Habitat Magazine, based in New York, has been providing topical and important content for co-op and condo boards, residents, businesses, and other interested parties for 35 years.
I am very excited for Habitat’s continued growth as we launch new products and digital offerings. We are proud to serve the New York real estate community and provide a great customer experience. Mugo Web has helped us manage our content wisely and ensure we are prepared for the future.
- Carol Ott
Habitat’s clearly defined focus on the concerns of co-op/condo board directors and property managers in the greater New York area has earned it a high-value audience of about 7,500 paid subscribers. However, its ability to scale is limited to a relatively small geographic area – as big as it is, New York is just one market. And Habitat targets a very specialized audience.
So Habitat’s growth initiatives are focused on creating new digital revenue streams and engagement for its established user base. This has meant trial and error powered by a modern, flexible DXP.
Since moving to eZ Platform two decades ago, Habitat has launched a series of iterative projects to advance its digital transformation. Each of these projects has shared these key underlying business requirements:
The agility of eZ Platform has enabled Habitat and its development partner, Mugo Web, to innovate without facing prohibitive development costs. Following a complete site relaunch and platform update, Habitat has taken an iterative approach to rolling out new features, all tied to specific business metrics.
Habitat’s willingness to try creative new strategies has led to many successes. And even when an experiment doesn’t quite meet its three core business goals, Habitat can recalibrate its strategies with a better understanding of its audience.
Here’s a look at a couple of projects the team at Habitat and Mugo Web have conceptualized and implemented, and the impact each has on Habitat’s core business.
Much of Habitat’s print reporting has “evergreen” value to its core audience. Habitat publishes unique web content daily, but an online content repository of its print articles made sense. Habitat is using a gated content model that allows readers to see a few articles before requiring them to sign up for a subscription. Users can opt for a 24-hour pass or an annual subscription. Mugo implemented a rich taxonomy structure so that users can easily search and drill down into the types of articles they want to read.
The results: Habitat has seen that most people opt for an annual subscription, which includes the archive as well as the digital magazine and e-newsletters. Habitat can now take advantage of this asset and in entirely new ways -- for instance, as a specialized knowledge base for a co-op board of directors. Having all its content in a scalable CMS enables Habitat to quickly respond to any such opportunities in its market, where information is considered at a high premium.
Habitat has developed several multi-channel, interactive user experiences that also provide unique sponsorship opportunities.
These include Ask the Experts, which are sponsored videos showcasing industry insiders, and Seeking Counsel, which offers legal insights. These digital elements build upon print elements, and are made possible by the flexible content model set up in the CMS. It also uses targeting and inventory management features of Google Ad Manager, which Mugo implemented during Habitat’s site re-launch.
The results: Revenues from multi-channel editorial experiences have grown by 68% since 2016. (Overall, online ad revenue has doubled since the Ad Manager implementation.) The three-pronged strategy of print/video/display has proven so successful that Habitat has developed branded offerings on many topic areas.
So, what are the biggest lessons Habitat has learned during its ongoing evolution from a traditional print publisher to a multi-channel digital platform?
Events are the buzziest change between Universal Analytics (UA) and Google Analytics 4 (GA4). There’s a good reason for that — they mark a very substantial shift in how property owners track data on their sites. This is a daunting prospect and an opportunity. As a property owner, you will need to reevaluate how you use your analytics and how you can make the new system work for you. As you make the switch to GA4 before UA’s End Of Service date (July 1, 2023), you might be focusing on just recreating a familiar pattern and making your GA4 property look the same as your old UA dashboard; the better option is to clarify exactly what you need from your site’s analytics and leverage GA4’s superior flexibility to accomplish your goals.
We’ve discussed eep (Ease eZ Publish) several times over the years. It’s a powerful tool we at Mugo Web have used for innovative solutions. For the uninitiated, eep is a collection of scripts to support developers working with eZ Publish. Now that eZ Publish is a legacy product, we needed a new option for eZ Platform and Ibexa DXP. Introducing eep-bundle, a collection of Symfony commands specifically selected to work with the new system! We’ll dive in and look at some of the more useful functions eep-bundle provides, such as commands to work with cache, content, content field and type, location, section, and user data.
If you have a Google Analytics property, you’ve probably heard about the upcoming switch to GA4. You might have seen the banners across the top of the page when you log into UA. “Universal Analytics will no longer process new data in standard properties beginning July 1, 2023”, a polite yet vaguely threatening notification, easily ignored as a problem for next year. If you are proactive, you might have already started the switch to the new platform, having heard the recommendation to run both concurrently until the switch. And if you are like many, that might be as far as you’ve gotten.
Specialty presses have specific requirements that aren’t met by run-of-the-mill websites or standard e-commerce solutions. Their readers are among the most demanding consumers you’ll find online, and they want precise details about your publications, trustworthy reviews, and recommendations from a community of like-minded readers.
A retail shopping cart e-commerce system isn’t up to the standard these customers expect.
This is part of the reason why Mugo built ReaderBound, an all-in-one, a feature-rich website platform for publishers. The specific demands of this industry require an integrated, purpose-built commerce experience.
Libraries provide a myriad of services for their patrons, which requires a lot of coordination and communication. Patrons need multiple ways to interact with their librarians; in-person, via phone, social media, chat, etc. A modern library needs tools to quickly collect information and requests with an intuitive workflow for staff and the public.
When things go seriously wrong in a well-built but complicated system, the cause is often a cascade of small failures that pile up. Not that we’re building rockets over here, but an excellent example is the ill-fated Ariane flight V88. Solving the issues behind such failures can be problematic. Many things contribute to the difficulty, from the extensive use of caching to the need to convincingly reconstruct the failure in retrospect. Debugging this kind of failure, especially under pressure, is hard. We consider the ability to do this to be the hallmark of a senior developer. Even so, it is essential to have a team of experts working together to troubleshoot issues and find solutions promptly to help keep your site running.
If you manage one of the millions of websites affected by the Google-mandated migration from Universal Analytics (UA) to Google Analytics 4 (GA4), you might be following the best practice of simultaneously running UA and GA4 scripts until you’re ready to adopt GA4 fully. One of the analytics features that needs special attention is cross-domain tracking.