Bicycling Magazine is South Africa’s leading bike magazine and published by Media 24’s Lifestyle Division. LightSpeed was brought in to work some of the same WordPress and BuddyPress magic that we did with the recent rebuild of the Runners World Magazine site, and their companion community site, MyRunners World.
Drupal to WordPress Migration
The old Bicycling site was built on Drupal and had no community component or forums. We had to come up with a solution to easily migrate the content from Drupal to WordPress and we tested all the migration scripts advertised online, but nothing worked. Ultimately Chris, our resident database wizard, created a custom SQL script that converted 5492 Posts, 2175 Tags, 216 Categories, 2984 Users and 7213 Images from the Drupal CMS to WordPress without any loss.
- This is the old Bicycling site on Drupal
The LightSpeed Publisher Theme
Other features include a WPtouch Pro mobile Theme and the Feedmymedia WordPress specific hosting platform. Bicycling and MyBicycling is hosted on their own dedicated server on our Feedmymedia Hosting Platform due to the high amounts of traffic.
Unique Publisher Theme Modules:
- LightSpeed Ad module using Custom Post Tags for Adtags
- LightSpeed Events module for Canvas – We used the events module for the Race Calendar on Bicycling.co.za. We’ll talk about that in a bit.
- LightSpeed Recipes module for Canvas – (Not used on Bicycling.co.za)
- LightSpeed Q&A module for Canvas - (Not used on Bicycling.co.za)
The new Bicycling.co.za’s awesome WordPress features:
1. Bike Buyer’s Guide
The Bike Buyer’s Guide on Bicycling Magazine is a key feature of the publication and presents a wide variety of bikes that readers can search for, compare and review. Each Bike has an editor’s review and rating.
The Bike Features that can be searched for are custom taxonomies, which makes it better for search.
Once a year Bicycling Magazine receives large amounts of Buyer’s Guide data from Bike companies in excel format that Kirsten (Bicycling’s online editor) needs to upload to the site. LightSpeed was tasked to develop a CSV importer allowing the magazine to easily upload the large quantities (100s to 1000s) of Bike information in one go. This functionality means that each bike no longer has to be uploaded manually, saving time and effort.
This has been our first step towards making a dynamic CSV importer for the Publisher theme.
The Bike Buyer’s guide also needed some advanced search functionality to make comparing bikes easier. Warwick implemented the WooCommerce Pricing Slider to search bikes for specific price ranges.
We used custom non-hierarchical taxonomies (tags) for the different types of bike parts. Prospective buyers can search on all taxonomies like Forks, Frame material, Wheelsets and Components to narrow down the search for their perfect ride.
2. Race Calendar
For the Race calendar we utilized the Events module developed for our Publisher theme.
The module was updated to included advanced search functionality that allows users to filter dates to search for races around a specific year and month. In the backend we upgraded the way all our algorithms work to use wp-query to work faster and more efficiently, instead of using a SQL call to find matches.
3. List Tools
Bicycling Magazine publishes a lot of content in the form of lists. These are articles with headlines like: “5 Sunscreens Tested & Rated”, “Cardinal Rules Of Cycling Fitness” and “How not to crash”. These articles are displayed on one page, with tabs to navigate to the next list item.
We developed this functionality as a Content type (Custom Post Type) on request by Bicycling Magazine. In order for content to display in this format, the content has to be marked in the “List Tools” category (it can be part of other categories as well) and put in specific structure to work:
Intro text</pre> <!--more--> <pre>Text</pre> <!--nextpage--> <pre></pre> <h4>Headline or List Item</h4> <pre>Text</pre> <!--nextpage--> <pre></pre> <h4>Next Headline or List Item</h4> <pre>More Text
4. Gallery and Video
The site’s top navigation bar has a dedicated Media section with a dropdown for Video and Galleries. We implemented the Canvas Portfolio module for the Galleries on Bicycling.co.za. Like the videos, galleries can be sorted and filtered by categories.
BuddyPress powers new Bicycling community
We have extensive experience using BuddyPress to build community capability around online magazines and we were asked to introduce a community site element to the new Bicycling site, much like we did with Runners World and MyRunners World.
The big difference between the two magazines is that Runners World had an online community to start with. Runners World had two existing forums (on phpBB2 and NING) that had to be shut down and the users had to migrate to the BuddyPress powered MyRunners World community site. Due to the BuddyPress features and strong editorial support for the online community (like placing ads for the online community in the print magazine) Runners World has been able to grow their online community on this new platform.
Our aim has been to do the same for Bicycling, by drawing on our Runners World experience and even improving on it to create a comfortable online home for Bicycling Magazine’s readership.
The MyBicycling Forum is based on HubSA, the largest cycling forum in SA and we have used BuddyPress and bbPress to build our own. Forums are powered by the bbPress 2.0 plugin, unlike the Runners World website where we used the bbPress stand alone.
BuddyPress Features on MyBicycling:
- User sign up
The LightSpeed Publisher Theme has been created to cater for the specific needs of online magazines and with WordPress and BuddyPress spinning the gears on the new Bicycling Magazine and the MyBicycling community site, we are confident that South Africa’s cycling enthusiasts will find great value in their new online home.
Contact us today for a quote and let our experience and skill guide you to get the most out of your online magazine.