Following a successful migration project in 2017 (Blogger to WordPress), the YAVB Blog experienced rapid growth in readership, commentators, content and newsletter subscribers. In mid 2020, the team began speaking with Isotropic about redesigning the site to run quicker, be more up to date, follow best SEO practices and monetize further.
Previously, YAVB was offering premium content through a service called Substack, but due to the value of the membership and quantity of readers, the team needed a better solution (Substack charges a 10% payment processing fee).
Also, using a third party platform was limiting some from subscribing to content directly through the site -- in other words, profits were being diminished by not offering premium content directly through the site.
We began the project with the following goals in mind:
We rebuilt the entire backend and underlying framework with the Oxygen Builder, while keeping the general branding and structure the same. This allowed for a quicker site, and gives us the ability to expand further in the future.
As per GTMetrix testing, the old site took 4.4 seconds to load while the new site took 1.0 seconds to load.
We made the site easier to use while keeping the structure and branding the same. This included installing a new font, incorporating an AJAX search feature, setting up WPDiscuz for a better commenting system, and adding a Formidable Forms contact form.
The new podcast page automatically displays YAVP episodes, and offers users a quick way to listen on Spotify, Google or Apple.
The figurehead feature of the 2.0 site is the new membership system. With it, the author can lock high quality investment theses behind a paywall, making it only available to paying members. Compared to a third party system, the content still shows on the "free blog" (which gets tons of traffic), but readers are directed to either log in or subscribe to a paid membership. We used Memberpress and a Stripe/PayPal combo for our membership feature, cutting down payment processing costs to about 2%. We also built out an optimized landing page, and set up a "coupon" feature.
Within 3 days of launching the system, it attracted dozens of new paying members, and the project achieved positive ROI.