A new website is never launched without great care and expectation. That’s why, last month, we quietly introduced the new wexinc.com at 3 a.m.—when not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. We’re happy to report that the site went live without a hitch.
A new website also takes many people and close coordination. We owe ours to the work of a digital dream-team, led by Mona Downey and Anne Gale, for whom our new site is the culmination of roughly four years of blood, sweat, tears, research, code and “what-if”-themed conversations.
The duo recently hosted an internal Tech Talk for WEXers that dug into the behind-the-scenes ideation that led to the best new WEX website possible. And by website, what we really mean is websites, because WEX had an entire ecosystem of sites to merge and improve upon. Needless to say, we faced some challenges along the road to this magnificent rebuild.
First things first, we had some untangling to do
Our site redesign dates back to 2014, when Mona, our current head of global digital strategy, hired Anne to join the fleet marketing team as a web developer. She initially tasked Anne with building a network of partner marketing sites that could share code and a WordPress framework.
When Anne began to sort through the dozens of existing sites, she found that they were hosted all around the globe—both internally and through third-party hosting companies. To make things more complicated, they’d been built using a mix of technologies.
As a result of WEX’s rapid growth, WEX’s marketing business sites had also proliferated relatively unsupervised, creating a number of issues to reconcile. Taking inspiration from WEX’s mission to simplify payments, we set out to simplify our website as much as we could. Our goals were to:
- Build a software framework using the WordPress Multisite architecture
- Standardize code—i.e., lay down themes and designs in WordPress that could be reused on other sites
- Improve and standardize our hosting technology
- Measure the success of the changes made along the way to help us make increasingly informed decisions
Building a website that’s ripe for reinvention
Each of these goals were met in stages. In March 2015, we relaunched wexinc.com with WordPress Multisite, which allows users to create and feed a network of sites from a single platform. With the more recent launch, we were also able to create a single home for each of our three lines of business (LOBs)—Fleet, Corporate Payments and Healthcare. Each has its own box on our homepage.
WordPress Multisite proved to be the ideal solution for us because it separates content from design, making it very easy to rebrand at a moment’s notice. The highly customizable platform is also open source, allowing access to free software and to code that’s proven and ready to plug in.
We also shopped around and settled on a dedicated WordPress hosting company, so that now all of our sites live on one hosting environment and use the same set of tools.
Testing, testing, 123
Before that 3 a.m. launch, we did plenty of testing to be sure the new site would perform well in all environments. We also researched the homepage layout, testing different navigation configurations: The end design makes our three LOBs very easy to identify, and very happy.
But we still consider the site in beta—so we’re curious: What do you love about the new site? What needs to change? Email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know.