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WordCamp DC 2017 - How a Local Government Ditched a Proprietary CMS and Embraced WordPress

WordCamp DC 2017 - How a Local Government Ditched a Proprietary CMS and Embraced WordPress

Slides and speaker notes from a presentation at WordCamp DC. https://2017.dc.wordcamp.org/


July 14, 2017

Other Decks in Technology


  1. Maureen describe the painful user experience • Back in 2013,

    can you imaging putting in code for a Twitter widget, just to have that code “eaten” by your CMS? The cost for creating a Twitter embed widget was estimated at $30K • Video embeds could only be done in sidebars. • Your changes were only published 2x/hour, - if you missed the window, you’d have to wait. • If you viewed our site on a mobile device, you couldn’t read the tiny text or use the dropdown menu. • Staff complained that our site was too busy – they wanted a cleaner, modern layout. • The navigation matched our departmental structure – siloed, not user- friendly. • You had to remote into our network to make any kind of website update. • We were constantly getting help desk requests for “how-to” questions • Oh, and we were still trying to make the site 508 compliant, subject to a consent decree. 2
  2. Maureen, lead from pain points to new business needs, Tell

    Arlington Story “Tell Arlington’s Story” with heavy video component was the first DTS/CMO- supported choice to not use central CMS and use WordPress. 3
  3. Katie: We had quick acceptance of WordPress, and then an

    explosion of requests for new sites Then our Library site, one of our top three websites, moved to WordPress, something they had been wanting to do for a while. The Library Web Team is here at #WCDC – they could give their own talk on their journey! At that point, WordPress served about one-third of our web presence – BUT there was no cohesive user experience - no gov’t branding/look/feel (“Other CMS” were not in scope for WordPress) 4
  4. Katie continue – We knew we wanted to move to

    a new CMS. People were already on WordPress and loving it. Previous budget requests had been de-prioritized. So, we looked to a CMS that didn’t require budget approval. 5
  5. Katie • Looked good (themes, colors, menus) • Easy to

    use • Fast to set up • Plugins to solve business problems • If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! • TLG Convinced • No budget roadblocks 6
  6. Maureen Examples of well-known sites using WP as CMS •

    NYT Blogs • The Knot • CNN shows • Universities – multi-site, each department/program with site Fixes our existing issues: • Plugins – there’s something out there for you! • Social media embeds • Ease of use • Immediate Publishing • Responsive Design 7
  7. Maureen – how do you get management approval? Speak to

    them in dollar signs. We used end-of-year funding for the one-time costs Justified as better to move now than to keep investing in our aging system Hosting changed – no longer needed dedicated Windows servers and databases – moving to LAMP stack 8
  8. Katie - Governance document: no plugins that aren't on wordpress.org;

    no insecure embeds HTTPS only (to protect login credentials; now 100% HTTPS) – very important for a government site to be trusted No username of “admin” Security-minded plugins like Akismet and StopSpammers Perimeter control – blocking IPs at our firewall 9
  9. Katie IT team was patching and maintaining Windows and SQL

    servers on dedicated hardware. CIO’s cloud-first philosophy No LAMP stack expertise in-house – no problem – move to cloud. On-prem NOC was Windows shop 10
  10. Katie We convinced Records Management that all the information on

    the public website has first gone through some other process, so there’s a copy of it elsewhere We use the Internet Archive for convenient lookups 11
  11. Katie Launch includes contracted development support and writing/editing support for

    4,000-plus pages and files plus hosting costs Operational: (for hosting & support), plus the incremental/variable cost of developing new features and functions. Old CMS annual costs: for hosting/support and development services, and hardware. Note – this does not include agencies that have their own websites – tourism, economic development, transit 15
  12. Katie Comms Support: • User management and support • Requirements

    analysis • Form development • Style guide • Help Plugin 16
  13. Katie Network Mode tied to redesign = new “Environment” site

    has content from Environmental Services, Parks, and Human Services New “Building” site has cross-departmental content Theme: Genesis Framework IaaS gives lots of flexibility – but need someone who wants to do DevOps Multi-server hosting means can’t deploy from inside WP – have to use playbook software, like Chef, Ansible, Puppet Need to deploy through code – can’t have website down – gov’t is always open 17
  14. Maureen Successes: Content authors are happy: fewer operational/maintenance tasks Real-time

    publishing Help Desk calls switched from technical issues to how-to calls (yes, we have people who don’t know how to make a link) Able to move to Continuous Implementation/Continuous Development model – very responsive to business needs, especially with time-to- market. Integrating WordPress with other systems (Special Events Process, Staff Directory, etc.) Embedding social media and third-party content much easier. Fewer one-off sites that require specialized resources/maintenance Shared benefit when new functionality is created for one client Regular WordPress core upgrades that are backwards-compatible 20
  15. Katie does the outro Special thanks to @dylanbarlett who was

    the passionate DevOps webmaster who made this happen. 21