Startup Genome is a world-leading innovation policy advisory and research firm, creating world-class reports about local startup ecosystems.
Startup Genome approached us in late 2018 with a big technological challenge: they wanted to migrate out of Wordpress for their corporate platform.
Their Wordpress instance had tenths of thousands of assets and hundreds of pages, containing - among other things - their world-class reports about startup ecosystems worldwide, and had become impossible to manage due to the entangled mix of outdated and conflicting plugins.
We were asked to provide a technical solution to solve this problem whilst maintaining user-friendliness so their less tech-savvy people could still run the content on the platform.
Therefore, we suggested building the new site using LocomotiveCMS, an open-source and user-friendly CMS built with Ruby on Rails.
Project tech stack
Ruby on RailsThe most popular development framework based on Ruby, with a reduced time to market, long-term maintainability, and a mature developer community.
LiquidLiquid is an open-source template language written in Ruby to manage dynamic content on platforms like Salesforce, Shopify and Zendesk.
PostgreSQLPostgreSQL is a free and open-source relational database management system emphasizing extensibility and SQL compliance.
LocomotiveCMSLocomotiveCMS is a completely Open Source and free CMS released under the MIT license, built with Ruby on Rails by the French company NoCoffee.
The application is a LocomotiveCMS installation with certain bespoke modules.
As it happens with every pre-packaged software, it never covers 100% of the project's needs. After careful inspection, we saw that about 90% of the clients needs were solved out of the box with not much adaptation cost for their end users.
The other 10% we developed in bespoke modules using a combination of Ruby on Rails and the Liquid templating language. For instance, we had to add more functionality to the drag and drop capabilities of the platform and to enhance the platform to allow blocks of content inside other blocks, for their most complex kinds of content like their ecosystem reports.
Our design team had to focus on bringing a bleeding edge UX for 2018's standards, so new visitors to the page would be captivated by the freshness of the looks while still providing a great naviation experience for those who looked for specific content on the site.
Another interesting part of the application was the migration. SEO is a dramatic factor in Startup Genome's success, as their entire strategy revolves around inbound marketing.
We devised a surgical migration of all the contents, maintaining most of the URL structure of the previous site but improving certain aspects that had become outdated per Google's most recent changes.
Not only did we avoid SEO drops after the process but the platform actually increased its ranking, perhaps due to other factors like increased page speed, a more intuitive organisation of the content within the site, optimised and dynamic asset loading strategy and all the PR associated to the launch of the new site.
After the launch, we continued fine-tuning and evolving the platform until 2022 until we were able to hand over the project to their team to fit their budget restrictions.
We always like to showcase this project as an example of an outstanding design and how to do things right during a migration.
In terms of management, we like to point out that this project was done 100% async, as their team is spread acoss multiple timezones and it goes to show that great work can be done without recurring meetings.