RollingStone.com – A WordPress Migration and Redesign Case Study

Rolling Stone - Welcome to the New Rolling Stone!

This Case Study is published by the Make WordPress Marketing Team. Provided by XWP, a WordPress-focused engineering firm.

The Project

Rolling Stone is an exceptionally well-loved brand with millions of readers. When Penske Media Corporation (PMC) made a strategic investment in the property, they worked with XWP in 2018 to migrate the site to WordPress while refreshing the brand’s website design.

The Challenge

The challenges for the project included the need to move hundreds of thousands of articles while simultaneously executing a brand new design. Penske needed to trust that the transition was seamless for both readers and the editorial teams alike.

“From the start, we knew that this project would be a significant undertaking due to the vast amount of historical archive data, dating back to the 1960’s, and the brand’s massive fanbase. We approached this project with the necessary care and foresight to ensure a smooth migration and an end product that is built on solid technical grounding.”

Matt Geri | WordPress Architect, XWP

Why WordPress

Rollingstone.com was transitioning from a Content Management System (CMS) that lacked modern editorial features to enable their writers. Additionally, the prior system was missing many of development efficiencies needed to scale the platform to the next stage of growth for their brand. WordPress was quickly identified as the ideal solution because of the ability to create a great experience for content creators while also providing an enterprise-grade core platform to make further development more efficient with the goal of maximizing ad revenue.

The Obstacles

The migration to WordPress faced a few unique challenges. With over 250,000 articles in the backlog and millions of image and media attachments, this migration was also coupled with a full redesign of the website. New plans for editorial features to improve the publishing experience were also introduced as well as an integration with Penske’s existing WordPress website. The obstacles involved ensuring the migration accounted for the functional requirements while also delivering the brand new, high profile refresh of the brand’s online experience.

The Solution

Migration

XWP leveraged Google Cloud Platform to build a highly-scalable import process that handled the transformation of data and images into a WordPress compatible structure without any data loss. This migration process, as is the case with any large migration, was successful because of the time spent on architecting, building, and testing. When the time came to push the migrate button, it ran correctly and efficiently.

Code Quality

With performance, stability and security being the top priorities, code quality was a major priority to set the team up for success in the future. Custom plugins and themes give WordPress its competitive edge. Combined with WordPress VIP as the host, this set the site up for success at launch. XWP used Tide and custom code sniffs to ensure the plugins and themes met WordPress VIP’s coding standards without issue.

Editorial Experience

Rolling Stone regularly breaks down the music, film, and TV industry into list-style articles with a unique layout and design, giving readers a high-level view on a particular topic. The editorial needed an interface that would easily facilitate the production. Working with the editorial team to identify the UX requirements, XWP was able to do the following:

  • Provide ability to number and reorder list items;
  • Provide a custom focal-point image cropping too
  • Provide template selection based on the focus of the article.

Additionally, some of these list-style articles can contain 100’s of items, so implementing a custom pagination solution helped the end reader easily navigate through longer lists.

“This was one of our smoothest and most successful launches to date. Everyone who reviewed the site – both before and after launch – commented on the exceptional quality. This was down to an incredible effort led by you all, with a focus and dedication that was a joy to be involved in.”

Nicola Catton | Senior Project Director, PMC
Rolling Stone: The 100 Greatest Songs of the Century - so far

The Results

By project completion, Rolling Stone had successfully moved decades worth of digital content from their former system over to WordPress and was able to launch the new online expression of their beloved brand with complete confidence. Launch day proved that the focus on code quality and Quality Assurance paid off, with a public release without any hiccups. The business is now positioned to build on its strong historical foundation and move forward into the next phase of growth.

Key Takeaways

  • Smooth as silk launch day
  • Large and complex data migration
  • Improved editorial experience

#case-studies

Multilingual Site Consolidation for Savvii Managed Hosting

Radish Concepts was tasked with building a multilingual site to consolidate three sites into one for their client, Savvii Managed WordPress Hosting.

The Project:

Radish Concepts was tasked with building a multilingual site to consolidate three sites into one for their client, Savvii Managed WordPress Hosting. The main goals of the new website were first to increase (micro) conversions, then to reduce the time required to manage content and across multiple sites and finally to improve the creative options for multiple landing pages.

“Our old website slowed our marketing team down instead of enabling them. That is why we needed more creative options to easily build and tweak landing pages.” – Gijs Hovens, Marketing Manager at Savvii Managed WordPress Hosting.

The Challenge

The three sites were each originally created for a different language; therefore, multilingual capability was the primary challenge. Next there was a mission critical integration with inbound marketing platform HubSpot in order to truly enable the internal marketing team.  

The new solution needed to give their staff the ability to build creative landing pages on the fly without the need for a web developer. The timeline was also a challenge with a deadline of 90 days for the whole project. Finally, a major requirement was to allow Savvii the ability to maintain total creative control and avoid vendor lock-in.

Why WordPress?

The first driving factor for picking a platform was that the Savvii already had tremendous in-depth knowledge about hosting and familiarity in general with WordPress. Both Savvii and Radish Concepts agreed there were plenty of professional-grade plugins available to tackle the requirements of multiple languages and building landing pages in an easy manner. In addition to this, the creative control required an open source solution. It became quickly obvious that WordPress was the best choice.  

The Obstacles

Since increasing conversions was one of the main goals, a lot of time had to be invested in interviewing Savvii employees, clients, and prospects to distil personas, the main USP’s, and blocking factors. New photography was also needed since the design of the new website would be more light and open. These things required loads of time since appointments with so many people had to be managed.

The Solution

Radish Concepts decided on using a WordPress multisite in combination with MultilingualPress Pro and Advanced Custom Fields as a foundation for the website. MultilingualPress Pro takes care of managing content in different languages, with the different languages accessible through a subdirectory system (i.e. savvii.com/nl/, savvii.com/de/). Radish decided on Multilingual Press Pro since both teams agreed that it met their lightweight and multilingual speed solution needs on WordPress.

Advanced Custom Fields was used to create building blocks to help speed up the creation of new pages. These custom fields included modules like; content blocks, form blocks, call-to-action blocks, customer testimonial blocks, and many more.

A connection with POEditor was created to make the translation of strings in the theme itself easier. Savvii was already using POEditor to translate their control panel, so no new software was needed.

The Results

New landing page creation time went from multiple hours of development to a mere 15 minutes using the blocks, saving on both out-of-pocket expenses, and time for Savvii’s marketing staff.

Not only were they able to ensure rankings remained stable, early data also shows that the conversion rate on trial requests increased by 15%. Starting with a simple set of goals and discovering challenges in a project that required a quick turn around, Radish Concepts was able to leverage WordPress to help Savvii Managed WordPress Hosting achieve the site they wanted. Now, through a single central site, their marketing team is empowered to address multilingual users much faster and have far greater control over their web properties. Today the team spends far less time managing their technology and can better spend that time increasing conversions to grow their business.  

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How WordPress Easily Links Content and eCommerce to Complex Back-end Systems: A Case Study

Content and eCommerce can easily be integrated in WordPress by developing a complex back-end. Learn how in this case study.

Content and eCommerce can easily be integrated in WordPress by developing a complex back-end. Learn how in this case study.

The Project

HSM Informatika was in the market for a new eCommerce platform that integrated with their current legacy solutions including both their Customer Resource Management and Enterprise Resource Planning Software. Specializing in the distribution of software and hardware integration solutions for businesses, HSM Informatika has been an industry leader for over 20 years, and finally decided it was time to update their online presence. The end goal was to build an eCommerce website with the capability of presenting over 4000 products to their users.

The Challenge

The main challenge was combining their many content types into one central location, including their existing blogs, articles, micro-sites, and products. The primary driving factor for the rebuild was to move their system to a user-friendly platform that would improve the process of adding and editing content across the board. There was an existing website built on Joomla that served as the starting point, and that content needed to be migrated onto the new platform.

Why WordPress?

Their need for easy content editing and publishing combined with a mature eCommerce solution made WordPress with WooCommerce — the platform of choice.

The easy integration of WordPress with their current systems while extending their possibilities, was another big reason for choosing WordPress.

The Obstacles

“The main obstacle we faced when building the new platform was integrating with our client’s Customer Relationship Management and Enterprise Resource Planning systems. All within six months.” says Neuralab’s CEO.

Other notable additions during the project included an auditory option for the blind, re-organized and color coded project categories, a two-step filter and search wizard, all in wonderfully responsive format.

The Solution

The final product was integrated with HSM Informatika’s CRM and ERP systems within six months which required its own special API adapters to orchestrate the integrated content. Neuralab created both a custom theme and plugins for the HSM Informatika WooCommerce project and even included parts of their Salesforce plugin to meet the challenge.

The Results

Thanks to the new fully-integrated and easy-to-use platform, HSM Informatika has grown approximately 25% in the year following the release of the new website. The project was delivered on time adding accessibility and functionality that integrated their many systems into one easy to use platform that has been instrumental in their recent growth.
With their new efficient workflow allowing them to add content and products much faster than before, maintaining their website now requires much less of their time and effort, making this project an overwhelming success.

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Closemarketing & Java Traveler – WordPress Case Study

The highly personalized nature of the Travel Industry makes WordPress the perfect Content Management System to choose.The highly personalized nature of the Travel Industry makes WordPress the perfect Content Management System to choose.

The Project

Web developer Andry Tan of Closemarketing was tasked with creating a website for Java Traveller that allows users to freely customize tour packages for Java Traveller Indonesia, PT.

The Challenge

Java Traveller was looking to transform the level of customization that vacationers could use to tailor their online bookings. They were in the market for features such as the ability to select extra days, tour guides, add late pickups and other items, like an extra bed. This is an important factor for travel agencies who offer FIT (Fully Independent Travelers).

Andry knew WordPress was flexible enough to provide all of the technical requirements while remaining a simple Content Management System with huge community to support it. However there were no plugins that did all or enough of these custom actions available.

Why WordPress?

Thanks to the open architecture and experience with plugin development, Andry was able to custom develop all the requested user actions and integrate them into Java Traveller’s global pricing system. These include: twin sharing, extra bed, child not needing a bed, late pickup, upgrade options like a candlelight dinner and hiking, as well as tips from tour guides and more.

Given the tremendous amount of new content required in the travel industry, WordPress enables the staff to easily add new content, trip updates, and more to meet the needs of their global customers.

The Results

The resulting customization and quick ability for Java Traveller to update images and copy has enabled them to more efficiently target land tours, honeymoon trips, various cruises, general leisure trips, religious excursions, and more.

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A Drupal to WordPress Migration and a New Digital Culture of Creation

Moving from Drupal 7 to WordPress made sense for a business user like Capgemini, freeing free up much of the technical overhead and complexity surrounding content publishing and more.

Moving from Drupal 7 to WordPress made sense for a business user like Capgemini, freeing up much of the technical overhead and complexity surrounding content publishing and more.

The Project

Human Made helped Capgemini enable a new digital culture of creation with a robust, usable, and intuitive CMS to support them in delivering their business objectives and empowering their global network of teams to do their jobs effectively.

The Challenge

In 2012, Capgemini launched a series of websites using the Drupal 7 CMS platform. As the organization evolved, the demands on the platform increased significantly and their marketing & communications team experienced blockers at almost every stage of the publishing process.

Capgemini realized they outgrew their publishing platform. Because of this, it had become increasingly complex for the both the marketing & communications team and web operations team to manage.

Why WordPress?

Approaching the project, Capgemini had concerns that were centered around investing in a platform that could grow and evolve with their business through any future transitions and periods of growth. They wanted a CMS that had low barriers to entry for their users. This prevents a long and laborious onboarding period for publishers and their web operations team. WordPress ticked the box on almost every front; possessing a native capacity to publish content in a simple, easy-to-use dashboard, while also promoting a user-friendly experience for new users.

“We needed a system and a piece of technology that would force a reckoning of our team members to actually learn what digital publishing is, and what digital marketing means today, in a bunch of different cultures, languages, and markets.” Parker Ward, Director, Content Marketing and Communications

The Solution

The first thing the team did was enable editorial users to actually edit, modify, and update content on the website directly. WordPress does this natively — its inherent publishing capacity and the baked-in capabilities it has to facilitate editorial workflows were instantly impactful. This significantly improved the way in-house teams worked. The cost-effectiveness of migrating to WordPress was also a bonus. As a result, many of the publishing challenges Capgemini faced were instantly addressed without any additional need for a bespoke build.

The Results

Due to its popularity and usability, there was little in the way of a learning curve for the team to start using WordPress, enabling them to make the most of their new platform immediately. It also freed up their development team to tackle more difficult engineering problems and enabled more people across the organization to use and publish content from the site.

For business users like Capgemini, and for an organization of their size, WordPress has the capacity to free up much of the technical overhead and complexity surrounding content publishing, allowing content creators, editors, and developers to complete tasks much easier and achieve the results they require faster.

By the end of the project, a large portion of the Capgemini network had been moved from Drupal to WordPress, undergoing a complex migration of 38 sites and content syndication across their local and main sites, as well as rebuilding their entire platform architecture.

Other highlights include adding 1,400 new users to the platform and publishing over 20,000 pages which have impacted all their websites, spanning over ten languages.

#case-studies

Network Rail: A WordPress Case Study

Network Rail A WordPress Case Study, submitted by Wholegrain Digital, a London based Web Design Company.A WordPress Case Study, submitted by Wholegrain Digital, a London-based Web Design Company.

The Project

Network Rail owns and operates the entire railway infrastructure in the United Kingdom, managing 18 of the largest stations in England, Scotland and Wales. Network Rail delivers 4.5 million journeys a day for its customers, managing rail timetabling by working with several different partners across the UK. This project took place during the biggest upgrade of the network in 150 years and it’s aim was to similarly upgrade the website to make it easier for users to find the service they are looking for.

The Challenge

The challenge with this project was the number of different types of visitors to the website, who all arrive seeking different information to meet their needs. The website needed to appeal to all users, from employees (and potential employees!) to business partners, as well as those who are seeking up-to-date information on the ongoing upgrade works.

Why WordPress?

WordPress was the obvious choice for this project, being the best choice for enterprises and large organizations. The ability to create custom user roles was key in this project, as the site needed to be simple to use for the many people who would be managing it. This would ensure the content caters to a wide and varied audience.

The Obstacles

To address the challenge of ensuring the new site would appeal to a wide audience, a series of UX sessions were held with the client. This resulted in several user personas to ensure a full understanding of those who would be using the site, before approaching the design.

The Solution

The page templates were based on the defined users and then a custom theme based on these templates was created. To make sure the theme worked for Network Rail, several plugins and widgets were developed, including:

  • A custom career loader plugin to pull job opportunities through to the website
  • A feed loader plugin to automatically fetch and publish articles from Network Rail’s media partner
  • Several custom SiteOrigin widgets, in order to give content editors the ability to easily add specific styled content on any post, page or custom post type
  • A custom ‘approve posts’ plugin to allow specific user roles to suggest edits to posts and other user roles to approve and publish them
  • A custom ‘scheduling posts’ plugin to allow specific user roles to schedule changes to a post without affecting the live post.
  • Box and the SiteOrigin widget have been integrated in the site via a custom plugin. This allows editors to display folders and files from Network Rail’s Box account.

The Result

The new theme that was developed greatly improved the UX of the site and the various custom user roles make it much easier for Network Rail to manage them internally. The new design layout is also far easier for users to navigate and the site is now responsive across all mobile devices.

#case-studies

Case Study: Solving Local Issues with Multisite Qube Global

The Qube Global Software website required a full redesign and build to make it more accessible, interesting, and interactive. Read more to see how they solved those issues with WordPress.

A WordPress Case Study, submitted by Moove Agency, a WordPress web design agency & WordPress company from London.

The Project

The Qube Global Software website required a full redesign and build to make it more accessible, interesting, and interactive. Its previous content management system (CMS) provider had stopped offering web-development services, which had a knock-on effect on the digital marketing initiatives planned.

Qube Global Software was looking to create a better experience for its audience, increase leads, strengthen its brand, and ultimately improve their search engine rankings. Moove Agency took this project on and used WordPress to meet the goals Qube was looking to accomplish.

The Challenge

This was a large project, with a pretty elaborate list of requirements which included being mobile responsive and SEO friendly by design. To ensure their marketing efforts could continue with minimal effort and frustration, Qube wanted a user-friendly system that allowed for user and role management as well. To keep track of marketing goals, the project needed a simpler way to track conversion and to incorporate modern tools for insight, alongside an easy way for sharing of posts on social media.

Why WordPress?

Based on their experience with the previous CMS, choosing a popular and well-supported CMS that could grow and do everything required was of utmost importance when Qube Global Software commissioned its new website.

The Obstacles

Moving from six to eight new websites could be a potential SEO disaster which Qube wanted to avoid. Moove Agency had a team of experienced developers who devised a detailed plan for implementation of thousands of redirects, speeding up the process with a set of custom-developed scripts.

A challenge with WordPress Multisite is that its default setting does not support an easy content workflow. The same page cannot be easily pushed to the other sites and then edited from one place.

The Solution

WordPress Multisite was used to create just one master WordPress theme which was then multiplied seven times for local sites around the world. Search engines are a key channel in Qube Global Software’s international digital marketing strategy, which is why regional sites needed to be managed effectively and locally. WordPress Multisite made for a fantastic low-cost yet scalable solution for this project. Some extra development by Moove Agency enabled the client to manage all of its content from the global site and then push it into the regional sites.

Qube Global Software also wanted freedom and flexibility in building and maintaining the websites. Using Page Builder, they could do it all themselves. Template building, pages with two-column text, white paper download widgets, calls to action, and so much more.

Also, the marketing team members needed to be able to create new landing pages themselves, without having to rely on a web designer. Using the WordPress plugin Gravity Forms, they can easily create custom forms anywhere on the website, easily. As enquiries are so important for business, this was an awesome feature made possible through using WordPress.

The Result

Whilst the regional websites were being built, several tools were implemented to make tracking and reporting easy. Google Analytics and conversion tracking were set up, as were AdWords conversion tracking, social share tracking, and other tools for monthly reporting.

Combining the data these tools offer makes for some pretty great results:

  • 37% increase in the number of enquiries
  • 175% increase in mobile goal completions
  • 56% increase in visitor numbers
  • 30% increase in organic visibility

And best of all: a fantastic ongoing relationship between Moove Agency and its client, Qube Global Software. WordPress, WordPress Multisite, and its available plugins made it possible to create several awesome sites from one master theme. Choosing these tools was key in a successful and sustainable project, enabling teams to easily maintain their own websites.

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24 HR – React and REST API Case Study for Expohouse

WordPress offers more solutions than meet the eye. But what about advanced development? This case study features React and the REST API as preferred solutions.

WordPress offers more solutions than meet the eye. But what about advanced development? This case study features React and the REST API as preferred solutions.

This Case Study is published by the Make WordPress Marketing Team, provided by 24HR, a Digital Agency located in Stockholm, Sweden.

The Project

Expohouse, a full service trade fair retailer, was looking to have their site redesigned. Expohouse wanted a platform to support future development of interactive services coupled with the ability to update and edit the website. They needed a content management system (CMS) that was also a robust platform.

The Challenge

To build out the site, 24HR wanted to use the full power of React and WordPress without having to rely on complex custom coding solutions. The biggest challenge of this project was data retrieval. It needed to be done efficiently including custom queries, metadata, and term relations.

Why WordPress?

24HR is committed to the open, free, and well-supported platform that WordPress provides. Not only does it make things easier for both the developers and their clients, WordPress reduces costs considerably for both current and future investments. Constant updates, steady streams of new content, and a living community made WordPress their CMS of choice.
The Obstacles

Retrieving data for display in WordPress is usually relatively simple. Since Expohouse wanted to use a more modern approach with the React Javascript Framework, one that requires using the Rest API, 24HR was tasked with developing non-traditional solutions to gather and organize the data needed for this project.

The Solutions

One of the benefits of WordPress is its extensibility. It’s no different with the REST API endpoints. 24HR extended the REST API endpoints, easily allowing retrieval of specific pieces of data. They designed and created the new website for Expohouse to showcase their fair-trade business, putting their services, products and experience in focus. To complete the project, 24HR used their own custom routing framework, which they have plans to release to the WordPress community.

The Results

Using their custom React framework that selects the necessary page templates, 24HR provided their client with a fast, future-proof solution. This solution reliably provides the relevant data for every component on the site.

The design has been dramatically improved and Expohouse now has a fully-responsive site that runs almost entirely on JavaScript. The site is still able to use the awesome editorial features provided by WordPress. This frees Expohouse to quickly provide content updates, as well as ensure their site stays relevant with current technologies powering the web.

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Urban Southern Case Study

Urban Southern creates handcrafted, honest leather bags that simply fit your everyday. Made in the southern U.S.A. from full grain, locally tanned saddle leather.This Case Study is published by the Make WordPress Marketing TeamProvided by DigiSavvy, a full-service digital agency in Los Angeles.

The Project

Urban Southern knew that if they wanted to make a real run at being successful with their handcrafted leather goods retail website, they would have to level the playing field with their competition. Their existing website was running on an older Content Management System and the eCommerce solution in place was just not flexible enough.

The site was not providing the company with any sales conversions, which eventually forced them to seek professional assistance. Over a period of two years, they had amassed a mere total of just ten sales.

The Challenge

One of the biggest challenges of the project was the amount of time they had to completed it. Having only a minimal budget, the odds seemed to be stacking up against them. It was the first week of November and they insisted that their new site be ready by Black Friday, which was just about three weeks away.

The primary goal was to have a flexible solution that would allow them to create solid marketing strategies to promote their product lines. Ultimately, this translated to a need for a blog to work with the store and the ability to extend those aspects in the future.  

Another requirement was the ability to update and manage the site themselves as well as ensure that the platform was user friendly. The staff at Urban Southern was well versed in crafting fine leather goods, but the technical details of selling those goods online has been an unpleasant and exhausting venture for them.

Why WordPress?

Urban Southern wanted the ability to easily add content to assist in their marketing strategy, an easy to use interface, and a scalable product with room to grow in the future. They also wanted to ensure it was up to date with SEO standards, so their marketing attempts were not in vain.

With all the required functionality easily handled within the dashboard, WordPress just made sense. With the open source licensing and flexibility offered with plugins like WooCommerce, DigiSavvy was confident they could produce a quality site to launch in time for the big sale.

The Obstacles

Since the group already experienced such a heartbreaking beginning online, the goal was to help them launch their new site with momentum. The staff at Urban Southern was prepared to buy content aimed at promoting their business which would help drive their search rankings. They also needed the site to be accessible for both them and their target audience.

One of the biggest obstacles faced in this situation was the lack of development time that could be  allocated, since there was only a few weeks to design, develop, and test the site before its launch on Black Friday.

The Solution

In the end, DigiSavvy was able to build Urban Southern a brand new storefront using WordPress, Beaver Builder, and a custom designed WordPress theme. This was a complete design starting from a graphical mock up, utilizing WooCommerce to drive the retail portion of the site.

With the obstacles mentioned previously in mind, it was decided that Beaver Builder would be used for this project, which helped rapidly produce the information pages and offer a user friendly tool that could easily be passed to the client when the job was completed.

The Results

The new website allows for easy and quick creation of beautiful landing pages and as a result, sales have steadily risen since their site launch. The new website is also SEO and mobile friendly, which were two key factors missing from their previous website solution.

With the new WordPress website and its easy to use interface, Urban Southern now has the ability to create high quality content quickly and frequently. This has drastically improved their rankings, bringing them the online business they desired.

The site launched in time for Black Friday  and Urban Southern experienced their best sales day ever. Since that time, their lowest month of sales has been 49 orders and their sales and website stats are constantly improving.

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Unicef Case Study

This Case Study is published by the Make WordPress Marketing Team. Provided by Manifesto, a multi-award winning agency of creatives and technologists in London, UK.

This Case Study is published by the Make WordPress Marketing Team. Provided by Manifesto, a multi-award winning agency of creatives and technologists in London, UK.

The Project

Market research had revealed that Unicef UK, while well known for its work on the ground in the countries where it delivers aid, needed to improve their brand awareness. Unicef UK embarked upon a bold repositioning initiative to address this lack of brand recognition. Part of this repositioning required a redesign of their website with an focus on improving fundraising. Another important aspect of the project was to increase the impact of campaigns and advocacy by creating emotionally engaging user experiences. The hope was to drive users towards taking action.

Importantly, Unicef UK recognized that its website was no longer a technical fit for their purposes, having last been refreshed over six years ago. The site contained a multitude of out-of-date content spanning over 4,000 pages. The site was not mobile responsive, as they maintained separate mobile and blog websites, causing a confusing user experience. Working together with Unicef, Manifesto began the process to launch their new website. Continue reading

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