Smoothly migrating from Drupal to WordPress with Plan International

Company

Plan International

Industry

NGO

Highlights

Subsites with multiple languages

Custom automated workflows for content creators

Migrating a site from one web platform to another is no small task, but the team at Plan International knew exactly what they needed from their provider. With a clear vision and some epic teamwork, here’s how we helped make it happen. 

What was the need?

Efficiency: Due to both high levels of customization and the specific version number used (7), Plan International’s Drupal platform wasn’t able to update automatically. Sites and languages were managed manually via URL, which led to lots of potential issues with duplicated content, non-canonical URLs and a website in need of some organization.

Content management: Their CMS wasn’t user-friendly and had been developed organically over a number of years. Functionality was clunky, buggy, and problems were not easily resolved. With up to 200 editors worldwide and 50+ sites, they also wanted to improve their language capabilities, and to grant varying levels of ownership and editorial control to non-admin users. Empowering local users to manage content without the help of the digital team was also key.

Maintenance: Pages weren’t being added to the XML sitemap automatically, while some legacy pages were still listed. Lots of bespoke development had eventually resulted in a difficult-to-maintain site which ran slowly and had historically been prone to outages, leading to extended downtime if occurring outside business hours. There was also a lack of documentation and training materials for new users. 

A big thing for us was that we wanted a tried and tested solution. We wanted as much as possible to avoid custom coded solutions or open ended questions; we wanted to find solutions.

Danny Plunkett
Head of Content & Creative, Plan International

What did we do?

Altis reached out to our partner Angry Creative to deliver the consultancy, design and production of the new site. Working hand-in-hand with us, Angry Creative provided consultancy to match Plan International’s desired UX and design vision with a practical Gutenberg approach and wider WordPress compatibility.

Since a big part of Plan International’s requirements centered around local editorial needs, ensuring that the switch from Drupal to WordPress included tailoring to non-technical users and supported multi-language functionality was key. 

As well as setting up subsites to allow transitions between language versions, we also helped Plan International move to an efficient multisite setup with custom domains. Altis’ 202 content delivery network points of presence (CDN PoP) helps with this complex multisite setup, particularly when so many languages are involved. While this isn’t possible in an out-of-the box WordPress solution, Altis’ cloud capabilities made it happen, creating efficiencies by helping the client’s team shorten their operational process. 

When it comes to significant numbers of users and content creators, it’s important to maintain consistency as well as security. The subset architecture means each relevant stakeholder only has access to certain areas of the site, and with Angry Creative, we helped design custom automated workflows and publication checklists to improve operations in a trustworthy way. 

Add to this Altis’ minimal cookie defaults and inbuilt consent solution and we were on to a winner: no broken styles, no wrong-size images, and fully GDPR compliant.

What happened next?

With Angry Creative, we undertook product management to ensure maximum value. Moving forward, Plan International will be following a roadmap of fine-tuning and development using the Altis A/B testing functionality. 

As a global non-profit organization, some microsites are used for fundraising purposes, and so supporting these efforts through CRM and data capture, as well as social media integrations, will be on the near-term horizon. The structure and processes that Human Made and Altis have provided will help to springboard these initiatives.

What’s more, the site architecture is also helping to kick off a cultural shift towards a more hands-on approach to content creation. 

Letting people have the freedom to manage their sites, and as a consequence get more engaged in developing content for the sites, is important for us, as is our quality control function alongside that.

Danny Plunkett
Head of Content & Creative, Plan International

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