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Sequential Tech and Design

and our work with MonitorDaily

MonitorDaily: Upgrading Hosting, WordPress, and Design

As technology advances, the tech industry is expanding and evolving at an ever-accelerating pace. Continued online success depends on the ability to adapt in tandem with the fluctuating tides of internet commerce. An ally specializing in the latest and most effective practices can prove crucial to optimizing the productivity of your organization. Sequential Tech & Design, a web company from Philadelphia, specializes in building these relationships of synergy and collaboration through savvy web development, design, and hosting.

Sequential Tech & Design has developed one such relationship with MonitorDaily, a publication specializing in equipment finance both online and in print. Between desktop and mobile sites, MonitorDaily facilitates 30,000 monthly site users interacting with over ten years’ worth of news, media, and data, averaging 75,000 page views per month. A rapidly changing tech landscape necessitated some upgrades for their site to ensure their place in a competitive market, so when the time came to modernize and rebrand, Sequential stepped in with vision and tact.

The Problem

The company’s decade-old WordPress site needed updates to both infrastructure and design. The outdated technology hosting the site prevented it from functioning efficiently and came at far too high a cost. MonitorDaily’s site was hosted by AWS, Amazon’s hosting service, which calculates costs based on both site traffic and the amount of data stored. While old technology and outdated plugins plagued the quality and speed of their site, MonitorDaily found itself paying an exorbitant amount for hosting. Moreover, separate desktop and mobile designs detracted from the site’s SEO rating, which determines search priority with Google. Worse yet, the outdated system opened up the site to potentially compromising security issues. Dissatisfied with their arrangement, MonitorDaily felt it was time for an overhaul, so Sequential Tech stepped in to help.

Updating Hosting

Hosting can be confusing. When revitalizing a site, figuring out the “where” and “how” of its hosting is the first order of business, but with hundreds of options, it can be difficult to assess how a host might take advantage of its clients. For MonitorDaily, the size and constant transfer of data drove hosting costs unnecessarily high. Consequently, AWS was dropped in favor of Digital Ocean, a provider with which Sequential could build a dedicated environment with a devoted web and database server built solely for the site. Furthermore, Digital Ocean’s more predictable pricing meant they were less likely to charge for data storage and transfer, lowering monthly costs by well over 60%.

Source

This leap in hosting included servers loaded with updated technology, most importantly PHP, the coding language that powers WordPress. Among these upgrades, a PHP update from 5.6 to 7.2 resulted in massive performance gains. In a recent benchmark of PHP with WordPress 5, version 7.2 handled 249% more requests than PHP 5.6, ensuring faster performance for a responsive site well-equipped to meet the demands of a growing community. If the servers were an engine, this PHP update traded gasoline for rocket fuel, enabling faster and more efficient performance. Updates keep the site agile as older PHP versions are phased out, ensuring site security and successful in future developments. Sequential now maintains and audits MonitorDaily with constant vigilance and protection via frequent security updates. A simple switch in hosting allowed this site to modernize and become more secure while saving money in the process.

Updating WordPress and Integrations

WordPress and its plug-ins proved the next major issue in need of reevaluation. MonitorDaily had been running version 4.8.3 of WordPress. At over two years old, the site was missing out on both new features and critical security updates. After updating the site to the most current version, Sequential now actively ensures the site is kept up-to-date, resulting in increased speed and security, more features, and critical bug fixes. Next, all plug-ins received an update, a basic upkeep activity of the highest importance. Catching up your dated tech can prove expensive, especially if it is allowed to fall massively behind. For this reason, Sequential employs ongoing WordPress and plug-in updates to ensure ongoing technological stability at a reasonable cost in an industry rife with inflated costs.

While updating the infrastructure, Sequential saw enormous potential for improving MonitorDaily’s ad server and hosting. Like most online publications, MonitorDaily makes the majority of its revenue from advertisements. However, the company’s self-hosted ad server, Revive, inflated ongoing maintenance costs and disrupted business. With no technical support to assist with ad server issues, all problems necessitated research and action by MonitorDaily staff at the expense of time and revenue. For example, if an advertiser requested advanced metrics to assess the site’s ad performance, MonitorDaily had to find and deliver these statistics. If more specialized reporting was required, the burden fell on the MonitorDaily team to identify these parameters and accomplish them with Revive. Furthermore, Revive lacked a number of modern filtering features, including bot, spam-click, and data center traffic filtering, all of which prove vital to keeping ad value high, increasing revenue. Any “extra” features offered by Revive required premium add-ons that often proved quite expensive. On Sequential’s end, Revive’s complicated updates required intensive, costly, and time-consuming effort. Ultimately, the company opted to move away from the inefficient performance of this ad server.

To address these issues. Sequential collaborated with MonitorDaily to pinpoint a cost-effective, working alternative congruent with their particular needs. MonitorDaily migrated to Advert Serve, a full-service ad server that offers not only consistent updates, but also management and technical support from a staff of highly trained ad-tech specialists, keeping pace with the blistering pace of the tech industry. Advert Serve also offers advertisers the ability to log in directly to their site and view statistical analysis on how their advertising performance. This alleviated MonitorDaily’s need to research this data personally. Each of these improvements serve to save time and money, uplifting MonitorDaily’s ad services to industry standards and advertiser expectations.

Updating Design

With work “under the hood” concluded, the final challenge lay in the creation of a streamlined blueprint for the website’s actual design. Site design is the face of a company, speaking to who you are and what you aim to accomplish. Yet it must be simple, easy to navigate, and responsive. MonitorDaily modeled their vision after the sites of prodigious publications like Forbes and Fortune, which exemplify straightforward, sleek designs that are as easy to navigate as they are aesthetically pleasing. After building this brand new design, Sequential applied it to both mobile and desktop versions of the site, boosting MonitorDaily’s SEO rating, as well as bolstering their advertising capabilities. This fresh, professional design appeared as the ideal face for the rebranding of MonitorDaily.

On the below image, slide the bar to the left to see the transformation:

Moving Forward

MonitorDaily continues to thrive with a site much more well-positioned for the future. It is modern and polished while retaining the features that make it so popular. Simple updates to hosting, WordPress, ad service, and design have breathed new life into this site, and will continue to do so in accordance with technological advances. Collaboration with a savvy web design and development company like Sequential Tech can prove extremely beneficial to the health and wellness of your company’s digital interests. Sequential aids in not only eyeing major underlying issues, but also in facilitating the conceptual and technical upkeep of your internet presence. Moreover, with the support of Sequential, the client’s technological burden is lifted and transferred to the capable shoulders of an organization well-versed and experienced in internet technology. As the tide of technology proves ever-rapid, expansive, and accelerating, an anchor of experts can make all the difference in maintaining your correct technological course.

 

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