About the client
About the client
MediaVillage is a New-York–based global publisher of thought-leadership content that shares expert advice and insights on B2B marketing. Connecting over 150 media companies and subject matter experts, MediaVillage is an open-source marketplace that shares resources for industry professionals, educators, and job seekers.
Launched in 2010 by a well-known industry expert Jack Myers, MediaVillage combined fifteen founding media companies to publish and share industry-related content. The website attracted a wide user base, which evidently led to performance issues. Also, the company was stuck with Clickability, an outdated web content management platform, that demanded too many resources to keep it running. This prevented any chances of growing and enhancing the website.
Seeing the need for structural changes, our client decided to build a new platform that would ensure seamless content sharing and advanced analytics. To develop it, MediaVillage reached out to Flyaps, a development shop with battle-tested experience in building custom software products.
MediaVillage addressed Flyaps to build a brand new custom CMS from scratch to eliminate the limitations of the outdated system and allow effortless content sharing for a large base of users.
Our client’s initial website had major issues that affected its scalability and overall user experience:
To solve these issues, our client decided to switch from an old website to a custom content management system that would eliminate existing bottlenecks and allow further development of MediaVillage.
The new platform had to solve three major challenges and also allow for future expansion
At Flyaps, we've been building tailored solutions for businesses for more than ten years now. Thanks to our development skills and a large previous experience, we were able to deliver the solution that our client needed – a better-performing, more streamlined CMS. Already familiar with our extensive expertise, Jack Myers decided to team up with us to get the project done.
To rebuild a global content platform from scratch, we suggested the Django framework. Initially built for news websites, it fit the project’s needs perfectly, enabling a smooth development process.
For a successful release, we had to implement the following requirements:
As we evaluated the scope of work for the first release, we began working, starting with the basic features.
We kicked off the project with prototyping that took several iterations and began the development process after Mr.Myers and the MediaVillage team reviewed and approved the prototypes.
With the design ready to go, we had to migrate over 10 thousand content units to a new platform quickly and safely. We coded a solution for automated validation and data cleansing to speed up the process.
Next, we started preparing the platform for the first release, enabling such functionality as meta tag support, the possibility to add video and images to the articles, and text search. As a result, the first version covered the whole content creation process, from article writing and editing to publishing and promotion.
In 6 months we delivered a CMS with a basic feature set and a multi-level structure, including landing pages, lists of authors, and channels. The platform went live, and after receiving feedback from users, it was time to improve the existing features and add new ones. Here’s how we managed to achieve the most optimal result.
Though the platform we built was initially focused on user needs, there was still some room for improvement. Based on the client’s feedback, we developed a design concept for MediaVillage 2.0.
First of all, we wanted to encourage users to stay on the platform for longer. After reading an article, a user quit the website, lacking motivation to interact with the platform further. We transformed the page structure from a simple footer to a feed of articles and enabled a comments section below each article. This way, users could seamlessly switch between articles and see related content, which resulted in better user engagement.
The other challenge was the website navigation. With a goal of becoming a global marketplace, MediaVillage contained several channels, numerous authors, and diverse content, including podcasts, articles on different topics, videos, and so on. To make navigation more intuitive, we implemented a header with five key categories, ensuring a simpler transition between different types of content.
To simplify the search process, we added filters for authors, indicating their areas of expertise. We also implemented responsive design since most users of MediaVillage use mobile devices to read news and expert articles.
Through multiple iterations, we delivered a global platform that fully meets user expectations, making industry-related content accessible to everyone. To see more details on MediaVillage design, feel free to visit our Behance.
WIth thousands of different articles being published on the platform, finding the right one using a specific word or phrase became another challenge we had to tackle.
To provide effortless exploring, we developed an advanced search functionality that displayed the needed publication considering keywords, the author, and the date of publication. Combining these parameters, we created a search engine that showed the most relevant results based not just on their mentions in the title, but in the text and lead that exposed the main subject of the article.
Another feature MediaVillage needed was content promotion, allowing them to boost some articles to the top of search results manually. To implement it, we chose Solr, an open-source search platform built on top of Apache Lucene. With such features as powerful indexing, searching, and faceted navigation capabilities for large volumes of data, Solr enabled our team to add custom settings to the platform. Through the admin panel, users can now define a coefficient of search results for certain articles, changing it when needed. For example, if by default the coefficient is 1, it can be changed to 1,5 so that the article is shown higher in the search results.
Implementing a custom search engine, we allowed our client to fine-tune and experiment with the search, boosting the needed content and at the same time showing more accurate search results.
Another aspect that we had to work on was content promotion. Having a large user base, MediaVillage needed to share their articles through emails, keeping the audience updated.
To ease the process, we enabled dynamic mailing, so that every article could be sent automatically to all the subscribed users. To automatically send over a million emails, we integrated MailChimp, a web-based email marketing platform that lets you create, send, and manage email campaigns.
We also added an email constructor with several templates to simplify the article promotion. The constructor allows admins to select any publication and create a personalized email. They can add text to a template and send it to all the subscribers.
We also added analytics to measure the audience's response to the published content and emails.
We combined several sources to make dashboards as informative as possible, by adding the following:
By integrating different sources, we could display all the relevant data in a single report, providing admins with the possibility to gain insights and track the performance of their content without leaving the admin panel.
With all the data in front of them, the client could quickly identify the most popular articles and authors. We also integrated Excel, allowing data export to other tools for further analysis.
Besides content analytics, we also implemented a number of special features through the admin panel to make the publication process simple and fast.
To make the page structure customizable, we allowed dynamic changes of blocks. Within the admin panel, a user can change the order of the blocks or delete unnecessary ones, customizing each page individually.
We also enabled article publication by third-party contributors. Users can log in as guests, submit their articles for review, and the MediaVillage team can approve them for publishing in the admin panel.
By enhancing the admin panel, we created an utmost tool for managing the platform, including publishing and editing all types of content.
To ensure stable performance and easy access to every article, we implemented a number of technologies that increased the loading speed.
For example, in 2015, we were among the first ones to integrate Accelerated Mobile Pages, an open-source HTML framework focused on ensuring the fast loading of web pages. We also implemented Facebook Instant Articles so users could quickly access the newly published content on mobile devices. Launched in 2015, these technologies allowed us to make the platform operate faster, compared to other platforms.
As a result, we scaled the platform, ensuring that it delivers the best possible experience for both the content creators and their audience.
By rebuilding and improving MediaVillage, we delivered a global media platform that provides a unique experience, giving access to millions of expert content pieces. Switching from an outdated website to a new flexible platform allowed our client to scale effectively, opening new possibilities and increasing revenue.
From the release of the new platform, the number of readers increased significantly, ramping up from 16K users to 85.9K users per month.
The newly built interface allowed us to noticeably decrease the bounce rate from more than 90% to 67.8% and increase the time on the page to up to a minute.
Moving to a new platform allowed our client to save significant costs on website support and implement new features effortlessly.
They’re not a big company, so they add a personal touch to everything they work on. I feel it whenever we’re on the phone, I’m impressed with their level of communication considering English isn’t their first language. They’re always on top of everything. I would absolutely recommend them. That's a five-plus.
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