CMS Migration & New Site Build with

A full CMS migration and build of Rolling Stone's brand new website.

With the strategic investment from PMC (Penske Media Corporation), the team from Rolling Stone connected with us about the migration of rollingstone.com from a legacy CMS over to WordPress. Migration projects are nothing unusual, but Rolling Stone is an exceptionally well-loved brand with millions of readers. This project needed to move hundreds of thousands of articles, execute on a brand new design, all while ensuring that the transition was seamless for both readers and the editorial teams.

Services Provided
  • CMS migration
  • Design Implementation
  • Theme & Plugin Development
  • WordPress.com VIP Go compliance

The Challenge

Rollingstone.com had been running on a CMS that didn’t provide the editorial features or development efficiencies needed to scale the platform to the next stage of growth for the brand. WordPress was quickly identified as the ideal CMS solution, yet the migration faced a few unique challenges.

  1. Rolling Stone had over 250,000 articles in the backlog with millions of attached images and other media files
  2. The migration came hand-in-hand with a full redesign of the Rolling Stone website
  3. The WordPress implementation had to facilitate editorial features not handled by the previous CMS
  4. The migration required integration with PMC’s established WordPress platform

To summarise, the project involved a complex data and asset migration, where the output had to facilitate new features, work with an existing WordPress implementation, and successfully deliver the brand new, and high-profile, refresh of the brand’s online experience.

In the midst of this, the chosen hosting platform was WordPress.com VIP, leaders in this kind of at-scale WordPress implementation, who have strict coding standards.

This was one of our smoothest and most successful launches to date. Everyone who reviewed the site - both before and after launch - commented on the exceptional quality. This was down to an incredible effort led by you all, with a focus and dedication that was a joy to be involved in.Nicola Catton | Senior Director, Projects, PMC

The Solution

Migration

Our work on Tide has allowed us to become very familiar with GCP (Google Cloud Platform). We leveraged GCP to build a highly scalable import process that handled the transformation of data and images into a WordPress compatible structure without any data loss. This migration process, as is the case with any large migration, was successful because of the time spent on architecting, building, and testing the process. By the time it came to push the migrate button, the process was ready to run wholly and efficiently.

WordPress.com VIP Compliance

We’ve been WordPress.com VIP partners since 2015 and have become very familiar with their coding standards and platform nuances. For the plugin and theme development work we ensured that the code tests we ran included the custom VIP sniffs. This meant, as well as ensuring the produced code was of the highest standard, the code review by the VIP team went smoothly and without issue.

List Post Editorial Experience

Rolling Stone regularly break down the music, film, and TV industry into list-style articles that give readers a high-level view on a particular topic. These list articles have a unique layout and design and the editorial team pulling them together needed an interface that would easily facilitate their production. We worked with their team to identify the UX needs of this interface and then built it to include things like:

  • The ability to number and reorder list items
  • A custom focal-point image cropping tool
  • Template selection based on the focus of the article (albums vs general)

Additionally, some of this list-style articles can contain 100’s of items so we implemented a custom pagination solution that helped the end reader easily navigate through longer lists.

From the start, we knew that this project would be a significant undertaking due to the vast amount of historical archive data, dating back to the 1960’s, and the brand’s massive fanbase. We approached this project with the necessary care and foresight to ensure a smooth migration and an end product that is built on solid technical grounding.Matt Geri | WordPress Architect, XWP

The Impact

By project completion, Rolling Stone had successfully moved decades worth of digital content over to WordPress and was able to launch the new online expression of their beloved brand with confidence. Launch day proved that the focus on code quality and QA paid off with a public release without any issues. The business is now positioned to build on its strong history and move forward into the next phase of its growth.

Key Takeaways
  • Smooth as silk launch day
  • Large and complex data migration
  • Improved editorial experience

Need help with a high-stakes migration?

Let's talk!