Empowering the digital future

PEI Media and Pragmatic turn to WP Engine to re-launch their portfolio of websites.

Industry: Finance

Site: https://www.thisispei.com/

Challenge: PEI was looking for a tool that would empower its digital future. The company was looking for a platform that offered the agility and eCommerce integrations to increase conversions.

Solution: WP Engine’s Digital Experience Platform Integrated with WooCommerce.

Results: Organic traffic increased 40%.

PEI is the specialist financial media group that focuses only on alternative asset classes. These have become essential components of many investors’ allocation strategies globally and we major in private equity, real estate, private debt and infrastructure whilst also engaging with emerging new asset classes too.

Pragmatic is an award winning WordPress specialist agency based in the UK, delivering excellence for enterprise level clients and WooCommerce projects.

We needed to place technology at the heart of PEI’s business to change the way we compete and operate. This technology would provide deeper understanding and engagement with our customers; accelerating the customer’s intent to buy.

—–Tony Skeggs, Chief Technology and Information Officer, PEI Media

THE CHALLENGE

When Tony Skeggs joined PEI Media as their first ever Chief Technology and Information Officer in July 2016, he quickly saw that drastic changes needed to take place across the company’s websites. At the time, the international financial media group had severe technical debt, and it was impossible to make changes on any of the websites without rebuilding the entire site - even for small typos.

With a recent round of funding, and strong annual growth rates, Skeggs knew they needed to invest in a flexible platform that would support the complete transformation of the company’s digital assets, and drive the company forward as a leader in the financial media space.

“We needed to place technology at the heart of PEI’s business to change the way we compete and operate. This technology would provide deeper understanding and engagement with our customers; accelerating the customer’s intent to buy,” said Skeggs.

THE SOLUTION

PEI Media looked to Pragmatic to partner with them in building their digital future. “The brief was to redevelop the company’s eight websites to deliver its portfolio of products via self-service eCommerce, offering the best available tools as well as an attractively designed front-end. To meet PEI Media’s needs, our team at Pragmatic needed a connected architecture of robust, high-performing components, implemented via agile methodologies,” said David Lockie, CEO of Pragmatic.

Since the project was such a large scope with extensive digital assets, Pragmatic completed an RFP process. This included looking at software that needed to be integrated, each key stakeholder’s requirements, and what architecture or platform might work best to support PEI Media’s new digital direction.

Pragmatic identified WordPress as a key solution for PEI Media, due to its flexibility, agility, and integration abilities over proprietary CMS. PEI had previously had a few smaller websites on WordPress that had been built several years previously and had been powered by WP Engine, as has been the case for the rest of Pragmatic’s client sites since 2012.

As the freshly redeveloped sites, rebuilt in WordPress, came online, WP Engine was there to support every step of the way - both with support and with its technology.

At several critical times during the migration process, WP Engine provided in-person, dedicated engineering support to help diagnose and solve for some specific and mysterious performance issues. Their engineers made time on short notice and definitely went above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the production sites were highly performant, responsive and stable for PEI’s customers.

Right out of the gate, the team started by presenting PEI Media with several prototypes to hone in on the look and capabilities possible for their digital suite. One feature PEI Media really liked was the ability to make website changes without developer support via Visual Composer.

One capability desired by PEI Media was an improved checkout process. Pragmatic and WP Engine dramatically simplified the process; improving the visitor experience. PEI’s previous solution involved nine different steps, and with WooCommerce that was cut down to two steps. WooCommerce also made it possible to include product descriptions and imaging for PEI Media’s products ranging from physical merchandise to virtual-content access and even event tickets. And, one time payments as well as subscriptions were both supported.

Along with different payment types, PEI Media also needed the team’s help to support different user types, and encourage users to convert to paid subscribers. The team added Blaize as a solution to cater content to each unique user, ranging from the first time visitor, to registered free users, to premium content subscribers.

“We put a proxy server in front of WordPress to handle identity management, including registration, sign-ins, and user-account management. Depending on what visitors are accessing and their entitlement rights, the proxy server dynamically generates the relevant content. We opted for password-less authentication and also capitalized on Blaize’s ability to generate the first page of content free of charge for inbound page requests coming from certain search engines. This so-called ‘first click free’ access allows for pages to be indexed by the search engines and help the websites rank better in search results,” said Lockie.

A few additional plug-ins filled out the robust new digital program. To power data-driven graphics alongside content, the team used Elasticsearch, which incorporates market data and analytics from PEI Media. Customer acquisition and retention were enhanced with Google Tag Manager’s capabilities to pass data through Google Analytics and PEI Media’s business intelligence platform, suggesting continuous improvements to the team.

The Results

The final product is a seamless, personalized customer journey. “The new digital suite and platform drives audience engagement, repeat visits, time

spent on site, numbers of pages viewed, inquiries, and ultimately conversion into subscribers,” said Lockie.

Already, PEI Media has seen organic traffic increases of up to 40 percent. Additionally, the website load time has been dramatically improved, resulting in more visits, longer time on sites, and more article and page views.

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