Enterprise WordPress for the Leading Voice in Esports

Award-winning esports and gaming media group Dexerto relies on enterprise software development agency Box UK and WP Engine’s managed WordPress platform for speed and performance improvements to its website that receives 20 million-plus visits a month.

Industry: Media, Gaming

Site: dexerto.com

Challenge: Support a critical re-platforming project for a massive media brand. Dexerto approached award-winning WP Engine Agency Partner Box UK for help building a stable platform that would significantly improve site performance in the face of rapidly increasing traffic.

Solution: Box UK migrated Dexerto’s existing site to WP Engine’s platform while managing bespoke development work focused on effective content delivery, all optimized to support a responsive and impactful end-user experience.

Results: A robust, adaptable, and scalable content platform with improved AMP support, customized for Dexerto’s key advertising infrastructure.

Dexerto is an award-winning esports and gaming media group with digital properties including the leading esports and gaming lifestyle publisher, Dexerto.com. Its owned and operated channels supply editorial, video, and social content to a fast-growing audience of 20 million monthly unique website users and 7 million social media followers, with a total monthly content reach of 300 million gaming fans.

Box UK is a specialist enterprise WordPress development consultancy, building large-scale digital platforms used by millions. With a track record of success spanning more than two decades and hundreds of high-profile and mission-critical projects, Box UK is a proud WP Engine Agency Partner with deep experience in creating scalable, resilient and high-transaction systems for clients across the globe.

"Combining our expertise in the creation and optimization of scalable, richly-featured digital platforms with WP Engine’s rich toolkit for developing and hosting fast, reliable, and secure WordPress sites, Dexerto was able to easily visualize our proposed solution and how it would fit their needs." 

—– Benno Wasserstein, Managing Director, Box UK

A high-performance need for a billion-dollar industry. 

While the world of online gaming has grown increasingly popular for years, one particular niche—esports—has jumped out as a booming industry in its own right, with millions of fans and billions of dollars now up for grabs.   

For the uninitiated, esports are organized, multiplayer video game competitions featuring professional gamers who square off for everything from cash prizes to brand endorsements. 

Fueled by support from celebrities like Michael Jordan and the rise of online streaming services where audiences can view the action, the esports industry as a whole is on track to surpass $1.5B by 2023.

As the world’s largest esports and gaming news hub, Dexerto has witnessed this growth first-hand, offering its millions of monthly users world-class editorial, video, and social content that taps into the electric pulse of esports and online gaming.   

Offering breaking news, insightful commentary, and highlights from across the gaming world, the site also serves a wide range of advertising partners, who promote their services to Dexerto’s growing audience and rely on the site as a valuable source of relevant traffic.

As Dexerto’s site traffic has increased alongside the esports boom, internal teams began noticing performance issues with its existing WordPress setup, revealed through analysis of the site’s Google Lighthouse scores. 

“With the massive growth of the esports community, and a pressing need for a high-performing website as we looked to the future, we needed an agile, performance-focused team and platform that could deliver on our requirements,” said Dexerto’s Head of Product, Elliot McDonagh.

In search of that team, and an optimized WordPress site that could provide a high level of performance at scale, Dexerto approached Box UK for a solution.

Re-platforming with a managed WordPress provider.

To best support Dexerto’s requirements for performance and speed, Box UK recommended WP Engine’s managed WordPress platform as the new home for Dexerto.com, which would also undergo a refresh for mobile optimization and overall content delivery.  

“Combining our expertise in the creation and optimization of scalable, richly-featured digital platforms with WP Engine’s rich toolkit for developing and hosting fast, reliable, and secure WordPress sites, Dexerto was able to easily visualize our proposed solution and how it would fit their needs,” said Box UK Managing Director Benno Wasserstein.

With the green light from Dexerto, Box UK’s WordPress developers began the migration to WP Engine; employing stringent coding standards and best practices to ensure performance considerations were baked in from the outset. 

The Box UK team also took on additional, bespoke development work to provide Dexerto with the specific features and functionality they needed to effectively deliver rich multimedia content, optimized to support a responsive and impactful end-user experience. 

One major focus of this effort was implementing improved support for the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) framework, which helps create fast, user-first site experiences, regardless of device. 

Working in the WP Engine backend, the Box UK team also replaced previously hard-coded functionality with flexible settings, and integrated a powerful WordPress ad management plugin, which would help Dexerto’s Ad Ops team gain greater control over how ads are displayed across the site.

All of the optimizations focused on delivering performance improvements to both desktop and mobile user experiences, ensuring pages load fast and responsively every time. 

Working with their dedicated agency team at WP Engine, and supported by agile development processes, Box UK delivered the re-platformed site to Dexerto at speed, allowing for a rapid response to growing audience demand while paving the way for future growth.

The Results

Immediate boost in performance, confidence for further growth.

Upon delivery, Dexerto’s new site improvements were readily apparent. With a robust web platform capable of supporting high levels of traffic, Dexerto’s new site also offers extended functionality to serve targeted advertisements that maximize returns. 

That greater control over ads has enabled Dexerto to respond to changing trends and behaviors, while supporting the ongoing improvement of the company’s advertising strategy.

The new site has also been built to support Dexerto’s future ambitions, and Box UK has continued working with Dexerto to implement valuable bidding functionality alongside further performance enhancements.

Additional work has gone into providing support for WordPress’ powerful Gutenberg block editor that will enable the Dexerto team to independently and dynamically create rich web pages that increase responsiveness and efficiency as they continue to build and grow their site.

All of these factors have contributed to the overwhelming success of the project, which has not only allowed Dexerto to respond quickly to market trends, but build a site they’re confident in, as they navigate a very busy future. 

“We have started to see growth within our traffic that’s taking us to new peaks, and we are at all-time bests on some of our core performance-driven KPIs," McDonagh said. 

“With those indicators alone, we’re extremely excited about what the future holds in store for us, and the amazing world of esports and online gaming.” 

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