Custom code and scaling problems
FR12 is the largest news website and online community for Feyenoord fans in The Netherlands. With hundreds of thousands of visitors and thousands of posted comments (up to 10.000 per day) per day, it's the place to be to get in touch with other Feyenoord fans.
When FR12 started, it programmed its website and CMS themselves. They updated their code regularly. But as the code was not well enough optimized for many visitors, it became increasingly difficult for FR12 to cope with a large number of visitors and add new features because the code was outdated and increasingly challenging to maintain.
Because the website was not optimally programmed, it frequently occurred that the website was extremely slow or was down for several hours during peak moments. Also, the web hosting costs of FR12 kept rising.
FR12's wishlist for a new website
FR12 wanted a new website for the following reasons:
- The website needed to be able to handle larger volumes of traffic at peak times. So maximum page speed at all times and no downtime.
- The SEO of the website needed to be improved to get more traffic from Google, but FR12 also wanted to get SEO updates constantly, so all Google Algorithm updates are constantly implemented to always have the website optimised for SEO.
- FR12 has a very active community with over a hundred thousand registered users and therefore wanted to build features that would increase the community's engagement and lead to more visits to the website. But this was not possible with the existing code on which the website was running.
- It was an increasing challenge to monitor the thousands of comments per day. So there was a need for a more advanced moderation system that could better with which FR12 could better monitor the comments, and that required as little manual intervention as possible to moderate all the comments.
- FR12 wanted to add new features to the website. Such as an advanced comment system where users could like each other comments and receive notifications (like on Facebook and Instagram), a night mode, a livescore/match center module and online games like a prediction game.
The mobile apps (iOS and Android) needed more features, such as a liveblog and match center. It was important that all new features on the website would also work in the mobile apps.
FR12 faced the choice of building their own custom CMS and website again or finding another solution.
An important requirement was that the new website would not only contain a lot of new features but would also be future-proof. So with well-maintained code and constant code and SEO updates.
FR12 decided to partner up with Newsifier because of their vast experience in growing news websites and the constant code and security updates to the Newsifier platform to keep it up to date. Newsifier also takes care of the hosting. So FR12 does not need to worry about the technical aspect of their company anymore.
Result of the switch to Newsifier
The switch to Newsifier has exceeded FR12's expectations and has resulted in the following:
- A traffic record within x weeks of switching to Newsifier of x visitors per day
- 92% more SEO traffic per month
- No downtime or loss of page speed during peak traffic moments. During busy days, more than 250,000 unique visitors visit the website, and up to ten thousand comments are posted.
- 25% increase in the number of accounts created per day
- 35% increase in the number of responses posted per day
- A lot of time saved by the effective moderation of all posted comments
A lot of new features became available with the switch to Newsifier:
Due to the extensive experience of the Newsifier team with website migrations, the migration of FR12's website to Newsifier did not result in a loss of SEO traffic. On the contrary: it resulted in a big increase in SEO traffic (+92% within six months). Newsifier is technically 100% optimized for maximizing SEO traffic (Google Search and Google Discover). Its SEO features also allow publishers to SEO optimize their articles and pages themselves fully.
Giving likes to comments
Users can give likes (just like with Facebook/Instagram) to comments by other users. This feature is used massively on FR12. In the first month, users gave more than a million likes. Based on these likes, lists are created with the users and comments with the most likes, which increases the community feeling and leads to a large number of returning visitors.
FR12 also wanted to offer her visitors the possibility to follow all matches live. For this purpose, FR12 uses Newsifier's extensive match center module. This match center also allows users to vote for the Man of the Match after every Feyenoord match.
All match center features (matches, player and club profiles, voting for Man of the Match) are also embeddable in the articles themselves with one click, which adds a great deal of interaction on the website and the mobile apps.
To get users more engaged, FR12 also uses Newsifier's prediction game module. With this prediction game, the users can predict the matches selected by FR12 every week. The prediction game also provides interesting new monetizing possibilities, like cooperation with bookmakers.
There was a need for a new and reliable moderation system. With Newsifier's advanced moderation system, it has become easier to effectively manage the enormous flow of comments and keep out trolls. Moderators can, for example, shadowban users. Shadowbanned users can still see their comments, but their comments are no longer visible to anybody else on the website.
Users receive notifications (similar to Facebook/Instagram) when another user likes their comment or responds to their comment. These notifications are shown in the top bar on the website. And it is also possible to set up an email notification for likes and comments. This new feature has dramatically increased the engagement of users with the website and the number of comments per user.
A night mode was a major feature request by visitors of FR12, who also wanted to use their favourite website in the evening. The night mode can be enabled for both the website and the mobile apps.
Are you curious how Newsifier can help your website grow? Request a demo today.