content Editor/Producer for WYCC PBS ChicagoJacob Johnson, now former Web & New Media Producer at WNINBeau Waldrop, Web Communications Specialist at KACV and Mary Gribulis, Online Managing Editor, and Stephanie DelBelso, Online Production Assistant, WMHT, who, at that point, had launched their American Graduate microsite using Bento. All of these #localPBSers shared with us their experiences working in and with Bento.

Today, we are checking back in with Mary Gribulis and Stephanie DelBelso at WMHT as they share their station's approach and experiences launching their new site using Bento (left). 


WMHT's new Bento site.
1. Why did your station attend Bento training? 

From the moment I heard about Bento, I wanted to learn more. We were eager to find a way to manage our Web presence from within, rather than depending on an outside firm. Specifically, we wanted to learn more about building a site from the ground up with minimal cost. As part of our American Graduate grant, we were required to have a Web presence based on a template that was provided to us. We already worked in a few different content management systems and were not looking to add another. Our fabulous Online Production Assistant, Stephanie DelBelso, was able to take the American Graduate site template and build it in Bento. 

2. What are your thoughts on the product? Has this changed since you first started working on it? 

I really enjoy working in Bento. The Merlin integration is a highlight for me. It’s so awesome to be able to pull in contentlike previewsinto our home page and preview carousels without going to multiple sources and collecting individual elements. It’s a real timesaver. 


3. What are your favorite and least favorite features available in Bento now?

I love being able to pull in content from Merlin. It’s a real timesaver. The video and photo collections are also a convenient way to pull in content. 

Blogs are just about my favorite thing ever. They’re easy to use and a fantastic way to archive content. Stephanie and I are looking forward to training some of our producers and staff so that they can contribute to their own blogs. 

Smart Snippets have always been a favorite of ours. They make it easy to pull in outside content and create customized modules. 

Bento is very clean and well designed, but to take it one step further, we would love to be able to have some more customization capabilities in the responsive Explorer theme. Even just to change the overall background color. 

4. What would you like to see from the tool in the coming months? 

More customization capabilities, such as colors, would be great. We’d also like to see the schedule module updated, which we know is in the works. 

5. If you could give one piece of advice to stations thinking of a site migration, what would it be? 

Definitely consider SEO best practices. Think about all the pages you have and make sure your links have a home on your new site. If your site has been around for awhile, like ours, just breathe and have patience. There were some unexpected surprises on our end related to content that resided on our old server, but the SPI team was always available and happy to troubleshoot. We made it through with minimal issue. 

6. If you had to describe Bento in 140 characters what would you say? 

#Bento: Addictively-fun, easy-to-use tool for creating dynamic, custom websites backed by PBS power! We <3 @SPI_PBS!

Bento Nation is an on-going series that features pub media stations and the many ways they are using Bento to meet their digital needs. 

If you wish to use Bento for your site, please visit bento.pbs.org for more information.