Canadian Olympic Committee launches Winter 2014 Games site on WordPress.com VIP

Today, the Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) officially re-launched Olympic.ca, marking the 3-month countdown to the Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

Derek Kent, CMO of the Canadian Olympic Committee, remarked on the site’s redesign: “Our vision is to create a website that is best-in-class among National Olympic Committees. We know our fans, athletes and our partners are hungry for Canadian Olympic team content. This and the next generation of the website will ensure our athletes’ stories are told, and shared in more compelling ways with fans at home and around the world.”

We spoke with Todd Denis, Director, Brand Connections of the Canadian Olympic Committee, about the decisions made regarding the Olympic.ca redesign, which is hosted on WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting.

Canadian Olympic Committee

Q: How is the website different from previous Olympic Games?

We wanted to make sure that the entire digital experience was driven by a ‘fans first’ approach. We’ve seen mobile traffic on Olympic.ca go from 15% in 2012, to 30% in the first half of 2013, and as of October, 2013 it was at 40%. So, in addition to the more obvious social hooks, we knew that re-designing around fans meant meant we needed to be ‘mobile first’.

We had our design partner Zync focus on how things would actually behave as mobile content and navigation – on function, then form – making it easy to share articles, photographs and videos, with a content and menu system built specifically for those smaller screens.

And the site lives within a responsive grid, as we felt this provided our best immediate mobile product, while putting us in a great long-term position to benefit from the constant evolution in responsive design.

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“WordPress.com VIP allowed us to focus on the fan experience and front-facing content, instead of the servers powering it.” — Todd Denis, Director, Brand Connections, Olympic.ca.

Q: Why did your team choose WordPress.com VIP as the platform for the Olympic.ca website?

We had to ensure that the site would be ready for any traffic and performance load that the massive Olympic Games audience could throw at it, but we also had to be aware of the limited internal resources we could expend on site administration. We were already running a self-hosted WordPress site, but it was in serious need of a technology and stability update. WordPress.com VIP allowed us to focus on the fan experience and front-facing content, instead of the servers powering it.

Q: How long did it take to put the project together, from start to finish?

From initial RFP to final launch was more than six months, but it was approximately 16 weeks as a pure timeline around UX, wires, content migration and development. We worked with Toronto based brand and marketing agency Zync, and their programming partner Trew Knowledge, to design, develop and support the site.

Q: How will your team use social media to complement the Canadian Olympic Committee website, and to drive traffic to it?

The site is social from top to bottom, with best practices in place for social sharing and channel promotion. But we’ve also got widgets that pull in context specific content from our social channels. For example, while the universal footer across the site is a direct pull in from Instagram, many of the Twitter feeds are grabbed based on the context specifics of the athlete or sport tags on the page. It’s these small things that help build to a more engaged fan-to-athlete experience.

We will also be launching a Canadian Olympic I.D. in the coming months, which will initially behave as a sort of registration system on the site to help streamline saving and sharing of content – and the I.D. will be powered by social registration to help us better understand who our fans are and what type of content they enjoy.

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Visit Olympic.ca and see for yourself the new site!

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Now live: WordPress.com VIP Search

WordPress’s standard search features are capable and easy to use, but when you’re developing search-driven web applications with WordPress, you need a tool ready-made for that purpose. That’s why today we’re introducing our new WordPress.com VIP Search add-on, and are excited to debut it as part of the relaunch of the Kaiser Family Foundation here on WordPress.com VIP.

WordPress.com VIP Search is a new premium service for our Cloud Hosting customers that delivers the features and flexibility of the powerful elasticsearch software—all hosted, managed, and supported by the WordPress.com VIP team.

With VIP Search enabled, your search results will be more relevant and timely out of the box—but the real benefit is that developers can leverage this new functionality to deeply customize your search results, including support for faceted search. With faceted search features, your users can filter search results on your sites however you’d like—by type of content, category, tag, author, date ranges, and more.

Give it a try right here on vip.wordpress.com, or check out the beautiful redesign of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s website developed by our partners at Alley Interactive. And if you’d like more info on VIP Search, get in touch!

kaiser-family-foundation-search

WordPress.com VIP mixes with London VIP clients

In February many members of the WordPress.com VIP team headed to London to meet up with some of our VIP clients and partners. One evening we organized a WordPress.com VIP client and partner meetup and the turnout was great!

There were many conversations about what’s next for the growing WordPress community in the United Kingdom, how UK enterprises, media companies, and large organizations are doing interesting things with WordPress, and what’s coming up in WordPress 3.6.

That week, we were also happy to sponsor the WP Meetup in London and meet some of the WordPress users and developers using and building web applications with WordPress in London. (Are you following us on Twitter? @WordPressVIP)

That weekend, Automattic also sponsored the PHP UK conference and several WordPress.com VIP developers were on hand to interact with the PHP UK community, as well as to share how a PHP application can scale as large as it does on WordPress.com.

We’ll definitely be heading back to London soon and often, so if you’re there or have colleagues there, let us know!

Are you in London or nearby and interested in WordPress.com VIP events? Are you, or an organization you know, doing innovative things with WordPress? Leave a comment below or get in touch.

More than 3,000 auto-deploys in the past 8 months on WordPress.com VIP Hosting

Last June, WordPress.com VIP unveiled automatic deploys for static CSS and images for WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting clients as one of our meetup projects. We’re always looking for ways to make client code changes faster while keeping their sites safe and secure at the same time.

Our WordPress.com VIP clients commit and deploy code daily, and often each team commits several times a day to keep up with their changing site features and improvements. We do several checks on code optimization and security before approving their commit for deployment, and we’re really proud to get 90% of commits deployed within two hours of submission.

Automatic deploys have now made deploying instantaneous for thousands of client code commits. Thanks to the automatic deploys, we’ve now auto-deployed more than 3,400 commits for VIP clients in the last 8 months! We’re averaging between 15-20 auto-deploys a day, and we see that number steadily increasing. Many of our clients are also experimenting with LESS or Sass, and those .less and .sass files are auto-deployed as well.

Watch this space as we continue to make it possible for WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting clients to iterate on their high-performance WordPress sites as securely and quickly as possible.

Auto-deploys on WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting

Interested in learning more about WordPress.com VIP Cloud Hosting? Get in touch.

Make: Kit Reviews from O’Reilly Media on WordPress

A complement to O’Reilly Media’s popular Make Magazine, Make: Kit Reviews | The Ultimate Kit Guide is for DIY projects involving computers, electronics, robotics, metalworking, woodworking and other disciplines, and it’s now on WordPress! It should awaken the handyman or woman inside you.

Welcome to the WordPress.com VIP family!

 

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VentureBeat now on WordPress.com VIP

At the end of last week VentureBeat.com migrated to WordPress.com VIP hosting

Started by award-winning journalist Matt Marshall in 2006, VentureBeat has long been a WordPress showcase site. Today, nearly 30,000 articles have been published on VentureBeat, and the archives dates back to August, 2004. There is a lot of our tech industry history laid out in these articles, and insights throughout.

Screenshot of VentureBeat.com Home page

While monitoring the import to WordPress.com, it was cool to see the team growth and the breadth of topics covered increase tenfold from its inception.

[Visit VentureBeat.com]