How to convince 2 million users per month? – the Prawo.pl case study

NowyMarketing.pl, Author: Marcin Kielar
28 November 2019

Information is one of the most important values nowadays. The way of communication has a key impact on achieving the goal. This thesis was used by Wolters Kluwer - the owner of 15 different thematic portals, who decided to create one reliable source of information. The task’s implementation was the responsibility of Ideo (Software House) and Ideo Force (e-Marketing Agency) specialists. In six months, the Prawo.pl website has transformed into one of the largest websites in its field, with over 2 million users per month.

The Prawo.pl portal, despite that it has been available for less than 2 years, has already been recognized by users and has been awarded in the Good Design competition "for thousands of free content offered in all areas of law". As emphasized by the experts of the Institute of Industrial Design, the real challenge is to build such an extensive portal. It was also appreciated the way it responds to the needs of users.

The Minister of Entrepreneurship and Technology awarded the website with a special award - Design of the Year 2019. It is a prize for the publication of legal and economic news in a clear and legible form, as well as for the analyzes of the most important issues.

Wolters Kluwer provides legal information globally, tools and compliance products for professionals. It has branches located in over 40 countries, and hire almost 20 thousand people, including 7 thousand content editors. It provides its services to clients from over 180 countries.

The company cooperates with many specialists in a given field, including- law, business, or public administration. One of the main goals of Wolters Kluwer is to provide specialist legal knowledge through knowledge bases, websites, books, and magazines. Its offer includes also electronic tools useful when we working with legal documentation, the LEX Legal Information System, as well as compliance software. Wolters Kluwer organizes numerous conferences and training.

Our cooperation with Wolters Kluwer began in 2015. Originally it was only about positioning, but over time it started to apply to other services. The current scope of work includes the implementation of new websites and online stores, research and optimization of current portals, as well as comprehensive promotional activities on the Internet.

Case’s analysis

Wolters Kluwer had 15 information portals that presented its product offer and covered the most important areas of law:

  1. lex.pl
  2. kancelaria.lex.pl
  3. samorzad.lex.pl
  4. abc.com.pl
  5. prawo.pl
  6. bhp.abc.com.pl
  7. budownictwo.abc.com.pl
  8. kadry.abc.com.pl
  9. oswiata.abc.com.pl
  10. podatki.abc.com.pl
  11. student.lex.pl
  12. srodowisko.abc.com.pl
  13. twoja-firma.abc.com.pl
  14. zamowienia-publiczne.lex.pl
  15. zdrowie.abc.com.pl

Each of these portals had its users with specific interests in a given field. However, the dispersion of content to this extent is difficult to manage. The proper organization in terms of administration, editorial, and marketing side was a real challenge. The situation in which the portals competed for readers was also unfavorable due to the overlapping of many legal aspects.

The fact is that Wolters Kluwer is the largest provider of legal knowledge in Poland. Unfortunately, having a large number of web portals made it almost impossible to build brand awareness in this area. Moreover, this stratification was an obstacle for the readers in the general knowledge of current information and opinions in the field of law.

Necessity to change

Ewa Usowicz, Director of the Information Services Department at Prawo.pl, explains: “I’ve worked for many years as a journalist in the legal department in the largest dailies in Poland, and with time I’ve noticed that something started to change. Today, information is mass-produced and flowing by leaps and bounds. It considers all types of information, including legal information. Digital messages replace those on paper. Many lawyers abandon traditional media in favor of electronic publications. It happens that the younger ones have never even held an ordinary newspaper in their hands. This method of communication is already built from the top - even ministers inform about their decisions via tweets, which is immediately commented on and shared by thousands of Internet users. Distribution of information must be adapted to the developing technology market. "

Responding to the needs of both the company and Internet users, the idea was born to create one platform aggregating various content from all portals. It was decided to create a comprehensive legal portal on the Prawo.pl website, integrated with the LEX Legal Information System. Thanks to this, users are provided with access to the most important news from the portal, and Prawo.pl strengthens its image as a professional and reliable source of legal knowledge.

"Prawo.pl. is a modern legal service, which provides access to all users. The information published on the webpage is updated on an ongoing basis and relate to aspects such as taxes, local government, human resources, education, and health. It is also a forum for polemics, exchange of interesting opinions or access to judgments of Polish and EU courts. " - summarizes Ewa Usowicz.

The created portal was to be naturally placed in the customer journey, at the same time allowing for efficient implementation of marketing goals.

Because of expanded content, it was extremely important to ensure the legibility and logic of the presented information. To further adjust the portal to the requirements of Internet users, it has been adapted to mobile devices, in accordance with RWD standards. This makes the web portal an accessible and convenient source of reliable information.

As a result of the need, Wolters Kluwer appointed a dedicated, interpersonal team for the time of project duration. Prepared budget, time, and necessary tools supported activities in key areas of the project. The cooperation was based on mutual trust, thanks to which we had full access to all information that was required during the implementation of tasks. The effects of cooperation were visible at every stage of the project implementation.

Technology platform

Prawo.pl webpage was realized on the Ideo’s proprietary Edito CMS platform. The choice was not accidental - the platform meets the technical requirements for migrating a large amount of content and the expected number of users. The system is effective, which has been confirmed by numerous previous implementations of information portals.

The infrastructure created for Prawo.pl is very capable, and:

• Nginx - web server, faster than Apache up to 300%
• PHP 7.2 - has about 30% better performance in relation to PHP 5.6
• Redis - functional NoSQL database for Cache support
• Load Balancer handles load balancing the servers
• Dedicated cache - to handle content from external sources

When designing the platform, we used the experience of journalists who created the portal's editorial staff. Their knowledge used in personalizing the Edito administration panel allowed for full adjustment of the tools to the working style of the editorial team. The dedicated mechanisms increased the efficiency of editorial activities.


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Design stage

The mock-up presented the functional layout and the initial graphic layout of the portal. It was created with details, it presented the layout of individual sections and content. The mock-up made it possible to learn the path of use for potential users and implement changes at this stage.

It was also a time when SEO activities were taken into account. It is worth paying attention to the fact that positioning is quite a complex topic. After thorough software analyzes of specific solutions, important elements in the work of developers were identified. All recommendations were consulted on an ongoing basis with an SEO expert on the client's side.

Such a detailed mock-up made it possible to get to know the website concept in-depth and to juxtapose the assumption with practical application. Additionally, thanks to UX research was possible to eliminate any situations that may be a problem for users in the future. Such activities caused that any corrections and minor works were performed at a low cost - time.

Content layout


One of the key aspects of migrating such thematically complex content was the clear information architecture. It was necessary to take into account not only new users but also regular readers and provide them convenient and easy access to news after changes. It was intended to create an attractive portal, to encourage Internet users to use knowledge regarding various topics.

The top menu, as the main navigation element of the website, has been divided into individual sections, which reflect the subject matter of previously operating portals. In turn, each section has detailed subcategories, which allows for a more precise finding of an article from a given subject area. The navigation is facilitated by the menu that follows the user, and this allows you to go back at any time to, for example, the parent category or another thematic section.

The latest information, opinions, comments, various supplementary materials, etc. are displayed on the right side of the portal. Multimedia materials, such as videos, are also published here, and they enriched text.

Each tab presents the same content layout. This solution allows users to quickly find themselves in the structure, regardless of where it is located.

Information with lower priority is placed at the bottom of the website. There is a newsletter and contact details for the company. There is also a repeated abbreviated menu structure with subcategories listed.

An important part of the website can be found in the "Legal acts" section, as it contains all available acts issued since 1918. Users can also find up-to-date information on any law’s changes. The document is legible and published as a uniform text, taking into account any changes in the original text. Additionally, the applied list view allows you to quickly view any content at once. Files are placed in a form that allows them to be downloaded or printed directly.

Color

The website uses a neutral color palette - this makes it clear, aesthetic, and easy to absorb content. The selected color scheme is not only visually attractive but also has a utility function when navigating. Each of these colors was chosen by design and fulfills a specific role:

  • White - is the background of the portal; chosen because of its versatility when presenting content with rich graphic design, such as color photos, tables, charts, etc.
  • Black - the font and the top menu have been designed in this color. It is characterized by universality and is associated with professionalism and reliability. As a menu color, it is a kind of frame for the content being viewed.
  • Red - it is only a color accent, placed in selected places, eg to indicate the section where the given information is located. It was also used to emphasize an important part of the text from the user's point of view. Red is also visible in the portal logo.
  • Gray - a color that appears rarely. Displayed as the background of a section leading to other information or an action prompting banner (CTA). It is also part of the color included in the website's logo.

Colors selected in such a way, without unnecessary distractions, supports the absorption of information. It also shows a professional approach, which is of considerable quality in the field of legal subjects.

The proprietary content management system CMS Edito offers many possibilities that allowed for the implementation of all customer recommendations, along with the use of current trends. We paid special attention to the intuitiveness of the website – to give users easy access to numerous information on the website, and the client could easily manage the entire system. Numerous editorial processes are shortened thanks to the easy-to-use panel.

SEO guidelines

Positioning activities are very important, therefore this area was included in the earlier stages of the portal design. Successful SEO work contributes to the success of the project. Therefore, it was important to plan the tasks correctly. As a result of taken action, we would like to create a clearly visible website.

Ideo Force specialists performed an in-depth SEO analysis and presented the results to the client. The audit contained detailed proposals of actions for specific elements of the portal, taking into account all the guidelines of a dedicated SEO specialist from the client's side.

Before the changes’ implementation, the website had subpages to which external links led. All portals enjoyed high visibility and traffic, so it was necessary to create a redirection system from the "old" portals to the new. In this process was important that new redirections were permanent (so-called 301). They inform Google robots that the content has been permanently transferred and that the old web-address should be replaced with the new one in organic search results.

When building a website that brings together a dozen others, apart from SEO activities, content and marketing strategy are extremely important. Therefore, while designing the website, were organized training sessions for the editorial office, which was conducted by Wojciech Szymański from Ideo Force.

Changes in the SEO area

We proposed changes to the website architecture in such areas:

  • Header elements (from h1 to h4) which are crucial for the correct site structure
  • Elements such as title and meta description tags - important from the point of view of SEO and users (visible in free search results)
  • Schema.org schemas allowing the search engine to better ‘understand’ the website, which has an influence on search results
  • Optimization of images that must primarily be indexed by search engine bots
  • Speed of website elements operation for both mobile and desktop versions
  • Additional SEO configuration of subpages in the panel - sections, details in the article or descriptive pages

Content migration

The content transfer is a complex process, not only because of the need to ensure many activities and their reliability. This is a difficult task because the effects of work can only be assessed after some time. In case, when a serious mistake is made, information about it may arrive too late, and consequently removing its effects will then be really difficult.

During the tasks’ implementation at the Prawo.pl portal, an additional factor appeared that complicated the entire process even more. Excluded and redirected pages together had 1,309,802 subpages. The biggest challenge was to develop a mechanism that would effectively handle such a large number of URL redirects without causing any loss of existing traffic.

Acting in accordance with SEO practice and standards, we have maintained a high position in the search results. Thanks to the introduced changes, the website saw an increase in the number of users already after 6 months, compared to the number before the changes. It is worth emphasizing that we would not achieve such an effect if we were created a website completely from scratch.

The above graph, created with the Senuto tool, shows a rapid increase of the page visibility. 

Graph showing the increase in traffic on the website Prawo.pl, including keywords

The next step was the effects’ observation of taken actions, which were then discussed in detail with the SEO specialist and developers. When all work with the use of Google Search Console and Google Analytics was performed, the clicks and page views were analyzed, comparing them with the data before migration. It took several months to track the links to the redirected domains. Ultimately, we chose the most valuable ones and gave up the rest. Thanks to well-thought-out activities and the extensive knowledge of specialists from both Ideo and Wolters Kluwer, the SEO potential of the existing websites has been fully preserved. Most of the organic traffic currently transferred to the new website comes from search results.

A graph showing the increase in the number of users after merging the existing services

The chart above shows a consistent, temporary increase in the number of users, who visits the website. Maintaining a constant, high level of results confirms the effectiveness of taken actions.

To achieve such effects, it was important to properly organize work and consistently carry out tasks, according to the prepared plan. At the same time, the entire process was carried out in accordance with SEO practices, to guarantee a high level of visits to the Prawo.pl website, but above all, to keep growing this number. The cooperation with specialists from Wolters Kluwer had a great impact on the achievement of success. Our jointly defined goal was achieved in a way that exceeded the initial assumptions. As a result, we have created a professional and powerful source of knowledge that provides reliable information to 2 million users.


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Effects

  • About 250,000 articles were transferred and 1,309,802 subpages were redirected, without losing users and positions in search results
  • The number of users who visit the portal monthly exceeds 2,000,000
  • The created portal aggregates a lot of content and documents, while maintaining intuitiveness and ease of use
  • Most of the traffic comes from the search results
  • The number of users increased just 3 months after implementation
  • The highest level of support and technical care
     

Author

Marcin Kielar, Information portals specialist, Ideo

Publication: NowyMarketing.pl, 28.11.2019 r.

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