North Georgia Living Magazine was recently acquired by a new owner who seeks to expand the print readership into both print and digital.
With a big focus on digital, North Georgia Living Magazine can capture far more market share, far more advertising revenue, and a much larger subscription base.
With practically no existing digital infrastructure, North Georgia Living Magazine tasked us with designing and developing a brand new website with a fully-featured digital magazine, a dynamic checkout system for enrolling new paid subscribers, an event system, programmable digital advertising, and an exclusive members' only area.
This project wasn't just about designing and developing a website, it was designing and developing a website plus templating systems that allow for dynamic content population, consistency, and ease of future updates.
We designed custom templates for each magazine division, single posts, authors, giveaways, and events. In fact, we built a completely custom event and giveaway system that allows anyone on the NGLM team to add/update events and giveaways with zero knowledge of website editing.
All-in-all, the project was over 30 pages and 14 separate templates. The result is a fully functional, multi-author digital magazine.
For the home page, we decided on a simple hero header that just featured the magazine branding and background image that's easily swapped depending on the time of year.
Below the hero header and navigation, there's a carousel of featured articles that put a strong focus on the attached photo.
Each section of the home page, like most of the pages on the site, is broken up by clean, unobtrusive advertising spaces.
Next is a "latest articles" area so people can easily see what's new, followed by featured events and a free subscription area.
The departments page is just a simple page we created to visually represent the main departments of the magazine to give people a bird's eye view and easier on-page navigation.
When you select a department, you're brought to the department page. Each department featured its own unique header and an article grid that populates with articles from that specific department.
We coded this grid so that it automatically detects the department and populates with the posts rather than creating a separate grid for each department. Instead of managing 7 different grids, we only have to manage one grid!
We also made sure to add on-page department navigation below the grid so people can move from one department to the next without having to scroll back up to the navigation.
Once there are more than 6 articles in a department, a "load more" button appears allowing visitors to control how many posts they see without having to navigate to other pages.
One of the major strategies North Georgia Living Magazine wants to leverage is being a central go-to source for what's happening in North Georgia, so having a robust event system was very important.
Instead of using an out-of-the-box event plugin for WordPress, we built a custom event management system. Events can easily be added in the back end through a custom post type (separate from articles) and we added custom fields for managing things like dates, times, descriptions, website links, and more.
We built a sorting and filtering system to help visitors find events quickly. You're able to search by name, see all events within a specific date range, see all events in specific locations, see events in specific categories, and see free vs paid events.
When you click on an event, you'll see a custom event page with a full detailed description and as well as a quick-look sidebar of event information.
Because we built a custom template for this in the back-end, adding and editing events requires no knowledge of website editing, coding, or anything else. It's literally just filling in the information boxes and hitting publish.
We also made sure that people could navigate from event to event with all the search and sorting functionality from any individual event page without having to go back to the main events page.
Last, but not least, we built a nice pricing page that allows visitors to subscribe to various versions of the magazine. There's a Print Only option, a Print + Digital option, and a Digital Only option.
When a visitor selects a subscription option, they're taken to a high-conversion checkout page which allows them to review their choice, optionally double their subscription for a nice discount using what's called an "order bump" (has been super effective at increasing average order value!), and even allows them to change their subscription option from inside the cart.
We built an automation inside of Drip so that when a visitor successfully enrolls in a subscription, an account is created for them on the website and they're emailed their credentials to login. The NGLM team doesn't have a touch anything when they get a new paid subscriber – the automation takes care of everything.
This was a super fun project to work on and the North Georgia Living Magazine team was fantastic. We don't do magazine sites often, but when we do they're always a great break from traditional web design projects!