We work closely with Rasmussen Reports to maintain their Internet presence at www.rasmussenreports.com. The content-rich website is based on eZ Publish, and runs in a server cluster environment to support redundancy and high peak traffic times.
"Mugo Web's breadth of expertise, high quality of work, and insightful online business consulting help us to focus on providing reliable, balanced data and analysis that our readers have come to trust. This increases our readership and revenue. In addition to the features that readers see, Mugo has made significant workflow and content structure improvements that have saved time for our editors who work within the content management system all day"
Mike Boniello, Chief Operations Officer, Rasmussen Reports
Rasmussen Reports is a media company that runs polls and publishes articles on business, politics, and lifestyle issues daily. Its website is its main information hub, with millions of page views each month. It has tiered membership access, multimedia content, and the famous daily presidential tracking poll.
Mugo Web helps to maintain the Rasmussen Reports website and continuously implement value-added features for visitors. The website runs on the enterprise open source content management system, eZ Publish. eZ Publish provides a robust content framework that enables editors to focus on managing and publishing content such as complex and large graphs, while supporting new and powerful interactive features.
Several key pages and areas are always freely accessible on the Rasmussen Reports website, while more in-depth analysis and historical data are available under two main membership levels. Designating which content has which viewing restrictions is toggled by content editors by a simple dropdown menu.
The Rasmussen Reader account gives subscribers access to more than 20 new weekly articles that are not available to the general public. The Platinum account provides deeper data access in a special members area that also includes sneak peeks of upcoming polls and the Platinum e-mail alert service.
The registration process connects seamlessly to the Payflow Pro payment gateway to accept credit card payments. The registration form supports promotional codes so that Rasmussen Reports can offer discounts and trials.
Custom integration in eZ Publish supports recurring payments and e-mail payment reminders. Members are able to edit, upgrade, or cancel their accounts directly on the Rasmussen Reports website.
The Platinum e-mail alerts features enables Platinum members to subscribe to alerts in different categories. For content editors, they simply have to tag their content appropriately, and each e-mail is triggered automatically. For Platinum members, this means that they can be alerted about new content and polls of specific interest the moment it is available.
Platinum members also have access to the “Ask Scott” feature, where they can post questions to be potentially answered directly by Scott Rasmussen. On the editorial side of things, there is one-click functionality to write an answer, relate it to the appropriate question, and post it to the website.
Video files of original Rasmussen Reports content are externally hosted by the News Inc video service or, in some special cases, on a Cloud account. Previously, videos had been hosted in Brightcove, and Mugo Web handled the migration work into and out of Brightcove. Embedded players enable videos to be viewed directly on the site. The external video library is constantly synched with the eZ Publish platform, so that editors can link directly to video files and embed different-sized players into the body or sidebar of articles within a single editing interface.
Other interactive elements on the site include embedded Twitter feeds, automatic listings of related articles, e-mail newsletter sign-up, and ShareThis buttons. There is a “Top Stories” widget that reads the Google Analytics API to produce a list of the most viewed pages from the past day.
As well, live chats are periodically run on the site that allow visitors to directly interact with Scott Rasmussen in a real-time fashion.
Near the end of 2011, to start preparations for Election 2012, Rasmussen Reports launched a re-design of the site, created and implemented by Mugo Web. The new design brings a cleaner, clearer landing page structure that makes Rasmussen Reports' diverse insight and information easier to consume. The new design also features call-to-action buttons to help drive new sign-ups.
Landing pages are managed using the eZ Flow extension, which features drag and drop manipulation of content on the page, automatic content rotation, and story queuing.
Mugo Web has built tools to make it easy to feature stories, configure page elements to automatically update, edit multiple pages at once, and more. For more information, see this blog post.
Website advertising is set up in Open AdStream, where campaigns and click-through statistics are managed. This is integrated with eZ Publish templates and site sections, so that certain pages and sections can be specifically targeted. Template logic allows this to happen automatically, or with specific editorial placement and targeting if desired.
A high-availability, high-performing setup is required to support the volume of traffic on the Rasmussen Reports website, the unexpected bursts of traffic when news breaks, and the responsive interface that content editors require. A properly tuned, clustered, distributed file system setup meets these needs so that the site can scale as needed.
Mugo Web installed Varnish Cache on the web servers to quickly serve repeat requests. We configured Varnish for static and dynamic content and to automatically expire related page caches when content is published and updated.
The Rasmussen Reports site is mobile-ready, with a simplified interface optimized for mobile screens. It also supports single-sign-on logins, so that site members from the more full-featured interface can access the same content on the mobile site that their accounts allow.