Frogs-in-NZ

http://www.frogs-in-nz.com/

Frogs-in-NZ logo

Frogs-in-NZ is a New Zealand travel agent catering to French-speaking visitors and expatriates from around the world. Their website provides extremely comprehensive help and material about visiting or moving to New Zealand, and has a lively and engaged community with tens of thousands of forum messages. Mugo helped to push the re-launch of the Frogs-in-NZ website earlier than expected while implementing many eZ Publish best practices.

"From our first contact, the team at Mugo has shown an unprecedented level of commitment to our web projects... ending almost 4 years of struggling! In the three months Mugo worked on our new version -- which had stalled with our previous developers -- we have made more progress than ever before. They are fast, precise and thorough, and definitely stand out in the industry!"

- S├ębastien Michel, Director, Frogs-in-NZ Limited

Frogs homepage

Background

The Frogs-in-NZ website is entirely in French and offers a wealth of free information as well as paid services. The website is of upmost importance to the Frogs-in-NZ business; since they do not have the size of operation to have a direct presence in other countries, they rely on the website as the first entry point for most people to discover what Frogs-in-NZ can offer.

Among the free information that can be found on the site is the following:

  • General information about New Zealand
  • Free and common services for visitors and new residents
  • English classes
  • Getting around by ferry
  • Travel diaries
  • Maps
  • Interviews
  • Photo galleries
  • Interactive, fun content through videos, images, Facebook, and commenting features
  • An e-mail newsletter
  • A special section for youth
Frogs circuit

As a travel agent, Frogs-in-NZ is able to sell the following through their website:

  • Guided tours
  • Flight and hotel packages
  • Car and camper rentals
  • Car insurance
  • Travel insurance
  • Travel guides in PDF format and hard copy

Forum

The Frogs-in-NZ website has a very active forum, with about 15,000 users and 85,000 forum messages contained in about 15,000 topics going all the way back to April 2003. Visitors discuss topics from visas and taxes to recommended neighbourhoods and mobile phone companies.

Broken out from the forum is the "petites announces" section, otherwise known as the classifieds. Here, people can post classified ads to sell their car, to post a job opportunity, or to sell furniture and appliances with a small listing fee. They can post classified ads of other types for free.  The behind-the-scenes workflow for the creation of a classified ad determines whether a payment is necessary, accepts the payment and stores information about the requested category, and links the purchased credit to the correct ad.

Best practices and performance enhancements

The revamped website features eZ Flow to create dynamic home pages and sidebars and eZ Find to search content from across the site. Mugo Web helped to set up the publishing process to make it easy for editors to feature different services and stories in content blocks. We helped optimize the content structure so that complex page elements are loaded and searched in a responsive manner.  Using eZ Publish template best practices, we optimized smart caching rules, dynamic menu generation, forum user statistic generation, page styling, and more.

On the server end, Mugo Web troubleshooted some issues that were causing regular and significant slowdowns and crashes on the site. We analyzed the types of page requests and properly configured a few important MySQL database settings, which completely eliminated the site issues and dramatically improved site speed.

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