Progrexion initially implemented Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) in June of 2016 to take advantage of its many tools and systems, with the hope of streamlining their web presence and reaching more potential customers through a simpler content publication process. Because of their expertise with AEM, Hoodoo was brought in as an independent third party to perform an audit on that initial implementation. From that audit we were secured to help Progrexion with three main projects: upgrade them to the latest version of AEM, move their AEM Sites infrastructure to Amazon Web Services (AWS), and to enhance their other properties onto AEM. The AEM project was to help design and implement a new article and landing page system using AEM Sites, the goals of which were to: drive more Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and organic search traffic to the article pages, create a more effective system to drive lead capture from their Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns to the new landing pages, decrease overall time to market, and enhance the performance of all pages. Those projects kicked off in March of 2018. Here is how they rolled out:
Upgrading AEM Sites 6.2
We began the process by starting to upgrade Progrexion’s entire enterprise AEM Sites instances, which included lexingtonlaw.com, creditrepair.com, credit.com, and other smaller microsites, to the latest version of AEM, which at the time was AEM 6.3. They were already using the updated user interface (often referred to as the Touch UI), which meant that there were no messy authoring dialogs to change out and modify, though as would be expected there were some portions of the code base that needed to be modified to make it all work. We verified that the authoring process for their websites would be able to continue unchanged.
Amazon Web Services
Since the upgrade was going well, we next worked on switching them off of their in-house on-premise data center for site hosting and instead got them ready to use AWS. This required us to help them completely revisit and rework their development and deployment process, into a more streamlined DevOps approach. Our next step was to take their code and content and directly port it over to their AWS account. Once in AWS, we did some standard testing and validation of their systems and tools to certify that everything was working correctly. We did a thorough page speed analysis on their deployment and helped to clean up any unnecessary loading of client libraries. The goal of which was to shave off as many milliseconds as possible to make the page loading process much leaner.
New AEM Sites Article and Landing Pages
Our next task was to begin working on creating the landing and article page tools for lexingtonlaw.com. We built a system that allows their Sites authors to deploy landing pages more quickly, using a highly adaptable set of components that gave their marketers more control in the creation and deployment of the pages. This allowed the landing pages to be created much quicker, and completely overhauled how users get content on the site.
An interesting thing happened along the way of Progrexion’s upgrade process, Adobe Experience Manager 6.4 was released in early April 2018. While originally the plan was to upgrade them to 6.3, when we saw that AEM 6.4 was quite stable and had significant value-add features, when compared to 6.3, it became a no-brainer to go to the latest version of AEM Sites, preventing a later upgrade exercise. What made this even better is that it did not interfere with the deadline in a significant way. The plan we implemented was to simply spin up new AWS instances for 6.4, apply new testing models, validate that the authoring of content within Sites was unchanged, and that there were no new concerns, despite those outlined in the new structure of AEM 6.4 (such as the changing of the /etc/ path).
And last we provided training to all of their teams to teach them how to easily author, develop, and deploy their components on their new AWS instances of AEM Sites 6.4. This was all completed by the end of June 2018.
As part of the initial audit that was done at the beginning of the year, we recommended that Progrexion use the Fastly Connector for AEM, a tool, certified on Adobe’s Exchange website, to help in the caching and delivery of content, as well as securing the overall AEM infrastructure. We showed how Progrexion could accelerate those landing page experiences, and other processes within their AEM infrastructure, with the Fastly Connector. It was Hoodoo’s trusted status as an AEM Implementation partner that helped Progrexion feel comfortable about using the Fastly Connector for AEM..
Working with Hoodoo on our AEM Sites implementation gave us the confidence to explore a new solution to deliver our AEM pages and trust Fastly to deliver all of our AEM Sites content.
Why Fastly Connector for AEM
Adobe Experience Manager is an excellent resource for handling content, but the infrastructure can be challenging. Many organizations often choose to augment their caching strategy with a Content Delivery Network (CDN), which can further complicate matters because now there is an additional caching layer. Suddenly the vision of a fast marketing cycle is threatened. But, by adding on the Fastly Connector for AEM the infrastructure actually becomes easier to manage. So what did the Fastly Connector for AEM do for Progrexion? It made the lives of three important groups much easier: Customers, Marketers, and Systems Engineers.
Improves the user experience by delivering a fast website experience with quicker load times, and removing disruption to the user experience and buy-flow.
Gives more control to the marketing team to deliver relevant experiences more rapidly by using AEM's interface to create such things as: vanity URLs, redirects, and map new pages or sites.
Alleviates a burden from Operations & Security teams by ensuring greater availability/reliability for the sites and handling peak load times due to successful marketing campaigns.
The Fastly CDN has removed the risk of the site not performing when a new marketing campaign is launched. Fastly has given us the confidence that our site performance is now a competitive advantage and something we are looking to utilize more for our business.
Though the move to Fastly was a little more gradual, as they wanted to make sure each property was secure, they were able to get everything switched over to Fastly’s servers by August of 2018.
The primary focus for Progrexion’s web properties is gathering leads. Their main method for lead generation is through Pay Per Click (PPC) campaigns tied to specific AEM landing pages, with the attainment of organic traffic being a close second. They worked heavily with Google to find out how they can optimize their website. So it makes sense that the primary concern is the speed and delivery of their website. Several of the metrics that they measure with their analytics deal with latency and page load speed, which they tie directly to their ability to attract and convert leads. This in-depth analytics strategy adds to the performance of their landing pages. To learn a little more about this, please check out this case study outlining the other Adobe tools that Progrexion uses. Or you can learn about how they used Invoca to track their offline channel to their online channel.
With increased performance and a quicker experience, Progrexion is able to accelerate their conversions. Being faster increases conversion. How much so?
The combination of AEM & Fastly has allowed us to reach our goal of 3 seconds or less for 80% of the traffic to our marketing sites, and that reaching this goal results in at least a 2% increase in conversion rate from our site.
The Bottom Line
Progrexion is running fast, better, and leaner now because they have: AEM 6.4, a faster article and landing page authoring experience in Sites, a cleaner deployment process through AWS, and the Fastly CDN. Because of these enhancements Progrexion has many more tools at their disposal to overhaul other areas of their sites to enable future enhancements across their entire web presence. Additionally they have given more autonomy to their marketing teams to move at a faster pace for future projects such as testing and optimizing digital conversion to continue to help completely transform their business.
We now have a platform that will enable us to start working towards developing a digital process that can deliver a conversion rate that will help reduce cost for our business.
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