Samnytt

News Portal Rebuild To Make It Faster, Safer, And SEO-Efficient.

The Challenge

Having a News Portal demands speed to deliver a flawless user experience, good SEO to rank before other news portals, and performance to handle lots of traffic (in this case, it’s around 300.000 users a week).

Being a news portal requires a lot of functionalities. And the client pointed them out:

To build trust, authority, and improve internal processes:

  • a modern mobile interface as well as a nice design.
  • security measures such as 2-factor verification,
  • share counts to measure popularity and monitor the quality of articles,
  • internal publishing system for better content management,

To engage the audience more:

  • poll functionality,
  • comment function,
  • vieo player (youtube, vimeo),
  • image gallery,
  • pop ups,

And that led us to the main Objective.

Objective

Build high traffic ready and modern News Portal Website.

About the Samhällsnytt

Samnytt logo

Samnytt (Samhällsnytt) is a Swedish News Portal that takes a broad journalistic approach.

They pay absolutely special attention to the areas where establishment media show omissions, but they also focus broadly on general news and journalism. In addition to that, they regularly review and dig film reports.

Their main goal is to be the journalistic product that future media consumers (interested in society) want and have the right to demand from journalists.

Getting swamped by slowing down WordPress plugins

Samhällsnytt had an outdated look and technology stack that was making it extremely hard to grow the audience and add new portal features.

  • Decreasing organic traffic
    because of performance issues and weak technical SEO optimization.

  • Not being able to add new features
    After adding every new feature, the website speed decreased, and the news portal team had to decide to stop developing the portal on the current codebase.

  • Low Google PageSpeed
    Insights results and no chances to improve on the current WordPress site.

  • Outdated,
    hard to manage technology stack, full of weighty plugins like Elementor.

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Services provided

Pushing WordPress to the next level

The Swedish news portal was using WordPress for the last several years and the whole editors’ team was very used to it.

The admin interface was great, the only problem was the site performance and outdated front-end user interface.

The editor’s team also enjoyed a lot using the Arlima plugin, which was allowing them to easily manage the most important post listings by overwriting the listing text & media with custom ones.

How have we leveled up WordPress?

  • Enabling Gutenberg Editing Experience

    Gutenberg allows editors to easily build engaging content thanks to the new WordPress block system.

    The release of Gurtenber was one of the most important events in the open source CMS world. If you want to align with WordPress growth direction you should implement it.

  • Arlima Plugin Upgrade

    Arima plugin gives its editorial staff an easy to use tool for customizing the front pages of their online magazines.

    The plugin was no longer supported and we tried to convince Samnyt to use Gutenberg blocks to manage front pages, unfortunately the editors love for the plugin was so strong that we had to upgrade it and adjust to the latest WordPress.

  • Donation Functionality

    Website allows visitors to donate to the editors team using bank transfers and also cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Project Delivery

Together we went through a restless 7-step plan starting from the Discovery stage up until the Final Release.

Stages enabled us to have a better overview on the progress as well as making the expectations clear and easy to deliver.

Step 1 Discovery Stage

First, we had to get an idea of how things work now.

This is why we went through a long list of questions to learn more about:

  • The goal and the main objective of the website
  • Insights and characteristics of visitor’s behavior
  • Desired look & feel
  • Navigation on each page of a website
  • Strategic and marketing opportunities

Then we ran a Google Analytics & Google Search Console Audit to find out more about the current audience, and see how does Samnytt is recognized and generates his online traffic.

We also did a benchmarking, by analyzing the online competition, as well as learning more about the best practices used by the top news portals.

As the last part, we did a Functionality Audit. We made a long list of different functionalities (used by Samnytt and other news portals) and we have suggested which ones could have the highest impact on user experience, as well as website performance.

Step 2 UX Designs

After choosing crucial and additional features, we have built the exact Wireframes for core screens to map out the user experience flow, and present the initial idea of how things will look and work.

Wireframes are also crucial for designers, as they guide and suggest to them the best practices to use. In this case, a designer can use his imagination to prepare compelling designs without an additional effort of thinking about the entire user path. The strategy is already there.

Samnytt UX
Samnytt UX
Samnytt UX
Samnytt UX

Step 3 UI Designs

In another step, we made a set of symbols and reusable design components to bring the wireframes to life.

Samnytt UX
Samnytt UX
Samnytt UX
Samnytt UX
Samnytt UX

Step 4 Style guide development

After that, we developed a Front-end style guide - a list of standards, principles, and rules every developer or designer should follow in order to keep and improve the branding part of the Samnytt Newsportal.

In other words, the style guide shows you how every interface element and component should be used.

By having and using Style Guide you can:

  • Keep the consistent look & feel
  • Build your brand recognition
  • Become more distinctive from the competition
  • Have a a clear process of building subpages (faster and easier)
  • Have a clear guidance for using your designs
  • Improve your cooperation with third party designers and developers

https://samnytt-dev.netlify.app/styleguide

Samnytt Styleguide
Samnytt Styleguide
Samnytt Styleguide
Samnytt Styleguide
Samnytt Styleguide

Step 5 Modernizing WordPress

Besides the new motive implementation, we had to clean up the WordPress from all the heavy plugins, like page builders.

On the older version of Samnytt, we had two simultaneously working plugins for content creation: Visual Composer and WPBakery Page Builder, that were affecting page speed and performance, and was making the content management a bit challenging.

By cleaning them out, the content creation was now much easier and more efficient, website code became much cleaner and easier to read, and of course, performance went up significantly.

Step 6 Adding Gutenberg

To build a new layout and functionalities, instead of going for heavy and limiting plugins, we used a native editor - Gutenberg.

Based on Gutenberg, we have built a custom, easy to arrange blocks, to build any page the way the editor wanted. Then, we took care of the old content that was previously made on page builders and moved it safely to the new editor.

We also used Gutenberg to build a layout system that made building pages ((with both static and dynamic elements) and organizing the content much easier. Each and every page that you build, can be now used as a template for any kind of page or article.

Samnytt also wanted to keep using “Arlima - Article List Manager”, and easy peasy, we modified it to be ready to work with the newest version of PHP and WordPress, as well as we have enriched it with few new functionalities, like commercials, sliders, or videos.

Step 7 Release

Samnytt is an active business with a huge network of daily users. That’s why the release had to be well planned and super safe.

After the launch, we ran a bunch of audits (Ahrefs, SEO), monitored communications in Google Search Console and metrics in Google Analytics.

All warnings and issues were resolved in urgency, making sure the user experience of visitors is high and currently running paid ad campaigns are trackable and profitable.

https:// samnytt.se
Samnytt
https:// samnytt.se
Samnytt
https:// samnytt.se
Samnytt

Results

  • Performance Boost
    We have encountered performance issues and weak technical SEO optimization.

  • Better User Experience
    Thanks to implementing the brand new bespoke user interface.

  • Ready for new features
    After leveling up WordPress and getting rid of outdated plugins, the website is ready to grow organically and be a solid base for future news portal plans

  • Enhanced Security
    Without outdated plugins, and some more security enhancements the news portal team can have a much better sleep.

Technologies used

  • Modern WordPress
  • Gutenberg
  • ACF Pro
  • Sketch

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