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Inside the industry and inside the agency

8 May 2014

Automotive Case Studies

The automotive industry is one of the world’s most important economic sectors by revenue, with a predicted 72 million car sales predicted for 2014. Car manufacturers are literally running each other down to get a slice of the automotive pie and are forever strategizing and formulating new and creative ways to reach their desired audiences.

23 Aug 2011

Schülke are the international specialists in infection control products, hygiene, disinfection and preservation, and are a long standing client of Wickedweb.  The UK website was over - hauled by us a year ago and Wickedweb manage ongoing developments to the site and the digital strategy.  One of schülke’s key objectives is to maintain their leading position in the market by ensuring the brand engages with its audience in an innovative way.

Following the website re-brand, schülke were keen to enforce this re-positioning, increase traffic to the site and encourage repeat visits.  It was also paramount that we worked on raising awareness for the brand.  Wickedweb advised creating a members area for the main schülke website as part of the content strategy, in order to bring engagement with the audience to the fore.  In addition, a dedicated microsite for the dental portfolio was created to support a key campaign.

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Our recommendation also included launching social media activity for the first time, which underpinned their data acquisition objectives.  Furthermore, Wickedweb rolled out an SEO strategy.

Find out more about the overall strategy Wickedweb implemented for schülke and how this met the client’s objectives.

Nicola Furniss, Senior Product Manager for schülke comments: 

“Wickedweb were integral to the launch of our re designed site which was intended to make us and our products and services more accessible to our customers. Wickedweb continue to support us both creatively and technically in our online activity as pioneers of infection prevention.”

30 Apr 2010

With the release this week of The Official Charts website which is hosted on our Wickedweb CMS platform it's a good time to look at some of the CMS features that make it possible.

The Official Charts website is a busy site throughout the week but with the chart release at 7pm on Sunday we also have to serve an incredible peak of traffic.

One of my central design goals for the Wickedweb CMS was speed under load. Under load the weak point in any content management system is normally the database. Whilst it is reasonably straight forward to increase your ability to serve http requests just by adding hardware it is a lot harder to increase your ability to serve database requests in the same way.

A normal content managed page will contain a number of modifiable content areas, a number of modifiable menu structures and possibly some custom elements (for example the chart listings on The Official Charts site). A naive CMS implementation would fetch each item from the database and render them into the page on every page view. The Wickedweb CMS avoids this by integrating caching at every level. What this means is that we only have to fetch and render content once for any change. Even on page elements that change at the level of seconds this can be a big win for a busy site. If you are serving 50 pages a second and have content that changes once a second you will still be reducing the load for this element from 50 database calls per second to 1 per second. By integrating the caching at every level from individual database rows, to module page components up to entire pages we are able to not only reduce database load but also the work done for each page load. This means many more pages per second can be served by the same hardware.

Another way of reducing your server load is to move static content off of the server and onto a content delivery network (CDN). Using a CDN not only means freeing up your server to serve more dynamic content but also moves the static content nearer to your customers, improving their page load times. The Wickedweb CMS integrates CDN hosting seamlessly, you upload content to the CMS as if it was stored locally and the CMS publishes to the CDN for you.

It should go without saying that a quality hosting platform is essential to a quality CMS driven site, however many people are attracted to the low prices of bulk shared hosting providers. It is a false economy as your site will be at the mercy of the hundreds of other sites on the same server. This can mean not only a bad customer experience but also poor search engine ranking.

For the Wickedweb CMS we have partnered with leading managed hosting provider Rackspace who provide a powerful, highly reliable, secure hosting platform for our CMS. By serving the CMS on hardware dedicated only to that purpose we are in control of all the elements that affect performance from the server configuration, the code and the maximum load. Depending on the demands of your website the Wickedweb CMS is able to scale from shared hosting, to a dedicated server or multi-server solution.

29 Mar 2010

Digital marketing is a strange old world.  All too often we have clients with large corporate or retail brands coming to us for help to deliver a new or improved digital presence.  This process invariably looks at the old, giving us lesions to learn from when we create the new.  One lesson many of our customers have learnt the hard way is that they have spent considerable sums of investment on their digital presence, only to have it hosted on a very budget platform.  Often tens of thousands of pounds are spent on SEO, PPC, online and offline marketing all with the aim of driving visitors to the site, only for the problems on the hosting turning these visitors off, meaning they often don’t return or worse, take a negative view of your brand.

The suppliers of these budget shared or unmanaged environments, leverage the mystery that surrounds hosting, use massive bandwidth and disk space allocations headline figures  that draw people’s attention, but there is much more to choosing a hosting supplier than these headline figures alone.

A lot of these budget hosting suppliers will fit as many sites as possible (sometimes 100-200) onto each server regardless of the resources each site is requiring, no or little control is in place to stop one site having a detrimental effect on the other sites it is hosted alongside.  Get lucky and your brands site could be hosted on a server with 199 other sites who are only being viewed a few times a day.  Get unlucky and your site is being hosted on a server with 199 other sites all hogging the resources of the server and your web presence is now destined for slow load times, unavailability and errors.

Here at Wickedweb we can personally take on the responsibility for hosting your solution, leveraging our partnership with Rackspace to deliver top notch hosting for your site.  To deliver what really matters to our customers we look at many elements of the clients requirements including traffic requirements, chronological traffic patterns and the technical activities that site has to perform.  Only when all these metrics have be looked at will we recommend our client a hosting package.

If your brand is suffering the effects of slow or inadequate hosting please feel free to get in touch and we will help take the mystery out of hosting.

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