Some background on ClassicsToday.com
Classicstoday.com has been publishing classical music reviews for over a decade now. And their website had not been reworked in any serious fashion since they originally launched back in 1999! Their website is composed entirely of editorial and review content, our primary challenge was to take all of that legacy information and migrate it over to our new WordPress environment without compromising any of its integrity while at the same time vastly improving all design and usability aspects of the site. When all was said and done we had migrated roughly 15,000 review and articles into their new system. This was a massive job but the end result has been received extremely well and we are looking forward to supporting the ongoing development and growth of ClassicsToday.com for years to come!
The biggest key to improving ClassicsToday.com was completely re-imagining how the site’s review search worked. The previous ClassicsToday search was very linear and difficult to use. They previously had three different searches that were used to search only a fraction of their entire catalog. We took those three clunky search forms and transformed them into a new single search form that is available on every page of the website rather than having to click and load a separate search screen every time you want to check for something in the review catalog. Here are some of the new search form features functionality:
- jQuery auto complete functionality added for all text field searches, pulling result recommendations directly from the database in real-time
- New slider selects for artistic quality and sound quality
- Ability to combine any components of a review to produce search results
- Integration of private insider content searches as well so you can just see private review content if you so choose
The entire ClassicsToday website needed a major facelift. Not having any major visual adjustments for over 10 years made this a very challenging process. It kind of felt like trying to clean up someone’s garage that hadn’t been organized for 10 years, like an online episode of hoarders.
We wanted to keep the design clean and organized and do a much better job of integrating the advertising and key feed and search points throughout the site. We took special care in making sure all the fonts, column spacing and article details are all clear and easy to read on desktop and mobile applications alike. Now the new site features very easy to read and browse information that is balanced and highly accessible.
Another big challenge for this project was the data migration of all the review catalog content from their old ASP database system to the new WordPress PHP and MySQL database structure. Normally this kind of migration isn’t all that difficult but toss in the fact that they only thing we had to work with for this migration was an excel file that was 14,000 rows deep by 100 columns wide and you get the picture! Working with a flat data file added a serious challenge to this process as it required us to script a custom loop script to process each individual record and then rebuild it as a new review custom post type record in the new WordPress website. This is an excellent example of just how far you can push the design and development with a WordPress custom post type.
This project was all about the loyal readers of Classics Today. Beyond the massive search and explore tools we built into the new site we also developed new archive links for each and every review so that when you are done reading the review you are just a single click away from viewing a whole bunch of other reviews for that composer, soloist, instrument or record label. In addition, we also integrated social media sharing tools for all site content as well as automatically related music review and editorial content based on musical genre.
The final and most profitable component we integrated into the Classics Today website is the new Insiders section. This is an online subscription that features special premium review and editorial content for the extreme classical music junkie. The subscription runs on an annual basis and all registration and member management is completely integrated with the WordPress site. The new Insider section has its own search and allows users with active accounts to access the ENTIRE archive of reviews. So far the new Insider section has been received extremely well. In June alone, Classics Today has added 58 new members to their site and that total continues to grow every day.
Isn’t it time you took control of your online presence?
If you need a great design but also need tools and features like these for your business, give us a call at 603-924-1978 or fill out our website development request form now so we can get talking about your next website development project!