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Wiredelta & EGN – A Multisite For A Global Network

Web DevelopmentWordPress Pluginscontent management systemsEGNWordpress developmentElementorWordPress multisitePromotional sites with WordPressWordPress vs DrupalChallenges in DrupalProfessional web designWordPress solution for distributed teamsElementor for WordPressElementor sitesElementor snd multisiteShortcode in ElementorGravities formsGravities forms in WordPressGravitiy Forms and element orElementor website builder
Updated July 22, 2020 Wiredelta

Almost two years ago we started an exciting and challenging collaboration with EGN, a global executive network of over 14.000 professionals from 15 countries. Back then, EGN was focusing on their existing app, and contracted Wiredelta® to find a way to make it better.

 

Ever since, our teams have been working closely together, constantly updating the app and web platform providing EGN members with the best experience possible.

 

So, as the mobile and web applications are now taken care of, it is time to shift focus towards EGN’s network of promotional websites. 

 

The Problems

EGN teams around the globe manage fourteen different websites, each with its own content and information. Because of this, the marketing teams struggle with several problems. 

 

First issue, the EGN promotional sites were built using Drupal. Normally, Drupal is a very nice CMS, but it has a steep learning curve. This makes it harder to use, especially for non-technical or inexperienced employees. 

 

Secondly, maintaining uniformity in the brand image over 14 websites is a complicated matter. It can take months for the entire network to change something so trivial as a logo.

 

Finally, there is the matter of technical maintenance. Adding new pages or features, updating plugins, and even creating a new website for the networks is a lengthy and costly process. To that, add the hosting of 14 different sites, and keeping the servers up to date. All of this results in chaos. Expensive chaos.   

 

The Solution

The first step in the EGN makeover is new and improved designs by our designer, Stilyan, with the great support of the EGN team.The end result is not just a new look for the platform, but a statement. A loud “Here we are, the truly global executive group”, not only professional and efficient, but strong, young and vibrant. 

old vs new EGN

Next step, build a solution that gives EGN control back over their brand, yet it does not inhibit the creative freedom of their 14 overseas teams. Finding a tool that solves all of the above mentioned issues was actually easy. Why, you ask? Because WordPress has the perfect solution for this task and it is called WordPress Multisite.

 

What were the options before?

Companies like EGN, operating in multiple countries, normally have one of two options. Option one, build one website and translate the platform into different languages. Option two, build one website for each country as EGN did.

 

New Strategy – One site for all

At the end of the day, it’s all about who is in control. Having only one site gives control to the company, the company is in charge of brand updates, technical maintenance etc. Hosting is also cheaper, as there is only one site. But the offshore teams only have control of the content. 

 

The multisite

The multisite takes the qualities of both options and combines them into a wonderful interconnected system. Think of this as a hybrid of the two, where both the company and the rest of the teams have the control they need, without the hassle.

 

Growing the network

Adding a new site in Multisites is as easy as adding a new language in the translation plugin, but better! EGN, for example has three sites now, egn.com, egn.com/dk and egn.com/ae.

 

At first glance these sites look like the root domain (egn.com) and its two subdomains, just like you’d have with a translation plugin. But in fact, egb.com/dk and egn.com/ae are standalone sites, well… subsites.

To create a new subsite for Sweden for example, EGN only needs to go to the network dashboard, select a site, and duplicate it. In just a few moments, egn.com/se will be born!

 

Multisite access levels

Just like with any other WordPress platform, the multisite has a top access level user in control of everything on the platform. In this situation, this user has the role of a super admin.

 

The super admin is the only one who can switch from a platform to another through the dashboard. But, each subsite can also have regular admins, who act exactly like any other user with an admin role does.

Similar to other WordPress admins, sub-admins can create other users and manage their respective site. But the multisite has some access limitation, and does not allow sub-admins to make changes that might affect the network.

 

Personalized subsites

At first glance, all three sites look the same. But elements like the menu, the buttons, even the home page header are personalized. Either the super admin or the sub-admins decide which details they change on each site, giving them their own personality.

This level of personalization gives control back to sub-admins and creatives. Unlike simple subdomains, the teams in each country can adapt their sites to boast information relevant for them.

 

In our case, the egn.com site, or the global site as it is called, has the role of a map, more or less. This means that conted on this site is limited and oriented towards redirecting users to their specific countries.

One example, take a look at the call-to-action buttons. On both the Danish and the Arab Emirates sites, the call-to-action button triggers a contact form popup. However, on the global site, it actually triggers a country selection popup. 

 

This level of freedom enables individual teams the creative power they need. Of course this is just one of the multiple examples of small but vital differences between each site. But, as we said, EGN already have all these elements saved in their templates. So, they don’t need us everytime they want to change something, they have full control.

 

Built with Elementor

Ok, so far so good. We saw how EGN super admins can add a new site and how sub-admins play around with their subsite. But what if they want to implement an element we haven’t already added to their templates? No worries, we built most of the WordPress template in Elementor

 

This WordPress page builder allows EGN to play around with different elements and arrange them in a way that suits their needs. Not only that, but Elementor supports shortcode elements that allow adding customized elements without any development knowledge. 

Take for example this elegant and beautifully designed event slider for EGN’s upcoming events. This element was built by using an existing slider from Elementor, to which our developers added custom HTML and CSS code. Once the new slider was ready and working well, they saved it as a shortcode element for later use. Pretty neat, huh?

 

Gravity Forms

Elementor is great. But what is even more awesome about it is that it works well with many other crucial plugins in WordPress, like Gravity Forms. This Forms plugin is incredibly volatile, and usually works hand in hand with Mailchimp, allowing an automated marketing processes. 

 

However, in EGN’s case, the plugin works as a standalone plugin and is linked to their newsletter, their contact forms and their event signup forms. As Gravity can be linked a different email address for each form, it takes out the extra step in creating lists in Mailchimp while still keeping your inbox organized.

 

Maintenance and updates

The multisite network shares a main dashboard controlled by a Super Admin. Here, the Super Admin installs, activates and updates plugins needed for the entire network. The sub-admins see the installed plugins in their individual dashboards, but don’t have access to remove or deactivate them.

This means that the maintenance task is the responsibility of only one person, instead of 14. Not only that this saves quite a lot of time, but it also minimizes the work required in case a plugin crashes. If one plugin breaks, the superadmin just needs to fix it once. How easy is that?

 

The other good part of the multisite is that it is treated like one website only, therefore hosting and keeping it up-to-date is simple. No more need for 14 admins or complicated monthly checks. One person does it all.

 

The team

The team for this project is formed from Stilyan (Design), Rajarathinam (TM), Maheswari (FE), Kowsika (FE), Saravanan (Fullstack support), Alina (PM), Daniela (Project Supervisor) and Aaron (sysadmin).

 

Thank you all for the incredible sense of teamwork, communication and coordination you have shown during this project.

 

Conclusion 

Many companies think of WordPress as the “startup technology” because it’s affordable and, for a lack of a better word, mainstream. But this is a prime example of how big corporate companies may choose technologies like this for their needs.

 

The moral of this story is that no matter how big or small your company is, your needs dictate the technology you use. So, if you need a simple promotional website you might want to go for WordPress. If you need a complex platform with unique functions, you should opt for a custom build. In either situation, reach out to us, tell us your idea and we can help you decide which technology suits your needs. For more articles like this, don’t forget to visit the Wiredelta case section






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