She needed someone immediately to help manage the ongoing giveaways, and she also wanted to prioritize setting up systems where she would be able to have much more involvement in the inner workings of the site. The giveaways are critical to the site’s success, as they drive much of the ad revenue for the site.
The first step was just to dive in and make sure we understood the customizations in place, so we could manage the custom functionality. The next step was to begin a transition to more user-friendly systems. We began by migrating the whole site from its server on Liquidweb to a dedicated server on BigScoots. This allowed the site owner to have automated daily backups, very easy one-click backups on demand, as well as easy one-click ability to revert to a previously saved version in case anything went wrong. This provided great peace of mind, compared to the more tech-oriented interface of Liquidweb.
From there, we sought out 3rd party vendors that could provide giveaway functionality without the client having to deal with maintaining custom software. We trialed three different giveaway software options, and settled on one that most site visitors were happy with, and was easy for the client’s team to manage ongoing.
There were a couple key details of the old custom system that weren’t an option in the new 3rd party software, and the client decided those things were important enough to her that it was worth adding those small customizations. So we coded in the ability to display how many days remained to enter the giveaway below each featured image in the post feed for the Giveaways category, and to choose a variety of custom banners to appear over the featured image (or in some cases, the banners appear automatically depending on the giveaway end date).
Team Five is still actively involved in the day-to-day management of Steamy Kitchen, but the owner of the site can rest easy now, knowing that if she was suddenly on her own again, she would be able to keep the site running by herself long enough to sort things out.