How Microsoft’s Will Tuttle Uses Content Analytics to Shape Xbox Wire’s Success

Lessons in content analytics from Microsoft and Xbox Wire

The companies winning the content game in 2021 have two distinguishing characteristics: First, they know why their context exists. Second, they use content to achieve their goals.

It’s no longer enough to analyze the performance of content by its impact on the top of the funnel. Instead, marketers have to approach content analytics through the totality of the funnel—how effective is content at converting readers into buyers?

That’s the question Will Tuttle asks himself every day. He’s the Senior Communications Manager for Microsoft’s Xbox Wire. Launched in 2013 as a press site, Xbox Wire quickly became one of the hottest destinations for gamers to learn about new releases, product launches, and more. It’s now published in six languages and contributes millions to Microsoft’s revenue.

Lending his analytics expertise, Will joined WordPress VIP CEO Nick Gernert and Head of Parse.ly Sachin Kamdar in our recent webinar Behind the Acquisition: How WordPress VIP and Parse.ly Are Transforming the Way Content Teams Work, which you can watch on-demand.

Below, we present his first-person take on how better content analytics have transformed the way Xbox Wire approaches its content marketing—with lessons for all content marketers.

Asking (and answering) better questions

“When I started, page views were still the end all, be all of analytics and metrics. While that’s certainly a good thing to look at—and easy for non-analytics users to understand—there’s much more we can be doing. It can be hard to get the full picture when you’re just combing through spreadsheets and page views, adding up things and finding averages.

“It’s important we find ways to use [analytics] wherever we can to inform what we’re doing. Whether that’s figuring out what’s bringing people to the site, or how we can best keep them there. What sort of things they’re doing after reading an article? That’s always a big one for me: are they just bouncing or are they sticking around and reading other stuff? If so, what stuff?”

Empowering teams (and reducing manual effort)

“I want our analytics to work for me. I don’t want to be working for the analytics. I spend a good chunk of my time just pulling numbers for people—fielding requests like, ‘How did this article do?’ or, ‘How many page views did it get?’ Part of analytics is figuring out ways we can empower people to find their own answers.

“I’ve been looking into ways that we can auto-generate reporting, where we can anticipate what’s going to be asked of us, especially in terms of article performance or news performance. Where we say, ‘Okay, we know that this team is going to need these numbers on Thursday of next week.’ It’s about empowering those teams to have the information that they need before they even realize they need it.”

Uncovering audience insights to drive content strategy

“Recently, we had a story on Black History Month. We saw huge traffic numbers and weren’t sure where they were coming from. It took digging, but we found a huge number were using the Microsoft Edge browser on the Xbox console itself. Normally, it’s minuscule. [Here it was] like 99% of hundreds of thousands of views on the story.

“We figured out that the story was shared on the Xbox dashboard. When you turn on your console, it’s right there. People were clicking on it, saying, ‘Oh, I want to learn more.’ It was taking them to Xbox Wire on their console.

“That was eye-opening for us. We didn’t think of [the console] as a place where people read content. We figured people just want to play their games or watch Netflix. But there was a ton of engagement there. That was a really exciting thing for us. Just seeing that audience there that we didn’t realize was actually there in the first place. Now we’re looking at different ways we can do that again.”

Finding an approach that converts

“Storytelling is about empathy. It’s about understanding what your reader wants and giving that to them without making them feel like they just wasted a bunch of time or just been sold or pitched to. Be authentic. You don’t want folks to feel like they’re reading a corporate blog or getting their news from sterile corporate environments.

“Rather, have a tone of voice that doesn’t make it feel like it’s a sales pitch. We find that that type of engaging content really resonates with people more and it makes them more likely to purchase a product or download a service.”

Content so good, revenue is no accident

“We never considered revenue as one of our key focuses. Revenue generated directly by Xbox Wire has grown exponentially over the last couple of years and been directly responsible for millions of dollars in sales—basically, without [us] even trying.

“Not spending time scrolling through spreadsheets has been a boon to me. I can focus more on the content creation and strategy part of my job. Finding the right tools is a huge, huge part of it. It allows us to embrace our role as storytellers, more than just product marketers.”

The 5 Agile Content Management System Trends Reshaping the Digital Landscape

In 2019, 85% of executives went to sleep at night with the view that digital was a nice-to-have, according to senior analyst Nick Barber, author of The Forrester Wave: Agiile Content Management Systems Q1 2021.

Now, at the one-year anniversary of the global lockdown, we know better: in 2020, if your business wasn’t digital, you couldn’t compete. Simply put, digital agility was the difference between success and failure.

And, Nick predicts, we’re not switching back. Consumers will continue to order groceries, buy gifts, make bank deposits online, far after the pandemic is over. In this climate, agile content management has emerged as one of the most critical capabilities for businesses to deliver a meaningful customer experience.

In fact, Forrester calculates 30% of companies are looking to replatform their CMS to deliver a better digital experience.

In Nick’s analysis of the content management landscape, he identified five trends that separate agile content management solutions from their outdated counterparts. They’re below and also highlighted in our recent webinar How Agile Content Management is Reshaping the Digital Landscape.

1. Demand for an enterprise content hub

A content hub is a data store that centralizes all of an organization’s content in a single repository, providing the flexibility to create once, publish everywhere. Via APIs, it can also separate, or decouple, the editorial experience from the customer-facing technology where all the content is displayed.

Additionally, content hubs provide adaptability for technology teams to iterate on the end-user experience without impacting the editorial workflow. It’s a one-stop-shop for both practitioners and developers, which drives efficiency across the content lifecycle. A content hub can take many different forms, and one of the most popular is digital asset management, or DAM.

2. Emergence of collaboration and planning tools

Content is now a core business capability, so a modern CMS must facilitate cross-functional collaboration. Organizations need dedicated tools with intuitive workflows to take the heavy lifting out of creating, managing, and delivering content. Unlike the previous emphasis on decoupled, or headless, CMS, the best new agile content management solutions bring developers and creatives together on a single platform.

3. Rise of omnichannel content experiences

“Omnichannel is the rule rather than the exception,” explained Nick in our webinar. Agile content management systems are all about embracing the reuse of content across multiple channels and devices.

Fifteen years ago, organizations focused on delivering content via their website. Next came the creation of mobile applications. Now, channel delivery is exponentially more complex. Think voice assistants, connected cars, digital signage, points of sale. And each touchpoint requires thoughtful content to engage consumers and deliver a delightful customer experience.

The upshot? It doesn’t make sense anymore to create channel-specific content. To keep pace, business leaders must upgrade their content platform (and delivery) to think omnichannel-first.

4. Need for flexible deployment options

It’s no surprise that flexibility and extensibility are two hallmarks of a successful CMS. Both front-end components and back-end architecture in an agile content management system must be customizable to serve an organization’s unique needs.

And because the digital landscape is ever-changing, this flexibility needs to be supported by extensive documentation, training, and community to empower practitioners and developers to leverage their tools to bring a brand vision to life.

5. Hunger for analytics that drive business insights

Content drives growth, and there is no better way to prove its business impact than to measure it and continually improve it. But how do you prove the ROI of content and commerce experiences, beyond simply measuring clicks?

Content analytics is one side of the equation: a deep dive into real-time data will exponentially improve the business impact of content over time. Equally important is an analysis of the upstream content creation process. An agile content management system allows organizations to study and optimize content delivery to create faster speed to value.

The takeaway: A modern agile content management system

Agile CMS is a new model for all content and all users—making it easier than ever to create, deliver, and measure content to fuel enterprise growth.

For a deeper understanding of the market opportunity of agile content management systems, watch our on-demand webinar, How Agile CMS is Reshaping the Digital Experience Landscape.

If you’re evaluating agile content management systems, you can also download Nick Barber’s full report, The Forrester Wave: Agile CMSes Q1 2021. You’ll understand the capabilities of 15 agile content management offerings on the market, and how WordPress VIP can meet your needs.

5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Enterprise Content Platform

Forrester, a leading analyst firm, predicts 25% of brands will improve the quality of their customer experience in 2021.

The surprising part? How those gains are made.

According to Forrester’s customer experience predictions, the majority of customer experience gains enterprises realize come from “finding and fixing problems, often in their back-end systems and processes.”

Content is at the heart of a digital customer experience. Addressing infrastructure problems in the content creation lifecycle helps enterprise marketers create more effective content at every stage of the customer experience journey.

If improving the quality of your digital customer experiences is a business goal this year, answering five questions can tell you if it’s time to upgrade your enterprise content platform.

1. Are there unnecessary steps in your content creation process?

Getting to market quickly is essential to delivering timely and relevant content to your audience. Unfortunately, many content platforms lack the flexibility that modern teams require. Consider how long it takes your team to move a piece of content from ideation to implementation across your channels. Is it easy for creators to bring life to your brand vision, or do you wait days for simple website updates?

Choosing an enterprise content platform that suits the needs of both your creators and developers shortcuts the content creation process by empowering everyone on your team to get their jobs done quickly.

For example, one WordPress VIP customer reported a 60% improvement in time to publish after adopting the WordPress block editor.

“We’ve probably employed 300 people in the last three years and a large percentage of those have actually used WordPress before. It’s an easier system to use,” said Joel Davies, Head of Operations at News UK.

That ease of use translates into real business value when it leads to decreased training time and higher quality content.

Is it easy for creators to bring life to your brand vision, or do you wait days for simple website updates?

2. How much time are your developers spending on basic maintenance?

Creating innovative digital customer experiences requires technical talent. Yet in most of our conversations with prospective customers, we find their developers and engineers are spending most of their time maintaining infrastructure instead of contributing to business goals.

Talk with your technical leaders to understand where your developers are investing time. Are they free to execute your product roadmap, or are they bogged down in performance improvements and software updates?

“Using WordPress VIP means that my team can focus on being creative and innovative, rather than spending time worrying about architecture,” reported the VP of Technology of Hachette Book Group.

Promoting creativity and innovation on your technical team will not only have a significant impact on your bottom line, but can also improve employee satisfaction and retention. All that from an enterprise content platform? We see it happen every day.

3. How strong is your site performance?

Speed and performance matter in your digital customer experience. One Google study found that as page load time goes from one second to three seconds, the probability of a user bouncing increases 32%. From one second to five seconds, it increases 90%. High traffic should be a cause for celebration, but for many enterprises, it’s a cause for concern: will your site shine on your biggest day, or will it crash when you need it most?

Peace of mind is one of the biggest benefits for WordPress VIP customer FiveThirtyEight, who served 1.3 billion pageviews the week of the 2020 U.S. presidential election. Through it all, WordPress VIP’s server time stayed flat at 144 milliseconds, delivering a lightning-fast experience for every visitor. Instead of worrying about performance or uptime, their team could focus on delivering content to readers all over the world.

“Using WordPress VIP means that my team can focus on being creative and innovative, rather than spending time worrying about architecture.”

Ryan Pugatch, VP Technology, Hachette Book Group

4. How easy is it to publish your content across multiple platforms?

One of the biggest challenges in consumer expectations is the “always-on” mentality. Your brand needs to deliver exactly what your customer is looking for, where they want it, when they want it, across an ever-growing number of platforms, channels, and devices.

To meet that demand, smart enterprise marketers adopt a “create once, publish everywhere” approach. Even then, it’s not easy to build a cohesive brand experience across every channel.

Rachael Trost, Product Manager at Accuweather, knew content was a key competitive advantage for her company, but her legacy CMS stunted her ability to reach their audience. So she turned to WordPress VIP to support a decoupled (or headless) WordPress setup connected to the REST API. “The headless implementation has been fantastic … to serve articles, videos, landing pages, various alerts, things like that,” she explained in a presentation on decoupled WordPress.

Are there channels you’d like to use to connect with your customer, but aren’t sure how? Instead of the one-size-fits-all approach of many digital experience platforms, your content goals are better served by an agile content platform enhanced with customizable plugins, integrations, and APIs to meet audience needs.

You should never pay for anything that doesn’t positively impact your revenue growth.

5. Are you paying for anything in your enterprise content platform you don’t need?

Each year, marketers are asked to do more with less.

So take a long, hard look at the cost of your current enterprise content platform. Of course, assessing your total cost of ownership can be troubling, even humbling—you might be paying too much for services you don’t use or need. Or underinvesting and limiting your growth and flexibility because your platform offers little more than hosting.

The majority of digital experience providers fall in the first category: bundling expensive solutions into what essentially becomes shelfware, or locking you into a vendor ecosystem where the answer to any problem is “Buy this new product.”

Instead, WordPress VIP works with each customer to assemble the best enterprise solutions, experts, and global agencies from the large open source community to address their unique long-term growth goals. While an enterprise content platform is always an investment, you should never pay for anything that doesn’t positively impact your revenue growth.

A better digital customer experience in 2021

As you look ahead to this year’s growth goals, remember that the biggest improvements in your digital customer experience will be made from the ground up.

Take a moment to ask yourself: “Are my content tools agile, giving my creators and developers the freedom and flexibility we need to scale engaging digital experiences? Or am I locked into pricey marketing clouds that create unnecessary obstacles for my team?”

Modern digital customer experiences require a flexibility that is hard to find outside the enterprise WordPress ecosystem. If it’s time to rethink your enterprise content management infrastructure, remember: no one does content better than WordPress, the software powering 30% of the Fortune 100. And no one does enterprise WordPress better than WordPress VIP. Get in touch to learn more.

How FiveThirtyEight Shattered Traffic Records with Zero Downtime During the U.S. Election

Raise your hand if you found yourself endlessly hitting the ‘refresh’ button on your browser the week of November 3.

Yep, us too. Including those of us who were heads-down powering the sites serving late-breaking election updates to every corner of the globe.

With so many customers in the news business, election season is always a busy one for WordPress VIP.

The WordPress VIP team was responsible for at least a handful of the billion page views FiveThirtyEight served during election week in the U.S.

High scale, zero headaches for FiveThirtyEight

Four years ago, we saw landmark traffic spikes for customers like FiveThirtyEight, who posted in a single day the amount of traffic we expect the largest-scale sites to power in an entire week.

 

This year, FiveThirtyEight shattered its own record, serving close to 1.3 billion pageviews from Monday-Friday during election week. On Tuesday night alone, their site served 132,000 requests per second, with WordPress VIP’s server response time staying flat at 144 milliseconds.

A chart of FiveThirtyEight's site performance during the U.S. presidential election
FiveThirtyEight served 132,000 requests per second on election night in the U.S. while server response time stayed flat at 144 milliseconds.

Engineered for peak performance

A win like that doesn’t just happen by chance.

One of the benefits of WordPress VIP’s approach to customer success is our true partnership with each of our customers. We knew far ahead of time that customers like FiveThirtyEight would experience massive demand during election week, so we collaborated closely with them to make sure they were ready to shine on their biggest night of the year.

 

In the weeks leading up to the election, our dedicated team of engineers coordinated with FiveThirtyEight’s engineers and their development agency 10up (a WordPress VIP Gold partner) to improve cache efficiency and ensure their sites were optimized for the extraordinary traffic they were expecting, freeing them to focus on delivering content to readers all over the world.

Election season is stressful for everyone involved, but our biggest goal was to help our customers breathe a little easier knowing WordPress VIP and 10up were hard at work on their behalf. There’s no greater satisfaction than celebrating their success. If you need a partner to help your digital experiences shine, don’t hesitate to reach out.

3 Ways an Integrated CMS and Ecommerce Platform Can Boost Growth

A graphic image drawing the connection between an agile CMS like WordPress VIP and an ecommerce platform like WooCommerce

Electrocomponents is a 70-year-old company whose mission is to deliver innovation and inspiration to engineers worldwide so that they can do their business better. And we’re talking about a lot of engineers: across six lines of business, Electrocomponents serves 500,000 products to 1 million customers in 80 countries each year. In a single day, Electrocomponents will ship upwards of 50,000 packages.

Click here to watch the webinar: Leveraging Your CMS to Fuel Ecommerce Growth

In 2019, Electrocomponents launched its first direct-to-consumer business line, OKdo, focused on serving the single board computing (SBC; think Raspberry Pi) and the Internet of Things (IoT) markets. OKdo provides end-to-end support for all SBC and IoT segments, spanning makers, entrepreneurs, industrial designers, educators, and reseller partners.

Adrian Goodman has worked for Electrocomponents for over 20 years, and he’s now the Senior Digital Product Owner for OKdo. Last year, WordPress VIP and our agency partner Box UK collaborated closely with Adrian and his team to launch OKdo’s global ecommerce platform, powering sites in seven markets across three continents and six languages, supporting multiple currencies and complying with global tax and trade regulations. (Get the full story in this case study.)

We recently had an opportunity to chat with Adrian and Allie Brock, Product Owner at Box UK, about their experience building and operating OKdo’s new global ecommerce platform at scale.

In the course of the conversation, Adrian revealed the key to OKdo’s success so far: adopting an ecommerce platform that integrates natively with their CMS—in their case, WooCommerce and WordPress VIP. (Be sure to check out the webinar for more insights!)

 

 

1. Increased flexibility

One of the benefits of choosing an integrated CMS and ecommerce platform is increased flexibility. “We’re a very small team at OKdo,” Adrian explained. “We’re part of a large organization, but our team is very small. Having the entire platform integrated helps us be nimble.”

From the beginning, Allie knew WordPress VIP and WooCommerce would be a great fit for OKdo’s needs. “To me, having content and your ecommerce platform together seems natural,” she elaborated. “Any gap in connecting those together leads to delay.”

“It literally was a Friday lunchtime idea and it was live by Monday.”

—Adrian Goodman

2. The ability to quickly spin up new offerings

Another benefit is the ability to get to market quickly. “With a B2C business model,” Allie said, “you’re not just marketing a product—you’re marketing an idea.” And bringing new ideas to life requires tools that empower rapid product launches.

One example: when the UK received notice earlier this year that schools would be closing to limit the spread of COVID-19, Adrian knew OKdo could help.

“We hit on a campaign called Kits for Kids. We had a bit of a flash of inspiration that we could pull something together to create a value-add offer targeted at children and families at home trying to learn something and keep occupied,” Adrian said.

Luckily Adrian’s team had recently upgraded to Gutenberg, the WordPress block editor, which made it super simple to create new branded, modular product pages and launch them within days across multiple markets. “It literally was a Friday lunchtime idea and it was live by Monday.”

To promote the offering, OKdo employees took kits home and recorded videos of their own kids playing with the product. They pushed it out on social and generated strong engagement. “It was quite popular,” said Adrian. “It wasn’t about making a ton of revenue—it didn’t set the accountants’ hearts beating. But it did help build the brand.” And as a fairly new company, building brand awareness is a huge win.

3. Bringing out the best in your team

Finally, an agile CMS can bring out the best in your team. Easy tools with intuitive workflows enable each contributor to deliver quality work in a timely manner instead of wasting their time wrestling with clunky software.

Allie has seen this dynamic play out in real-time with WordPress VIP and WooCommerce at OKdo.

“Last week we had a product launch with OKdo that involved updating products, creating a landing page, creating a press release, making changes to the home page, updating the hero, all of that kind of stuff. And it all being in the same system meant that people who are experts at managing products also became experts at creating content.”

Planning ahead

When asked about the future of OKdo, Adrian emphasized the role of content in OKdo’s ongoing business growth.

“We want to reach as many customers as we can, through not just product but through content as well.” The SBC and IoT markets are both expanding rapidly, and Adrian knows OKdo will need to be proactive to compete with players like Google and Amazon.

With WordPress VIP and WooCommerce, he’s got a game plan for success. “It’s more content, it’s better content; it’s more product, it’s better product, and doing it all at scale.”

Under the hood of Google’s Web Stories for WordPress

Paul Bakus, head of AMP and Creator Relations at Google, recently joined business leaders, product people, and enterprise developers at BigWP to share a live demo and behind-the-scenes look at an exciting new offering: Google’s Web Stories.

Aren’t stories old news?

Yes and no. Stories have become ubiquitous on most major social media platforms— think Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat. However, Paul argues these implementations of stories emphasize “ephemerality” (they’re meant to disappear) and “casual creation” (they look homemade).

With Web Stories, Google is betting that the story format translates to other uses. Specifically, they see an emerging opportunity in the media and marketing landscape for:

  • High quality,
  • Bite-sized,
  • Informational,
  • Non-social content.

In his talk, Paul makes the case that Web Stories are both less cost-intensive and more structured than video. This means they’re easier to index, making them a valuable tool in the SEO arsenal. Additionally, the visually-appealing format is more engaging than a text article. And unlike videos, stories are scannable, so users can quickly find what they need.

How do Web Stories work?

Under the hood, these stories are essentially web pages. They can be linked to, embedded, and viewed anywhere a webpage can be seen.

But the best part?

They’re native to WordPress! In fact, the new Web Stories for WordPress plugin is an official (and open source) Google product.

To get a full grasp of the capabilities of WordPress + Web Stories, watch Paul’s full 30-minute talk here.

BigWP is an enterprise WordPress event series that brings together business leaders, developers, and product people to share best practices for high-scale WordPress applications. Find more talks like Paul’s here.

A look inside OKdo’s enterprise ecommerce technology stack

Ecommerce is one of the most promising growth channels in today’s enterprise market. In fact, the US Department of Commerce announced in August that ecommerce retail sales were estimated to grow 31.8% compared to the previous quarter.

Box UK is a WordPress VIP agency partner and ecommerce expert. At a recent BigWP event, Box UK’s Lead Business Analyst Allie Brock shared how her team helped OKdo launch an enterprise ecommerce platform in less than 8 months. A division of Electronic Components (FTSE 250), OKdo now manufactures and sells single board computing and IOT technology in seven countries and six languages (read this case study to learn more).

In her talk, Allie covered the questions enterprises need to consider when choosing ecommerce technology solutions. They may seem basic at first glance, but each of these considerations plays a major role in determining the best technology stack for any given use case. Those questions include:

What am I selling?

Whether it’s textiles or electronic components, pay special attention to local trade regulations. These vary country to country and any trade rule violations can lead to a hefty fine. OKdo uses WooCommerce integrated with an ERP to ensure each order can be legally fulfilled.

How will people find my products?

The most important factor in driving people to your products is a strong content and SEO strategy. The most beautiful site in the world won’t convert any sales if customers can’t find it first. OKdo relies on a combination of Yoast and Multilingual Press to optimize technical SEO in multiple countries and languages.

“Customers are more likely to convert if products are shown in their language, with their preferred currency and payment methods.”

– Allie Brock, Lead Business Analyst at Box UK

How will people pay?

Look into the most common payment methods in each region you’re selling in, and make sure your payments processor supports that method. For example, Box UK found people in the Netherlands favor a platform called Ideal; in Japan, meanwhile, payment is expected upon delivery. OKdo found Stripe and PayPal to be the most popular in its leading regions, and WooCommerce integrated seamlessly with both.

For more insights on the technology stack Box UK built for OKdo, watch Allie’s full 15-minute talk from BigWP.

BigWP is an enterprise WordPress event series that brings together business leaders, developers, and product people to share best practices for high-scale WordPress applications. Find more talks like Allie’s here.

How better accessibility can improve your bottom line

Taeke Reijenga is CEO of Level Level, a Netherlands-based design and development agency with an emphasis on ecommerce and web accessibility, and a WordPress VIP Silver agency partner. He’s an expert in helping organizations optimize their digital strategies, which often includes helping them understand that better accessibility can lead to higher revenue.

At a recent BigWP event, Taeke recently shared his tips with us in a talk on the business benefits of inclusive design.

What is web accessibility?

Most folks think “web accessibility” is the practice of making websites accessible for users with disabilities. And while that’s technically correct, Taeke says it’s only a fraction of the answer.

Instead, he argues, web accessibility is the practice of making websites accessible for as many users as possible. See the difference?

Why prioritize accessibility?

According to Taeke, it’s generally accepted that 20% of people have some form of disability.

While it’s a huge number, that percentage doesn’t take into account people with short-term disabilities (like a broken arm) or the significant increase in our aging population.

In short, improving accessibility for disabled populations will benefit everyone’s digital experience. And it will also improve your bottom line.

The business case

In this talk, Taeke covers three ways better web accessibility can boost business outcomes:

  • Increasing income: Did you know 69% of disabled users abandon a site when they find it’s not accessible? For ecommerce sites, that drop translates directly to lost revenue.
  • Decreasing expenses: When it’s easier for people to find what they’re looking for, your customer success team will spend less time fielding support requests.
  • Mitigating risk: Increasingly, web accessibility is regulated by government bodies. In many parts of the world, inaccessible digital experiences can lead to hefty fines.

For more information, watch Taeke’s full 17-minute talk here:

Taeke’s talk was originally recorded at BigWP EMEA, part of our enterprise WordPress event series. BigWP brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. Find more talks like Taeke’s here.

 

Panel: Drive digital commerce with content marketing

Content is the heart of digital commerce. It’s what drives people to your products and keeps them coming back for more.

In this panel, experts from digital commerce leaders Square, PHLEARN, and Craftpeak share tips for using content to build a seamless customer experience at high-growth ecommerce businesses.

You’ll learn:

  • Content strategies to maximize your customer lifetime value
  • How to integrate marketing and product content
  • Tips to deliver a consistent experience across channels
  • Tools to benchmark the impact of your content

Featuring:

  • Mallory Russell, Head of Content, Square
  • Seth Kravitz, CEO, PHLEARN
  • John Kelly, CEO and Co-founder, Craftpeak

 

Streamlining operations for Grupo Abril

Grupo Abril, one of the largest media companies in Latin America, sought to streamline the IT sprawl that had arisen from the organic growth and development of its dozens of brands.

Taming the sprawl of organic growth

Abril’s portfolio was spread across several content management systems, including a custom Ruby On Rails system hosted in-house, another hosted via Amazon Web Services, and a Drupal-based system supported by Acquia. This system was costly and ineffective. Because of IT constraints, some brands hadn’t had a site update in ten years and as a result, had no mobile-optimized version of their site.

Unleashing greater efficiency

Abril has made major improvements in agility since standardizing with WordPress VIP. In addition to hosting and supporting Abril’s sites and providing training for developers and editorial staff, WordPress VIP manages ongoing security and performance, and serves as an end-to-end consultant for all of Abril’s content publishing development.

Shared benefits across its portfolio

New features and site launches can now be deployed with just a few days’ notice. Company resources are no longer tied up in staying up to date with third-party APIs, and Abril is now first to market with updates any time those services change. This has opened up their pipeline, and freed the organization up to focus its resources where they can have the most valuable impact – editorial and front-end work.

“We have enormously improved our efficiency since we don’t need additional teams or third parties to support our infrastructure. We can focus on what matters, which is producing content and generating value.”

— Ricardo Schultz, CIO of Abril

To learn more about our work with Abril, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Unlocking power and efficiency for News Corp Australia

News Corp Australia is Australia’s largest digital news network. Together, its channels see 8 million unique visits a day and 600 million page views a month.

Multiple platforms hampered growth

With 90+ brands spread across a wide range of platforms, their team suffered from inefficient workflows which hindered their growth. To position themselves for continued success, they needed a flexible enterprise-level digital publishing solution with the power to scale.

After a successful test project, News Corp Australia went all in and migrated their 90+ brands to WordPress VIP.

Agility at scale

Armed with WordPress, an agile platform that integrates seamlessly with internal systems, stakeholders are now able to contribute value to their sites in ways that were not possible before. A core suite of vetted plugins and a base theme serve as the foundation for each new site on the platform. And a new in-editor “Site Build” experience offers web producers the ability to assemble and organize an infinite combination of complex layouts—without touching code.

Major improvement in time to value

Since launching with WordPress VIP, News Corp Australia has continued to grow their digital publishing offerings, now hosting 40+ sites with WordPress VIP, and launching new assets on a regular basis. They take advantage of over 50 custom plugins, which integrate WordPress with their broader systems architecture. In many ways, this project allowed News Corp Australia to reinvent themselves and established a partnership to drive the evolution of the platform for years to come.

“[We] … cut the time it takes to build out a section of the site from days to hours. We’re so proud to be part of that success story.”

—Weston Ruter, CTO at XWP

To learn more about our work with News Corp Australia, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Empower your team with evidence: Making the case for user research

“One thing we know for sure is good user experience equals good business 1000% of the time,” asserts Cathi Bosco, a designer and UX architect at WordPress VIP agency partner XWP.

“Why speculate about the people we are building and designing for,” she asks, when user research is proven to positively impact business outcomes and boost customer satisfaction?

In this talk, Cathi makes the case for incorporating evidence-based decision making at any and every stage of product development. Specifically, she recommends semi-structured, informal research studies.

According to Cathi, these studies are easy to implement and yield powerful insights, especially when paired with exposure studies (where team members observe users interact directly with the software under development in real-time). She even recommends a formula: every member of the product team should dedicate two hours of direct exposure with users every six weeks.

Watch the video for Cathi’s four-step approach to semistructured research, which works equally well for remote teams. (Journey maps for everyone!)

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leaders, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To learn more, visit https://bigwp.vip

How to build an ecommerce store that scales with WordPress

High performing ecommerce solutions require both your back and front end to be lightning fast. In fact, according to Google, the probability of bounce increases 32% as page load time goes from 1 to 3 seconds.

After a decade of building ecommerce solutions for large organizations, Matias Saggiorato has learned a thing or two about optimizing online stores for speed and performance. Matias is CTO of WordPress VIP partner agency SAU/CAL. The agency is a certified WooCommerce expert and they’ve worked with enterprise clients like Stripe, P&G, Amazon Pay, and Phlearn.

In this talk, Matias shares how companies looking to diversify their revenue streams can build a platform that scales up to thousands of transactions per day without breaking a sweat.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leaders, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day. To learn more, visit https://bigwp.vip

Behind the scenes of News UK’s rampant speed to value

Long-time client News UK has a need for speed. When they discovered the benefits of the new Gutenberg block editor in WordPress, they saw an opportunity to accelerate their content production.

Gutenberg introduced a JavaScript-based drag-and-drop editor to WordPress, along with a customizable building block structure that streamlines content creation. Blocks can be used to insert, rearrange, and style media-rich content with very little technical knowledge – making it perfect for journalists, marketers, and other contributors who need to spin up content quickly without taxing their technical team or outside vendors.

An initial pilot program resulted in 60% improvement in speed to publish — so now they’re rolling out that pilot across global brands.

And because the Gutenberg roadmap includes continual product enhancements over the next several years, News UK knows they have a partner they can trust to keep them on the front lines of digital innovation.

With Gutenberg, we were able to publish a breaking news story in two minutes versus five minutes in Classic [WordPress]. The main reason for this is the reusable blocks which have been renamed ‘The Game Changer’.

— Joel Davies, Head of Editorial Operations

Key results

  • Streamlined publishing workflows in the new WordPress block editor
  • 60% improvement in time to publish
  • 30% reduction in the number of clicks to publish an article
  • Created an internal community of shared resources that can be leveraged across sister publications

Learn more

To learn more about this project, please download the News UK case study PDF. And if you have any questions, simply get in touch!

Note: This post is part of a series providing downloadable summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these summaries, click here

Panel: Lead a successful digital transformation

Did you know that of the 91% of companies pursuing digitization, only 40% successfully achieve it?

In this webinar, hear Jary Carter, WordPress VIP’s Chief Revenue Officer, interview a panel of experts on navigating change management at large organizations.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Common digitization pitfalls and how to avoid them
  • How to turn a customer-centered strategy into a competitive advantage
  • Which emerging technologies are helpful, and which are just hype
  • Tips for navigating change through every level of your organization

Featuring:

  • Lora Dennis, Senior Vice President of Digital Media at NBCUniversal Owned Television Stations
  • Jonathan Rivers, Chief Technology Officer at Fortune Magazine
  • Nancy Cassutt, Managing Director, News, Marketplace (American Public Media)
  • Scott Morris, Senior Vice President Of Technology and Innovation at Nexstar Media Group, Inc.

Webinar: Demystifying Decoupled WordPress

You may have heard a decoupled (or “headless”) CMS can make it simpler to deliver content across multiple channels and devices.

However, this approach—where your CMS is completely separate from your front-end user experience—can also add unnecessary complexity, cost, and time to your content management.

How can you know whether decoupled is right for your business?

Join WordPress VIP’s experts, along with AccuWeather’s Rachael Trost, to explore the pros and cons of decoupled WordPress.

In this webinar, you’ll learn:

  • Why (or why not) go decoupled
  • Real-life lessons from AccuWeather’s experience with a headless CMS
  • The most common types of decoupled architectures
  • The relationship between React.js and WordPress

Launching a global ecommerce platform for OKdo

OKdo case study decorative image

Recently, we teamed up with our Silver agency partner Box UK to help OKdo launch a new, revenue-generating business line in less than eight months.

OKdo is a purveyor of technology products, focused on the rapidly-evolving single board computing (think Raspberry Pi) and internet of things (IoT) markets. OKdo was looking for a holistic technology platform to get their products in front of new customers as quickly as possible.

Flexibility at scale

After a three-month bidding process, OKdo selected Box UK as their development partner. With years of experience collaborating on complex WordPress implementations at scale, Box UK knew WordPress VIP was the perfect platform to power the end solution.

Because time was of the essence, the agility of this new platform (and its development) was key. OKdo also needed an e-commerce solution that would play nicely in multiple languages and currencies, as well as an adaptable architecture that could integrate seamlessly with third-party applications like NetSuite.

Thanks to the inherent flexibility of WordPress, the enterprise infrastructure of WordPress VIP, and the scalability of WooCommerce, we were able to deliver OKdo a multi-site, multi-language, and multi-currency ecommerce system in just under eight months.

Certainly from my perspective, WordPress has been a great success—with WordPress VIP giving us that enterprise-level of assured quality on top.

— Adrian Goodman, Global Digital Product Owner

Key results

  • Launched a new product line in eight months
  • Multisite installation powering sites in 6 languages
  • Modular architecture with third-party integrations
  • Enterprise ecommerce using WooCommerce
  • Compliance with global trade and tax regulations

Learn more

To learn more about this project, please download the OKdo case study PDF. And if you have any questions, simply get in touch!

Note: This post is part of a series providing downloadable summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these summaries, click here

Webinar: Build an enterprise newsletter in minutes

Content is at the core of your customer experiences, so it’s absolutely essential to get it right. But to really drive value, how you manage content matters just as much as what you create.

In this on-demand webinar, WordPress VIP and Gold agency partner rtCamp will show you how the Mortgage Bankers Association slashed the time it takes to produce their monthly newsletter from several hours, down to 10 minutes.

After all, the equation is simple: decreased time to market = increased value. Now, MBA’s marketing team is empowered to focus on innovation instead of fussing with templates.

In this webinar, you will:

  • Learn how the WordPress block editor can speed your time to market
  • Get fresh ideas for building replicable, scalable workflows
  • Study real-life examples of Gutenberg use cases
  • Participate in a live Q&A with rtCamp’s Guten-experts

Webinar: How Salesforce is Transforming Content Marketing

Effective content marketing is key to customer engagement.

Yet according to Gartner, less than 40% of marketing leaders have a defined content marketing strategy.

The good news? It might be easier than you think to produce content that delivers on your business goals.

Go behind the scenes with Hayley Nelson, Salesforce’s VP of Content Marketing, and Nick Gernert, CEO of WordPress VIP. You’ll learn how Salesforce is driving growth by rethinking its entire content ecosystem from the ground up.

In this webinar, you will learn:

  • Salesforce’s new approach to audience engagement
  • Practical tips for creating values-driven storytelling
  • How agile processes can reduce pain points in your content production
  • Answers to your pressing questions in a live Q&A

Presenter: Hayley Nelson

Hayley Nelson, Salesforce

As the first VP of Content Marketing at Salesforce, Hayley oversees content strategy and operations, social media, video, podcasting and web publishing for the global marketing team. Previously Hayley lead content strategy at Airbnb, where she implemented a “newsroom” approach to social media and spearheaded experimentation with podcasts, magazine and film. Her expertise is in leveraging technology and content to engage customers and build communities. Hayley is a passionate mentor and advisor to startup founders and CEOs.

Presenter: Nick Gernert

Nick is the CEO of WordPress VIP, the leading provider of enterprise WordPress. With more than two decades working across the open web, Nick is responsible for WordPress VIP’s overall business strategy. His passion lies in enabling the world’s most demanding businesses to drive results through digital customer experiences.

How AccuWeather leverages decoupled WordPress

At BigWP NYC, associate product manager Rachael Trost took the mic to discuss how AccuWeather makes use of decoupled WordPress. Founded in 1962, AccuWeather is recognized as the most accurate source of weather forecasts and warnings in the world.

These days, AccuWeather serves roughly 1.52 billion people a day with over 50 billion data calls across their product lines. These products include weather forecasts, local media partnerships, enterprise solutions, APIs, videos, podcasts, and more.

A small but mighty force

Although content forms only a small part of AccuWeather’s traffic, content delivery still adds up to over 750 million data calls a day. And content is a key element of AccuWeather’s competitive advantage in a market where weather data has become a commodity.

Conscious CMS decoupling

Earlier this year, AccuWeather migrated its CMS from Brightspot to WordPress because the editorial team was struggling with Brightspot’s lack of customizable features. After some initial deliberation, AccuWeather selected WordPress thanks to its inherent flexibility, extensive documentation, and straightforward integrations.

Watch Rachael’s talk to learn:

  • The pros and cons of decoupled WordPress
  • How AccuWeather extends the REST API to deliver localized content
  • Rachael’s three key takeaways from their recent CMS migration

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP NYC November 2019 playlist.

Evolving the Kaiser Family Foundation from Sitecore to WordPress VIP

The Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) had 20 years’ worth of legacy data bottlenecked in Sitecore and Commonspot. WordPress VIP helped KFF unify all their content onto a single, intuitive platform. KFF’s teams are now empowered to advance their mission through beautiful and accessible data.

“Other data-heavy organizations like ours, still operate multiple websites with data and CMSes that are not integrated. I think we’re the first in our space to do that—with as much diverse content as we have all in one home.”

— David Rousseau, Kaiser Family Foundation Vice President

To learn more about our work with KFF, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Webinar recording: Upgrading to Gutenberg

Put simply, the new WordPress block editor, known as Gutenberg, makes creating content easier.

It might not feel so easy, though, to bring a complex enterprise site over to Gutenberg for the first time.

That’s where this free webinar comes in.

In this dev-centered presentation, our friends at Reaktiv Studios will walk you through each step of making the transition using real-life examples from Microsoft, Atlassian, and more.

In this webinar, you will:

  • Study real-life Gutenberg use cases from Xbox, Atlassian, and others
  • See examples of when to use core blocks, 3rd-party block libraries, or custom blocks
  • Learn how to plan for dependencies and ensure backward compatibility
  • Get tips on managing the human element (think buy-in, usability, and training)
  • Hear audience Q&A with Reaktiv’s Gutenberg experts

Presenter: Cory Webb, Reaktiv Studios

Head shot of Corey Webb

Cory Webb is a senior full-stack developer. Before joining Reaktiv, he ran a web development company specializing in WordPress and Joomla. His educational background is in engineering and business, but his true passion has been development since he built his first web page as an electrical engineering student at the University of Texas way back in 1997.

The scale and speed behind iOne Digital’s massive reach

iOne needed a seamless way to syndicate content across multiple brands and sites. So WordPress VIP built a platform with the strength and flexibility to power iOne’s viral content. iOne no longer sweats traffic spikes, thanks to the agility, stability, and security of WordPress VIP.

“We have huge spikes of traffic as a lot of our content goes viral with our users on social networks, and WordPress VIP’s infrastructure is able to sustain those with no changes on our end; it just works!”

— Grant Cerny, Chief Product Officer, iOne Digital

To learn more about our work with iOne, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

How to spin up a WordPress-powered React app in 1 step

Gina Trapani on stage at Big WP discussing the powerful relationship between WordPress and React

“People are wrestling with the same issues across the software industry,” declared Gina Trapani, Managing Partner at Postlight, during her talk at BigWP NYC.

Postlight is a newly-minted WordPress VIP Silver partner who builds digital experiences for clients like Goldman Sachs, the Obama Foundation, the National Audubon Society, and more. As a premier product, design, and development agency, the Postlight team is exposed to content management challenges across sectors and organizations large and small.

So, Gina took to the stage to address one of the questions clients often struggle with.

Pattern recognition

React is a popular JavaScript framework with more than a few fans. Unsurprisingly, countless companies are seeking the best software solution to deliver content to their React applications. Gina’s answer? For many scenarios, decoupled WordPress is the way to go.

After successfully arguing this case, the Postlight team found themselves writing the same code for the same architecture over and over again. So they decided to combine a front-end, back-end React/WordPress instance into a downloadable, user-friendly package.

Converting the decoupled doubters

With Postlight’s WordPress + React Starter Kit, users get two working example sites out of the box. Each site contains React components that implement common WordPress features like rendering pages, posts, taxonomies and content previews; in addition to custom post types with fields exposed via APIs.

The bottom line of the starter kit, explains Gina, is that WordPress works beautifully with modern technology and tooling.

Check out her full talk about creating the WordPress + React Starter Kit, including actionable tips for countering anyone who argues that WordPress doesn’t play nicely in forward-thinking software implementations.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP NYC November 2019 playlist.

Defining PMC’s digital playbook

After multiple acquisitions, including Rolling Stone, PMC needed a streamlined approach to digital content management. Establishing a common framework helped PMC innovate across its entire portfolio. Today, all of PMC’s brands align around a common goal: driving revenue.

“They’re able to work across brands a lot better because there’s a common language there. It’s interesting to see how the things we’re streamlining within product and engineering have this knock-on effect across the entire company.”

—Gabriel Koen, Penske Media Corporation

To learn more about our work with PMC, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Updating the Apple News plugin to be Gutenberg native

Kevin Fodness onstage at BigWP talking through the process of updating an existing plugin to be Gutenberg-native

WordPress VIP featured partner Alley originally created their Publish to Apple News plugin to help users seamlessly submit and edit their Apple News content straight from the WordPress editor. Version one of the plugin automatically converts HTML content to JSON and sends it to Apple to publish via their API.

After the WordPress 5.0 update, which brought the new Gutenberg editing experience to core WordPress software, Alley began developing version two of the plugin, which provides full native support for Gutenberg. Chief plugin contributor and Alley’s director of software development Kevin Fodness recently shared learnings from this project at BigWP NYC.

All things considered

The biggest challenge of making the plugin fully Gutenberg compatible? “We had to embrace the future of WordPress while not losing users who weren’t fully embracing Gutenberg.” (Yet.)

In a simpler world, Gutenberg adoption would be binary. Either a site is taking advantage of the new software, or it’s not. However, in practice, business cases are nearly always more complex. In this case, many enterprise users have selectively enabled Gutenberg on some but not all of their content types within the same site. This creates a tricky scenario for plugin developers who need to ensure their product’s functionality across a dozen different platform scenarios.

Rethinking the metabox

Inspired by Yoast and Jetpack, Alley opted for the popular sidebar approach to integrating Gutenberg functionality directly into the plugin interface. Now, editors can configure Apple News settings in four sleek collapse/expand panels which replace the cumbersome metabox.

The end goal for this project was simple: provide a better experience for editors using the Apple News plugin. Achieving this goal was anything but simple, and in his talk, Kevin walks through Alley’s approach to updating the plugin–including all the things they broke along the way.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP NYC November 2019 playlist.

The platform of record for USA TODAY’s Sports Media Group

The USA TODAY Sports Media Group’s portfolio was splintered across sites, brands, and platforms. So WordPress VIP helped build a common framework for all of its sites. Now, the Sports Media Group can optimize their content delivery without the headache of DevOps.

“By  moving to WordPress VIP, we were able to not worry about downtime… Things like security we no longer have to think about. So this allows our team to focus on building awesome stuff.”

— David Parsons, Software engineer, USA TODAY

To learn more about our work with USA TODAY, including detailed results, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

Bringing Xbox to the block editor

Reaktiv CEO Josh Eaton gives talk at Big WP SF on using custom Gutenberg blocks for Xbox
Josh Eaton, CEO of Reaktiv, presented at BigWP about building custom blocks Gutenberg blocks for Xbox and Microsoft

The block editor, part of the project known as Gutenberg, is one of the biggest changes to WordPress core software in over a decade and a half. It brings unprecedented agility for enterprises to customize media-rich content directly within the WordPress editor.

WordPress VIP featured partner agency Reaktiv recently worked with Xbox to build custom blocks that leverage Xbox’s existing design components to streamline workflows. Together, these new blocks reduce manual effort, speed up time to publish, and deliver a better user experience.

The day of BigWP SF, Reaktiv CEO Josh Eaton was celebrating Xbox’s successful launch on Gutenberg. In his presentation, Josh walked attendees through Reaktiv’s approach to implementing the block editor on four of the entertainment company’s regional sites.

So far, the project includes eight new custom blocks, including Countdown timer which adds a stopwatch-style ticker alongside sale items and automatically eliminates the entire post once the deal has expired.

Josh shared his biggest piece of advice for transitioning to the new block editor: iterate, iterate, iterate. With an enhanced ability to sync styling in the front and back ends, Gutenberg facilitates new processes that were previously impossible (or at the very least, cumbersome) in the old editor. If you’d like to explore what’s possible for the block editor in your organization, please get in touch.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day.

Find all of the talks in the BigWP SF November 2019 playlist.

Solving performance and stability for VentureBeat

Rising technical debt was bogging down VentureBeat’s team and performance. So they turned to WordPress VIP to handle updates, maintenance, and support. As a result, response time (and performance) have evolved from problematic to outstanding.

“The response time on the site was running 1,500 milliseconds and up. Once we finished the migration it’s down to 200 to 300 milliseconds, and often quite less. So basically it’s a tenth of what it was originally.” 

— Steve Tidwell, Director of Technology

To learn more about our work with VentureBeat, including detailed results of their successful migration, download the executive summary.

This post is part of a series providing executive summaries of WordPress VIP case studies. For a complete list of these executive summaries, click here

How Implementing WordPress Dark Mode Boosted 9to5’s sites

Learn how implementing WordPress Dark Mode boosted 9to5’s sites
At BigWP, 10up president Jake Goldman demonstrated two ways to enable dark mode support

WordPress VIP Gold agency partner 10up recently worked with media company 9to5 to add WordPress dark mode and light mode support to its most popular sites, including 9to5Mac and 9to5Google. Jake Goldman, founder and president of 10up, took the stage at BigWP SF to discuss the project and provide a practical primer on supporting native, OS-level dark and light settings.

As of this year, all major operating systems and browsers have begun to support the ability to view different display modes (light and dark), based on user preference.

Beyond aesthetics, dark mode is a contributing factor in improving accessibility for users who suffer from eye strain or other vision difficulties. Enabling dark and light mode options also empowers users to personalize their experience with your content — which can improve engagement.

The good news? WordPress dark mode is relatively easy to enable. It took 10up only about 30 people hours to set up five sites on the 9to5 network that shared an overarching layout.

In this talk, Jake walks through two approaches to achieve similar results. First, a CSS path to deliver content in light or dark mode based on a user’s predefined settings. Next, a JavaScript method to allow users to toggle between light and dark mode on their own, which defaults to user device settings.

BigWP is our enterprise WordPress event series. It brings together developers, business leads, and product people who work with high-scale WordPress applications every day.

Find all the talks in the BigWP SF November 2019 playlist.

Ready to get started?

Drop us a note.

No matter where you are in the planning process, we’re happy to help, and we’re actual humans here on the other side of the form. 👋 We’re here to discuss your challenges and plans, evaluate your existing resources or a potential partner, or even make some initial recommendations. And, of course, we’re here to help any time you’re in the market for some robust WordPress awesomeness.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.