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New responsive website - developed with Perch Runway - for Holt Publishing. Each 'All About' magazine is a free community magazine and directory of local businesses serving the villages and towns of Angmering, East Preston, Ferring, Littlehampton and Rustington.

Background

We were contacted by Holt Publishing when they launched their first community magazine. We kept in touch and watched the business grow, and we picked up leads through their magazine too. As soon as they launched their next village magazine, we were asked to quote for developing websites that would be complimentary to the already successful magazine.

Kingfisher Design and Print Services did the design work, and we found ourselves in competition with other web companies. We were delighted when we were selected – I think our enthusiasm for the project was very compelling! This first website, for All About Angmering, was launched in March 2011, on time and on budget. We went on to develop further websites for All About East Preston, All About Ferring and All About Rustington.

Time passes, and a new website was required

When the 5th magazine (All About Littlehampton) was imminent, it was time to rethink the websites’ structure.

We needed to make the administration simpler for Holt Publishing, speed up the monthly updates, improve the customer experience, remove some duplication across multiple sites, make the website mobile-friendly and switch the website to secure (https).

The result was a new, merged website called All About Magazines – launched in August 2017, with further design input from Kingfisher Design and Print Services.


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Visit www.allaboutmagazines.co.uk

Development with Perch Runway

The previous ‘All About’ websites had built up a large database of Businesses, Organisations and Events, which needed to be migrated to the new website. Holt Publishing also wanted the ability to manage the content of the new pages, in addition to continuing the management of the existing database.

The Businesses, Organisations and Events are all added to the site by the local residents – then approved by Holt Publishing, before going live. We needed to modernise that ‘add’ procedure as the methods we were using were now a few years old. We also needed to restructure some of the lengthy displays so that they worked for mobile and tablet devices.

Our ‘go to’ CMS is Perch for all our customer development, but this site better fitted the profile for Perch Runway (Perch’s ‘bigger brother’).

Using Perch Runway, to work the way we needed

With Perch Runway, we used the free Perch Forms add-on to collect the ‘added’ data. We then developed a bespoke form-handler to interface to Perch Forms and write that collected data to the appropriate back end database.

We’d therefore merged the great functionality of the Perch Forms add-on with our need to also write that data real-time into an existing database. That meant our existing database enquiries (carried forward from the previous sites) would continue to work. With very little effort, we were able to incorporate those database enquiries into the Perch Runway page templates we’d developed for the new site.

Many of the pages had become long on the old sites, especially the businesses and organisations lists, and therefore not ideal for mobile devices. Using Perch Runway’s ‘Routing’ facility, we were easily able to create dynamic pages of separate categories – to break up that information and be able to display subpages of the dynamic data.

Using Perch Runway, easier administration

With Perch, the site owner now has control of the content of every page in the website. With features from Runway, we’ve been able to improve the website administration too.

Around the start of each month, the website goes through a regular change. The main images change, the date advances and all the magazines (flip-books) advance to the next month. This process used to be a manual one (for 4 websites). In addition, circulation figures often change (and are mentioned in several places), and the promoted businesses on the home page have to be revised.

All of this is now controlled using Perch Runway ‘Collections’. The site owner can quickly change this information across the entire website and prepare the promoted businesses list in advance. The ‘month change’ is now one field in a Perch Collection – the new month is selected and, with one click, the entire website changes to a new month. We’ve even built in the ability to change the website colours with one click (just in case it is needed).

With such a dynamic site, website backup is important, but not an issue. Using Perch Runway’s scheduled backup facility, the entire site and databases are all regularly backed up to remote cloud storage at Amazon S3.