Rebuilding Mexico’s leading entertainment publication into a fast, lean stack
Sopitas is Mexico’s leading entertainment and independent news publication, led by influential journalist Francisco Alanis.
Here’s how we solved its site performance challenges with a WordPress-powered publishing stack.
Navigating the technical complexities of running a media business
Sopitas was experiencing significant performance and technical issues when the team first approached The Code Company.
Originally built in 2006, the site had been modified several times and was bloated with superfluous and inconsistent code. Because the templates were hardcoded, editorial staffers required the help of developers to make basic changes to the website.
Sopitas wanted to find a technical partner that understood digital publishing and the many complexities of running a media business.
“We were looking for the right agency for a very long time.
“As a media company, we needed a partner that could understand and solve the unique technical problems we were facing.
“The Code Company became a kind of publishing guru for us.”
Francisco Alanis, Founder Sopitas
An optimised WordPress publishing infrastructure that's built for speed.
After a detailed technical discovery to understand Sopitas’ tech stack and business goals, The Code Company embarked on a custom build to recreate the existing website with a new, technically-optimised WordPress infrastructure.
Regaining editorial control
In order to retain Sopitas’ trademark look and feel, we used the original website as a style guide – but built a totally new, purpose-built theme using WordPress best practices.
First, our team developed a series of custom Gutenberg blocks to provide an intuitive editorial experience. These drag-and-drop blocks enable the in-house team to curate their entire website layout, and even choose the exact placement of ad slots.
The new editorial tools also make it easy to spin up new pages for special events such as the Olympics and music festivals.
“We’re still enjoying discovering all the new things we can do on our website.
“Every day our team says
‘Wow – we can do that?!’ “
Francisco Alanis, Founder Sopitas
Reducing plugins with custom WordPress integrations
Plugins can offer a simple solution to publishing challenges – but they are often the source of poor site performance and SEO.
Due to the age of the original Sopitas website, the business had been forced to rely on dozens of off-the-shelf plugins to perform essential tasks such as caching, styling and custom functionality.
Our team built a new lightweight WordPress site that eliminates all unnecessary code, and is optimised for site speed. We also consolidated Sopitas’ many plugins into a single streamlined plugin that handles all custom functionality.
Technical SEO and crawl budget optimisation
Our team performed a detailed technical audit of Sopitas data infrastructure to identify:
– Site errors
– Duplicate content
– Unnecessary redirects
– Data structure issues
Following the technical audit, we implemented a range of solutions that resulted in the removal of 20 million invalid duplicate or erroneous URLs.
As part of the technical SEO operation, our team also revised the site architecture – consolidating content and updating articles to point to new categories.
The Code Company also worked collaboratively with a technical marketing agency Upbuild who advised Sopitas on their off-page SEO strategy
Migration to WordPress VIP and Parse.ly
Sopitas had previously experienced frequent server stability issues with their physical server configuration. They needed a hosting solution that was fast, scalable and secure – on the cloud.
Our team deployed the site to WordPress VIP which provides:
- Auto-scaling for traffic spikes
- Built-in CDN and performance monitoring
- Asset optimisation
- Automatic caching
We also set up content analytics platform Parse.ly to help Sopitas better understand their audience.
Advanced site search functionality
The original Sopitas site utilised a Google widget for site search. This slowed down the website and provided a poor user experience.
A move to WordPress VIP gave Sopitas access to in-built enterprise site search tool ElasticSearch. This means millions of records and multiple data types can now be queried with no negative impact on site performance.
The benefits of partnering with a global team
Sopitas collaborated with our project managers during Mexican business hours.
Much of the development work was completed by our Australian development team during times of low traffic in Mexico.
This enabled Sopitas to review and approve new work each morning.
“If you find a trusted technical partner like The Code Company, it’s one of the best investments you can ever make for your business.
“The time difference helped a lot as most of the website work was completed while our audience was asleep.”
Fransisco Alanis, Founder Sopitas