Drupal & Custom CMS to WordPress Multi-site Network

 

Project Components:

  • Content inventory

  • Content strategy

  • Wireframes & CTA’s

  • Manual migration of 28 websites

  • Key page redesigns

  • 3 key templates (2 custom)

  • Multisite hosting architecture (via Kinsta web hosting)

  • Digital Impact Optimization (ongoing SEO, UX, CRO improvements)

  • Continued ongoing maintenance, feature additions, and design refreshes

The Challenge:

Ecumen operates a variety of senior housing options and services, including cooperative senior housing, independent living, assisted living, long-term care, short-term rehabilitation care, home care, and hospice. In addition to their consumer services, they provide senior housing development, clinical consulting and senior housing management services for organizations outside of Ecumen.

Ecumen Services Offering (in no specific order):

  • Independent Living

  • Assisted Living

  • Memory Care

  • Care Center

  • Short-Stay Rehab

  • Affordable Housing

Ecumen had been working with an industry-specific vendor, who was increasing support, maintenance and hosting costs. Their primary motivation was to not only reduce costs but also “unify” their websites. Choosing WordPress as their primary CMS could house content and media while managing users throughout the multi-site network.

After only about a month from our initial discussion, we received a call from one of the top decision-makers requesting our immediate services with the contingency of a very tight timeline (2 months essentially to do a 1-to-1 migration) on all of their sites - including their main site Ecumen.org (which had an excess of 2,200 blog posts). 

Content Inventory and Historical Backup

Because of the Ecumen’s urgency to move forward, and without the assistance of their previous tech partnership (nor logins to the vast majority of their sites), we wanted to make sure we that physical backup of their current live sites. So we ran SiteSucker on all of the sites within their network and relaunched on our local servers. This provided us with the backup and reassurance of a historical backup of the site to reference.

Large Multisite Challenges

Before we could even tackle multi-site content migrations, we had to set up the network. Prior to this O8 had setup multi-site networks before, but not to this magnitude. First, we had to choose a server. After much discussion, Kinsta was selected as the server of choice. Not only for their focus on WordPress, but the ease and use of multi-site networks. 

Our Solution:

O8 was initially engaged by Ecumen in early 2019 to support the massive site migration and relaunch of 28 sites within 2 months. Our solution was basic. We had our team of eight Data Migration / WordPress experts migrate all the sites (in order of priority). To this end, the client wanted most of the sites to look the same, yet have their own branding. Given the tight timeline, it was decided that a 1-to-1 migration was needed (at least initially). So site-specific tasks were spun-up, reviewed, prioritized and assigned out to our migration experts. 

Once the content was migrated, QA took place. This took much longer than expected - primarily because of the difference between the old site and the new theme’s layout / structure. Not only were we making use of an advanced editor, inserting content into the new template had its own challenges - where we reloved by making use of customizations (CSS & JS), additional trusted plugins and some of our own custom code (in the form of a plugin). After the second round of QA was complete, the tasks were assigned back to Ecumen’s marketing team for review.

User Roles & Permissions:

Having a large multi-site network Ecumen wanted to hand much of the content control over to local site-specific users. O8 had to create a framework around site-specific roles and various permission, even as granular as text-only content. We achieved that by customizing the user role editor.

Site Redesign(s) & Responsiveness:

O8 was also tasked with re-architecting and redesigning the old sites, in accordance to their current brand standards.  This internal redesign was followed by an external visual/UX redesign to make the site more welcoming and user-friendly.

The Multi-Site Themes:

Ecumen.org Redesign (most locations theme):

Before:

After:


The Locations Revamp:

Not only did local listings not fully populate on Ecumen’s old site, but the results also needed multiple pages. This resulted in weakened user experience due to search difficulty, Our UI / UX designers came up with a solution that would not only integrate with Google Maps but could also be filtered correct bases on the locations desired services.

 

Before:

After (see below for a larger image):


 






 






 

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