Hootsuite partners with Mugo Web to fuel growth through scalable, future-proofed website

Since its launch in 2008, Hootsuite has been a household name in the social media community. The Vancouver-based tech company, which offers a social media management dashboard, experienced rapid growth after raising millions of dollars of investment capital and establishing clients, offices, and staff around the world.

But as Hootsuite grew, its marketing website became more difficult to manage. Various departments -- from human resources, to events management, to education, to media, to sales -- were using the site by stitching together their own platforms and development solutions for every need that arose. Sometimes they simply created separate microsites of their own.

The result of this DIY approach to site creation was a patchwork of piecemeal platforms and hand-coded pages managed primarily by developers. But the ecosystem of sites was difficult to update, wasn’t scalable, and was challenging to fix when problems arose. Hootsuite needed a more unified solution.

The Challenge -- Disparate marketing sites

Instrumental in managing everything from lead generation to sales, education, event marketing, and recruitment, the disparate pieces of Hootsuite’s marketing site suffered from inconsistent messaging and created a segmented user experience. Teams that needed to use the marketing website to achieve their goals often found themselves waiting weeks for changes to be implemented.

Hootsuite came to Mugo for help in building a centralized platform to unify the various components of its marketing site, making them easier to manage and update, and allowing new and ongoing needs to be met. After a thorough review of enterprise grade content management systems, it chose eZ Publish for its scalability, flexibility, and its ability to support ongoing innovation by way of its Symfony-based framework.

The Solution -- One unified site and a suite of marketing features

Mugo implemented eZ Publish, giving Hootsuite better control of the site’s content, and enabling more robust content management and marketing practices.

The unified site gave departmental editors the benefit of:

  • Section-specific user permissions
  • Unified branding across all departments
  • Easier legal review
  • Centralized management of data (content and other assets) that can be re-used across departments

It also provided better control over security and updates to the system as well as a more effective system for prioritization of updates to the site.

Some additional features of the Symfony-based eZ Publish site included:  

Multi-language and localization

One of Hootsuite’s main marketing needs was for multi-language presentation and workflows. The site, which is available in eight languages (including Japanese, with Japanese characters used both in on-page text and URLs), needed an effective framework for content production and translation. eZ Publish excels in multi-language presentation, and Mugo was able to work with Hootsuite to develop a CMS-based translation workflow that enabled editors and translators to integrate multi-language copy development directly into the back-end, export it for translation, and import it back in automatically, feeding it right into an editorial review workflow.

Page management

The new site enabled content creators not only to add new content, but also to manage aspects of the site they would normally need to do with help from a developer. This included menu management (adding, hiding, and moving menu items), dynamic page creation (creating page tabs, card layouts, grids, image carousels, and URL aliases via a WYSIWYG editor). Editors could also add in Java Script tags as needed and use the multi-upload feature to add large amounts of assets at a time.

Integration with the product stack

While the marketing site is managed separately from Hootsuite’s product, it also needed to remain integrated with the product stack in order to deliver appropriate marketing messaging and upsells based on a user’s buy-in level. It also needed to be able to detect and deliver pricing in multiple currencies based on a user’s location. This required personal information to be shared between the systems, along with triggers for appropriate content delivery.

Server architecture

Hootsuite’s rapid growth and high organic traffic required a server setup that would accommodate high traffic and availability. Our solution allowed for scalability in cases of traffic spikes through the use of Varnish cache and multiple server instances for redundancy. Our implementation of Amazon cloud hosting provided an additional layer of scalability.

We implemented server configurations for each purpose (caching, web server, database, file system) that could be easily replicated using Ansible, as well as local development environments that mimic staging and production so that multiple team members can work together and test their work in a reliable way.

The Result -- Central site, central team, and a model for working with outside developers

As a tech company, Hootsuite had no shortage of developers capable of building a robust marketing site. But competing priorities and needs made it difficult for them to shift focus away from the core product.

In order to build a solution that worked for multiple teams, Mugo worked alongside Hootsuite team members to enhance staff capacity. In doing so, we also helped Hootsuite develop a model for working effectively with outside developers.

Mugo trained Hootsuite’s editors and developers to take over the new site, so that they could implement changes, additions, and new solutions as required.

Hootsuite came out with a site it owned fully, a central team that managed the site and facilitated communication across departments, a website that enabled it to achieve its business goals, and a Symfony-based framework that allowed it to continue growing efficiently.  

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