The Bookseller – Refreshing the market leading book community websites

The Question

How could a popular website for the book community offer a new look, promote relevant content better and create a more enjoyable user experience both for customers and the editorial team – all without interrupting its day-to-day usage?

The Answer

Create a new and refreshed version of The Bookseller site, migrating from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7 – but that’s not as simple as it sounds.

Not only was this launching on a brand new platform but a huge amount of existing content had to be migrated, as well as ensuring existing integrations with their subscription service, jobs board and their morning briefings weren’t disturbed.

The focus of the new site was a better user experience for customers by restructuring content, creating a cleaner less chaotic homepage and promoting relevant content better. And to create a better experience for the contributing editorial team by merging content types, streamlining work flow and giving them ways into quickly create bespoke content for events and conferences.  

Access accomplished all this with zero downtime and only a minimal content editing freeze of around 2 hours while we finalised the content synchronisation from the outgoing site.

The new responsive Bookseller site launched on Drupal 7, which included an integration with their digital blog Futurebook and a redeveloped consumer facing site, We Love This Book.

Specific features the project delivered

  • Content migration from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7
  • Responsive theme
  • Microsite builder and management tool for events and conferences
  • Improved content creation interfaces and content ‘workbench’/dashboard
  • Improved registration system and ‘my profile’ dashboard
  • Integration with 3rd party subscription management service
  • Automated content creation using 3rd party APIs; Nielson/ISBN data to create the ‘book charts’
  • Solr search index, with related content recommendations
  • Disqus/Social commenting
  • Futurebook channel integration
  • Recent comments and popular content display‘ Global Navigation’ tool to help promote other channels within The Bookseller Group
  • Polls and voting
  • Email marketing platform integration
  • Integration with subscription service to allow membership tiers

Results and Achievements

The results very quickly showed the benefits of improving the user experience:

  • Over 6.5m pages views in first 10 months
  • 39% increase in organic traffic
  • 29% increase in social traffic
  • 8% increase in average session duration
  • ‘Book Charts’ seen 322% increase in page visits
  • Microsite builder allows Bookseller team to create bespoke event content using custom blocks

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