Articles on: Web Design and Development

A network of WordPress-based websites and a custom analytics system for Comparisun

Our team here at MediaMagic is used to receiving different kinds of projects from clients. Being well-experienced in creating Wordpress websites, most of these requests seem like a walk in the park for our developers. But sometimes more difficult cases come along. Such as this project for a company called Comparisun. They wanted us to develop not one site but a whole network of them. And in addition to that, the request included creation of a custom analytics system for these websites. Of course, our team was up for the challenge!

Comparisun’s Product Manager David Tarbay contacted our team with a request for full-stack Wordpress development and Quality Assurance. Their current system was built by freelancers and was hard to maintain and scale. The UX of the websites’ admin panels was difficult to work with, site performance needed improvement and a custom analytics system was receiving lots of bad events to the AWS database that caused money loss.

About the Client
Comparisun is a small business advice platform that provides supporting, efficient, and personalized content such as various types of reviews, articles, and how-tos. Their main focus is on COMPARING -- providing reviews and side-by-side analyses of service providers for small businesses.

The main website gives thoroughly researched overviews of credit card processing companies, points of sales systems, payroll services, and much more.

But Comparisun also has a network of websites on the B2C market with reviews of best home warranties, best DNA testing kits, best meal delivery services, and best VPN providers.

And in addition to that Comparisun’s team has built its own comprehensive analytics engine and uses it together with Google Tag Manager to track conversions and to plan better ad campaigns.

The Cooperation model which was chosen for this project was as follows. MediaMagic provided a dedicated development team that worked according to a fixed monthly fee. But any devops services were paid for by hours. This Team consisted of:

1 x Senior Full-stack developer

1 x Senior QA engineer

2 x Devops engineers (part-time)

The Methodology used in this project was Kanban with daily stand-up meetings. The helping Tools in the process were Slack, Trello, and Bitbucket. And the websites were created by using such Technologies as Wordpress, HTML/CSS, JavaScript, AJAX, PHP, SQL, AWS.

Development and production workflow

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The first thing the development team started with was a re-setup of server infrastructure. We had to fix automated backups and move the websites from hdd to ssd in order to increase server speed. After that, we proceeded to configuring Cloudflare and managed to save some money by switching off unnecessary options. And finally, the development and production workflow and the deployment process were set up.

Improved performance

Having fast server response, we started with on-site optimization. Front-end tricks that we applied helped to increase Google PageSpeed results from 92 to 98 on desktops and from 58 to 67 on mobile. It’s a good result since lots of 3rd-party services, like instant chat, are used on the pages which are slowing down the speed. But we didn’t stop there and we are now on our way to release an accelerated mobile pages version to improve mobile numbers even more.

Cross-browser compatibility

When it comes to cross-browser compatibility, users who have Internet Explorer as their browser of choice usually face the most issues. And it applied to this project as well. But we managed to concur with this problem and made the websites pixel-perfect in all browsers including IE.

The user-friendly interface of an admin panel

We completely re-thought the interface of Wordpress admin panel for content managers. With the ACF PRO plugin, we grouped modules by tabs and arranged the fields in a more logical and predictable way.

Accurate analytics

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For web products that operate with paid traffic, it’s crucial to have accurate analytics of what channels work best and to see the conversion from them. Since tools like Google Analytics don’t give enough information, a custom analytics system usually becomes the heart of such projects.

In Comparisun’s case, we fixed issues with events that had already existed and added 6 new events to track the user flow. The problem with junk events that we had been receiving to the database in the past was solved by creating the API and adding the secure key. In addition to tracking events from the website, we started doing the same thing for events from the chatbot, popups, and Facebook.

QA process in place

To make sure that the changes that were implemented by the developer wouldn’t interfere with the websites’ existing functionality, several test cases were created and run for regression testing.

MediaMagic is a great partner to work with, they are always positive, always “can-do”, and always deliver. After a very smooth handover, MediaMagic provided us with very professional service for custom and Wordpress sites, including complex tasks and integrations. I enjoyed working together and we achieved very good results, I warmly recommend.

Updated on: 01/10/2021

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