The Official Charts
Design & build, SEO, Content Management System, affiliate integration, dedicated hosting
Wickedweb has created a technical solution for a total re-brand of The Official Charts Company website, combining powerful infrastructure with complete simplicity. The Official Charts Company is a national institution; a joint venture between the British Phonographic Industry and the Entertainment Retailers Association. The UK’s number one supplier of official charts and data for the music and video industries, it tracks, collates and reports UK media sales - both physical and digital - on a daily basis, compiling a precise indication of the week’s trends and cultural leanings. On a weekly basis the company consults more than 6,200 high street and online retailers in an effort to provide an accurate barometer of the British music scene.
With the 60th anniversary of the UK singles charts approaching, Wickedweb applied a new brand identity to reflect a shift in the focus of the existing website. The re-brand, including new logos, colours and page designs, was to be based around the company’s ‘Where Legends Are Made’ ethos, bringing 60 years of the official charts to a diverse and modern audience. Previously non-prioritised archive content needed to be more accessible and the site would be fully integrated with Amazon and iTunes to drive sales, enabling users to instantly search for, purchase and download chart entries.
The site remains on a powerful content management system that updates automatically - future-proofing the site and also allowing the flexibility to edit features across all pages. It would develop the site into a comprehensive and constantly evolving, income-generating resource, finely balanced between illustrating the company’s extensive history and the need to provide up-to-the-second data to heavy traffic.
A new brand
Having worked with the site previously, Wickedweb’s team began to build the structure around new branding including colours and logos, designed to refresh the look and feel of the site in line with the 60th anniversary of the charts. Having completed the structure, the team began to define the areas of functionality. News sections were strategically placed across the site to keep the content up to date, and social media integration – a key aspect of the new website – was built in along with blogs and competition sections to encourage user interaction. Revenue generation was a crucial development for the new site, so templates were designed to give adverts greater prominence, and integration with iTunes and Amazon was delivered allowing chart data to automatically match data on these sites in order for users to purchase chart entries instantly.
With The Official Charts Company’s website home to some 17,000 pages and peaks of 500 page views per second, a tough infrastructure is crucial. It was therefore designed to run on a version of Wickedweb’s own CMS; a reliable, bespoke and robust system developed from the ground up, and proven capable of handling high volumes of traffic. The CMS would also give The Official Charts Company the opportunity to instantly edit features including elements of the homepage and landing pages, and the whole site was to be fully hosted by Wickedweb.
A significant proportion of the weekly chart data is uploaded automatically, which made it necessary to develop a series of advanced APIs that recognise when data has been uploaded to the server, and populates the correct pages with the new information. It was then designed to run a countdown to 7pm every Sunday, at which point the entire site would refresh and reveal the week’s latest chart data.
The finished product brought together a wide range of requirements from the client, including social media integration, sophisticated look-ups, automatic uploads and revenue generation, with a comprehensive rebrand that emphasises the company’s provenance and longevity. In hard figures, early indication show that traffic to the site has increased by 23 per cent since the relaunch.
Designed to appeal to a diverse audience, the site delivers both up-to-the-minute automatic chart information and a searchable 60-year historic database – ‘the vault’ – creating a simple, neat and user-friendly interface backed up by a powerful, robust and technical solution. The improvement in the navigation of these archives has more than paid off, with page views of the site’s historical content increasing by around 35,000.
A continually evolving entity, the site continues to be updated by Wickedweb, pushing it forward with new interactive and integration developments.
"It was important that our new site was as advanced as the charts now are – it is designed to be the ultimate destination site for anyone looking to find out what is happening in music right now, as well giving the option to delve into decades of British music history."
Martin Talbot, Managing Director
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