I’m used to doing brand and business websites—they’re in my comfort zone. I’ve had success with them. So when I was asked to help build out a website for a month-long charity fundraising and awareness campaign, I was excited and eager to tackle a new challenge.
The idea was relatively simple: the month-long fundraising campaign site would be the main vehicle to raise funding and awareness for Freeze Motor Neuron Disease (MND) and the Cure for MND Foundation. My agency, 24 Digital, was engaged to deliver the digital strategy, design, development, and hosting of the campaign website, freezemnd.com.
While the idea was simple, the site had to stand up to some pretty aggressive traffic numbers and demands: it had to support 10,000 concurrent visitors and guarantee 100 percent uptime; it had to be easy to use for a variety of people across various devices; it had to drive a high rate of conversion for the donation form; and it had to inform people about MND. We needed to deliver a visually pleasing site backed by well-considered code and a hosting platform that wouldn’t let me down.
I had worked with WP Engine before, and I knew that its managed WordPress hosting platform would make a great fit for our needs. WP Engine is secure, stable, and scalable; so it was easy to put my trust in WP Engine with our critical project.
We were confident WP Engine was the right platform, so we signed on with an Enterprise plan, ran a few load tests on the site using loader.io to ensure scalability, and set up Cloudflare for caching, security, and CDN coverage. The process was very smooth through onboarding to launch—and the top-notch service we received was very reassuring. Because we had an Enterprise plan, we had a dedicated account manager who made herself available 24/7 throughout the campaign. She did an amazing job of communicating the media schedule to the support team for each major event, which took a lot of weight off my shoulders!
The campaign first launched on TV during a Friday night Footy broadcast — a major event for Aussies. That first night, the WP Engine support team was at the ready and I’ll never forget sitting with Google Analytics open and watching the real time users start to climb so quickly! We expected around $50,000 in donations, but viewers flocked to the site and Freeze MND raised over $100,000 dollars right out of the gate. The energy and buzz from the campaign felt amazing and remained high over the coming weeks.
The success never slowed! During the month-long campaign, there were several media events that caused sharp traffic spikes, the site taking the load with perfect form every time. On the final day of the campaign, 8 June, we saw the largest of the spikes, hitting 38,534 sessions with 7,756 concurrent visitors. Through each spike, WP Engine was at the ready monitoring our servers to ensure everything was running smoothly.
Looking at the final tally, the site had 159,609 total sessions; brought in 101,177 total users; saw 325,354 page views; and had an average session duration of 3:04. Ultimately, the site raised more than $2.4 million in roughly a month. We were astonished!
Here’s an overview:
I’m happy to say that throughout the campaign, we maintained 100 percent uptime—there wasn’t even a hiccup. Plus, because WP Engine is a managed hosting platform, the level of support we received throughout the campaign was fantastic—the team went above and beyond. WP Engine was hands-down the best platform for us from a support, stability, and scalability perspective. I can credit WP Engine with playing a big role in helping us raise more than $2.4 million for Freeze MND in less than a month.
It felt so great to put in that effort and investment and have it work so well.
Want to read more about the campaign? Check out my piece on the 24 Digital blog.
Jess Knollmeyer is a project manager and freelance digital designer in Melbourne. She works as a digital producer at 24, collaborating with brands and developers to deliver WordPress and Magento website projects. When she’s not reading up on the latest tech and security trends, you can find her in the yoga studio, upside-down in a handstand or attempting a crazy arm balance.