Increasing Growth and Usability for an Online Publication

Increasing Growth and Usability for an Online Publication

Client: is a publication of Public Utilities Reports, Inc., the leading provider of information and analysis to the electric, natural gas, water and telecommunications industries for more than 85 years. 

Challenge: was built on an antiquated ColdFusion-based platform that greatly limited growth of the online magazine. Though could boast the largest repository of original content in their space, they weren’t effectively competing online. They were experiencing a range of challenges, including:

  • Inability to control and update content – The ColdFusion platform was very restrictive and making content updates was not only time consuming, it was expensive.
  • No central control over separate web properties – PUR needed to consolidate its different web properties so that content could be shared across sites and control was centralized
  • Articles were difficult to navigate – Decades worth of articles were on the site without an intuitive way for subscribers to browse. Additionally, the articles were in PDF, which limited search engine visibility.
  • Subscribers couldn’t manage profiles – wanted to enable its subscribers to self-manage billing, profile and other account information. needed a flexible content management system (CMS) that would enable them to provide a highly intuitive website for their site visitors and subscribers. 

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Drupal was selected as the web platform of choice for because of its ability to easily scale and successfully manage multiple sites and high volumes of content. PUR turned to Unleashed Technologies to help them migrate their web presences to Drupal 7 and build an engaging, highly functional website to help increase their standing in the marketplace. In order to help resolve the challenges faced by, Unleashed Technologies set out to accomplish the following:

  • Ease management and increase control over site content
  • Deploy a unique article sharing system to enable content sharing across all sites with single spot management
  • Establish and automate an advanced taxonomy structure so that articles can be quickly found via search and to enable browsing for related content
  • Deliver robust options for personal subscription management and public profile control
  • Promote search engine indexing and social media sharing by converting all PDF content to standard HTML formats
  • Integrate two of the industry’s largest informational databases to enable continual updates
  • Leverage Solr Search for targeted results in a vast repository of information
  • Import magazine content from their Adobe InDesign platform into the website leveraging XML structures
Results: has greatly improved its ability to effectively provide timely information to its subscribers. The increased usability site-wide ensures that visitors can:

  • Access the latest in Public Utility information
  • Easily find content that they’re interested in and share it on social media
  • Subscribe for online – not manually
  • Manage their account preferences online, including subscriptions and profile information

Page visits to have increased by 160% since the launch of the newly improved site. And those visitors are staying. Bounce rates have dropped by 25%.’s staff has benefitted tremendously as well. They have gained access to and control over the site so that they:

  • No longer have to pay for or wait for updates to their site
  • Can easily upload and cross-reference articles as they are written so that their audience can access and share it
  • Can update massive industry databases on-the-fly, enabling their subscribers to understand what is happening in the public utility industry as it’s happening rather than wait for a yearly update

The migration to Drupal and development and design work completed by Unleashed Technologies transformed from being difficult to navigate and frustrating to update to an industry-leading, user-friendly site that provides the latest in public utilities-related content to drive subscriptions.


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Watch this video from Drupalcon 2013 on how to take your publication from "Meh" to "Amazing".

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