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Integrity: WordPress Case Study

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Detailed case study presented by Ed Morrissey during the 2011 St. Louis WordCamp on how interactive agency Integrity, www.integritystl.com, used WordPress to redesign www.explorestlouis.com for the …

Detailed case study presented by Ed Morrissey during the 2011 St. Louis WordCamp on how interactive agency Integrity, www.integritystl.com, used WordPress to redesign www.explorestlouis.com for the St. Louis CVC.

Answers the question whether WordPress has moved beyond a simple blogging platform.

Published in: Design, Technology

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  • 07.08.11
  • 07.08.11
  • Contributes $2.1 B to StL 07.08.11
  • Editorial feel Merchandise better - h ome page slider Integrate existing/legacy apps Integrate maps Directory listings Abstract content types for presentation Highly customizable widgets 20+ page templates Mobile experience Integrate chat 07.08.11
  • Enterprise CMS costs a million dollars and doesn’t work out of the box! 07.08.11
  • WordPress – easiest to install and understand Joomla – solid utility player with a bit of a learning curve Drupal – great choice for more complex sites, but more complex All 3 (plus others) – excellent choices, growing communities, improving daily 07.08.11
  • WordPress – easiest to install and understand Joomla – solid utility player with a bit of a learning curve Drupal – great choice for more complex sites, but more complex All 3 (plus others) – excellent choices, growing communities, improving daily 07.08.11
  • Free is good No forced upgrades Ownership Ability to define/expedite features Access to skilled community Elegant/easy to administer 53M WordPress sites in the Wordl Software distributed freely with its source code: Allows re-distribution without licensing fees to creator Requires source code and instructions to be included with software or made available Allows everyone to modify and redistribute software under the same terms Why people may not like open source Uncertainty about development model ‘ Not the way we’ve always done it’ Lack of warranties and support Migration costs Copyleft provisions General method for making a program (or other work) free, and requiring all modified and extended versions of the program to be free as well 07.08.11
  • Akismet – Default, not installed, because commenting is disabled.   Ambrosite Next/Previous Post Link Plus – Workaround for pagination of blog posts and custom post types.   Avatars – Integrated with popular Gravatars online profile system for forums, blog commenting, etc. Allows authors of ExploreStLouis content to have a profile picture linked to their edits/contributions.   Capability Manager – Good plugin for defining custom user roles. CON: Limited to demarcating post types and plugin areas, not down to specific posts or pages.   Contact Form 7 – Great plugin for any form whose behavior is to send an email of solicited input from the user to an email address or set of email addresses. No real cons.   Custom Video – Integrity-created plugin for adding slider-enabled video widget that displays embedded YouTube videos.   Dagon Design Sitemap Generator – Create an xml sitemap, with advanced customizations (like hiding certain area of the site if needed)   Events Manager – PROS: Very organized backend. Powerful location settings for each entry. Good documentation for their template tags CONS: Have trouble with the internal search of inputted events in the plugin. Does not really allow a way to indicate “All Day Events”, a request which was discovered later on in the process. Had some database update issues: e.g. Becky from the CVC would update a description for an event but it wouldn’t save. May have been a server issue, as it seems to have been addressed with the move to the new servers.   FV Simpler SEO – Provides friendly interface for content team to input page specific keyword and metadata. Friendly interface to provide site wide keyword and metadata.   Google Analyticator – Easy integration with Google Analytics. Also shows graphs and charts on analytics in admin dashboard   HITS-IE6 PNGFix – Workaround for allowing 24bit transparency for PNG images in IE6   Image Crop – Custom Integrity-created plugin to allow content team to crop images through a WordPress based web application.   NextGen Gallery – PROS: Strong image management system and gallery/album creation for the content provider (allows uploading zip files)   CONS: The slideshow feature does not allow for easy customization. The slideshow is not AJAX enabled, meaning it won’t re-query the database for images after the page is loaded (i.e. the NextGEN slideshow for the right hand widget will only cycle through the four images initially loaded on the page. To see all the images, you have to go to the dedicated Photo Gallery page on the site)   Search & Replace – Admin side functionality to search through site database and replace content. Very useful for replacing absolute URLs (for example, images inputted through the WordPress media library) with the final live site URL.   ThreeWP Activity Monitor – Plugin tracks user changes throughout the site. Implemented as a security feature.   WordPress Database Backup – Plugin that automates database backup, critical for a site with so much custom content.   WordPress Importer – Standard plugin to import database/XML file from one WordPress site to another. Used to transfer page/post data from development environment to live site. 07.08.11
  • For a site this large, with this many different types of content, it was important to breaking down content into digestible groups, to make management of that content possible. Examples of the groups we broke the content into: News Releases, Sliders, Testimonials, Neighborhoods 07.08.11
  • Being able to create custom fields allows for a fine level of control at the coding level over the behavior of images and content that need to be called out, or treated specially for a post or page. 07.08.11
  • Illustrates how it becomes easier to change the order of content pieces, and manage them if the site’s content is broken down into logical groups. Screenshot is of the 25 Things to Do page, which integrates also with a right column widget that appears elsewhere on the site, but both the page and the widget are managed through this menu item. 07.08.11
  • Modularity and scalability of the right column throughout the site through this interface. Create sidebar groups that cater to the content of each area of the site and populate them with the available widgets. 07.08.11
  • Transcript

    • 1. Explore St. Louis Case Study Using WordPress as CMS Ed Morrissey Partner & Chief Creative Officer [email_address] www.integritystl.com
    • 2. Agenda
      • Introduction/Overview
      • ExploreStLouis.com
        • About
        • Goals of Site
        • Decision to use WordPress
        • Features and Plug-Ins
        • Lessons Learned
      • Questions & Answers
    • 3. Nice to Meet You
      • Partner/CCO with Integrity
      • Been here since the beginning
      • Rode the dot com craze
      • Early adopter of open source
      EMorrissey Ed Morrissey [email_address]
    • 4. About the St. Louis CVC
      • Founded in 1909
      • Mission = Sell St. Louis
      • Operates the America’s Center
        • 502K sq feet, 80 meeting rooms
        • Edward Jones Dome
        • Ferrara Theatre
        • Ballroom
    • 5. ExploreStLouis.com
      • Increase visitor demand & spending of visitors, meeting planners, travel professionals, media & local citizens
        • 5M annual visits – 3M uniques
        • 200+ pages plus directories
        • Online bookings
        • Multiple databases
        • Legacy systems
    • 6. Previous Site
    • 7. Goals of Redesign
      • Develop a site that appeals to visitors, meeting planners, travel professionals, media and local citizens
        • Build on the brand
        • Overhaul user flows
        • Enhance/improve SEO
        • Modern conventions
        • Integrate social media
        • Ability to self publish
        • Inexpensive
        • Secure, scalable, code-friendly, extendable
    • 8. What to Do?
      • Build?
      • Buy?
      • Borrow?
    • 9. Open source… … A religion That’s ridiculous. We geeks just want to write good code & we all know open source is nothing more than… There are discussions whether open source is political.
    • 10. Quick Comparison Feature Ease of Hosting and Installation Ease of Setup: Simple Site Ease of Setup: Complex Site Ease of Use: Content Editors Ease of Use: Site Administrator Graphical Flexibility Accessibility and Search Engine Optimization Structural Flexibility User Roles and Workflow Community/Web 2.0 Functionality Extending and Integrating Security Support/Community Strength
    • 11. Quick Comparison Feature Ease of Hosting and Installation Ease of Setup: Simple Site Ease of Setup: Complex Site Ease of Use: Content Editors Ease of Use: Site Administrator Graphical Flexibility Accessibility and Search Engine Optimization Structural Flexibility User Roles and Workflow Community/Web 2.0 Functionality Extending and Integrating Security Support/Community Strength
    • 12. Why WordPress?
      • Free is good
    • 13. Plug-Ins
    • 14. Dashboard Large site Lots of content groups
    • 15. Custom Fields Fine control of layout
    • 16. Custom Post Custom taxonomies
    • 17. Widgets Grouping - modularity of widgets
    • 18. Results
    • 19. Lessons Learned
        • WordPress/PHP does not run well on Windows Server 2003 edition with IIS 6
          • Be open to using 3 rd party host
        • Content is King
        • There’s no need to reinvent the wheel
          • Most plug-ins require customization
        • Self-publishing is a cultural shift
          • Whoever inputs content must have understanding of how the system works
          • Hidden cost
        • Evolution not a revolution
        • The right team can execute within WordPress whatever functionality we dream up
    • 20. Thank You Ed Morrissey [email_address]
    • 21. Extra Slides
    • 22. Mobile Pages
    • 23. WordPress and SEO
      • For beginners, it works out-of-the-box
      • Advanced plug-ins allow fine-tuning of everything
      • Automatically optimizes your titles for search engines
      • Generates META tags automatically
      • Override title and set META description
      • Support for Custom Post Types
      • Advanced Canonical URLs
        • the process of picking the best URL when there are several choices
      • Fine tune Page Navigational Links
      • Built-in API so plugins/themes can access and extend functionality
      • SEO Integration for WP e-Commerce sites
      • Avoid duplicate content found on blogs

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