Agence WordPress Be API | Our case studies | Redesign of Free's subscriber portal

Redesign of Free's subscriber portal

The challenge

Offer a subscriber relationship that matches its brand image through its content portal

What makes users happy now?

A simple, rich welcome portal that informs and supports customers in their use of Free's offerings.

What made Free so happy?

A fluid, intuitive browsing and contribution experience. Optimized advertising revenues. Cutting-edge performance.

The technical solution

A static WordPress platform that refreshes every 15 minutes.

Discover the free x Be Api story

How do you boost the performance of a high-traffic site?

With its 11 million subscribers, Free has experienced very strong growth over the last decade. While the ISP continues to innovate, the information portal dedicated to subscribers no longer met their expectations or Free's challenges. The time had come for an overhaul, with a dual objective: to refocus the portal on Free support content, and to optimize the site's web and advertising performance. Thanks to a 360° offer, Be API won the technical overhaul of the portal. A multifaceted challenge that pushed the back development teams well beyond their comfort zone... with success!

Not only did Be API pull off a real technical tour de force, to meet demanding and unusual requirements, but they ensured the success of the redesign through their attentive support and cutting-edge expertise in terms of advertising optimization and user experience throughout the project, and even now for future developments!

Pierre Angot
PORTAL MANAGER AT ILIAD/FREE

A watchword: more performance for a renewed customer relationship

The news portal is the default browser home page for Free's 11 million subscribers. This means very high brand exposure and very high traffic. Before the redesign, it was a media portal that aggregated news and content from numerous Free partners, such as AFP and Ouest France. The platform works, but being fifteen years old, it lacks the technical capacity to meet Free's new challenges.

"We want to reconnect with our subscribers, which means rethinking the portal's positioning to better nurture our close relationship with them," explains Pierre Angot, Portal Manager. "We've refocused the portal on our own news and content to better support our subscribers in their digital uses and our offers, which are becoming more and more complex."

The stated ambition is therefore clear: to make a leap forward in terms of the subscriber experience. And with it, boost content monetization and advertising revenues.

360°, the winning offer

"When Free consulted us, their teams were debating which technology to favor for the redesign of their portal," recalls Amaury Balmer, founder and director of Be API. "We won the tender for two reasons. Firstly, because we proved the perfect match between the WordPress ecosystem and the portal's technical specifications: simplicity of contribution, performance and speed... Secondly, because we had a 360° grasp of the challenges of the mission, and in particular that of optimizing revenues from content monetization while reducing advertising pressure."

The technical tour de force: generating a static version of a high-traffic site

On the development side, the Be API teams faced a number of challenges...

These include optimizing rendering for all screen types, including TV, and easily importing, standardizing and managing highly disparate content streams from Free's partners. In fact, the portal stores "only" the most recent 30,000 items of content, automatically discarding the oldest to make room for the newest.

15min

Every 15 minutes the site generates a new static version.

90ms

Maximum time given per page, with over 2g of data and 10,000 urls...

"We want to reconnect with our subscribers, which means rethinking the portal's positioning to better nurture our close relationship with them," explains Pierre Angot, Portal Manager. "We've refocused the portal on our own news and content to better support our subscribers in their digital uses and our offers, which are becoming more and more complex."

The stated ambition is therefore clear: to make a leap forward in terms of the subscriber experience. And with it, boost content monetization and advertising revenues.

"But the biggest and most unusual challenge of this assignment was generating a static version of the site, which refreshes every 15-20 minutes," explains Nicolas Juen, Be API Technical Director.
A challenge met by Be API's back-end development teams by dint of research, ingenuity and expertise, as Nicolas explained at WordCamp France 2019. "After various tests, we opted to create an internal script adapted to this very specific need."

A first step for Free, a big step for subscribers and journalists

The technical overhaul of the portal has enabled Free to achieve its desired repositioning. A significant change in the experience of subscribers, who now have daily access to a platform at the cutting edge of today's uses.
"The new site, with its simple, intuitive back office, has also made our journalists very happy, as it saves them a lot of time and makes their work much more comfortable", says Pierre Angot.
For Free and Be API, this is the first brick in a long-term optimization program. The agency, which specializes in WordPress in France, will continue to provide support.

Thank you, Free! It's challenges like this that get us up in the morning! After our long team testing phase, we came up with the perfect solution.

Nicolas Juen

CTO of BeAPI