Providing a multisite experience for magazine subscribers
Launched in December 1999, Audience Media produce business publications, such as LIVEUK and Audience, for the UK and global contemporary live music industries. Serving a readership of more than 7,500 live music business professionals, Audience provides readers with a wealth of news, features and information, accompanied by a growing number of insightful contacts directories. Audience is also available in digital format for subscribers, with news posted regularly and the print publication’s content published several days earlier.
With the growth of the online readership, Audience Media had to tackle a persistent issue that they had not been able to solve. They had two websites, LIVEUK and Audience. LIVEUK covering domestic UK Markets, whilst Audience looked at the global business. Both websites served different groups of users, with some users wishing to gain access to both due to overlapping interests. They wanted to offer membership to both sites where the user could log onto one site and have simple access to the other, without the need of another log-in process. A problem they couldn’t solve on their own, they commissioned the team at Filter Digital to work alongside them to help them implement this.
Applying our knowledge and experience of similar challenges, we were able to deploy the platforms and technology required to ensure the updates to both online magazines were launched as required. Whilst the project was centred around providing membership to both sites, the implementation of a content paywall, development of an online shop and online directories also featured within the scope of the project.
Our implementation used a combination of WordPress Multisite and WooCommerce Memberships and Subscriptions. This, along with a fair amount of custom development, ensured that the sites stitched together in the way that Audience Media wanted the user experience to work.
As you can expect, each site offered a whole host of content created for their respective audiences. Each site contained multiple sections, using categories and tags, related news posts and the ability to feature articles. The use of video also became a key feature.
Both sites also wanted to offer Event and Tour information, and online directories that mirror and provide the information currently in their print publications. Needless to say, these had to be behind the content blocker and requires paid membership to the magazine/s to access.
An online shop was created to provide users with the ability to purchase all Audience Media’s publications, and subscription offers, with either just single site or multisite access. The checkout is powered through Stripe, taking advantage of the WooCommerce plugin and the Stripe API.
Arguably the most challenging piece of work and the most important part of the build was the use of a multisite database that allows users to log in on one site and then view both sites on the same account – despite them being on different domains. This was a key driver for Audience Media as they wanted to move to this new set up, and we were pleased to be able to help them deliver this.
Now, Audience Media have the foundation on which they can begin to expand their subscriber base and deliver their industry-leading content via a leading CMS and on a platform, which can grow with them.
Our CTO, Paul Halfpenny said “Creating a membership platform that spans multiple websites is challenging in WordPress, and Audience Media came to us after two failed attempts by other development teams. We were able to utilise our knowledge and experience of WordPress and WooCommerce to deliver what the client needed – providing them with a secure, comprehensive and extendable solution that allows their readers to access their content across different sites with the same login”.