Edible Feast operated 80 separate WordPress sites, each featuring narratives about the local food culture for culinary regions throughout the US and Canada. Through this network, Edible Feast had developed a wide-ranging library of content from the award-winning Edible Communities magazine series – but the brand lacked a system for leveraging this content under a single umbrella. They wanted a unified site for national advertising to highlight the breadth and depth of coverage of the natural and local food movement.
We began by building a new Drupal multi-site platform and moving 40 Edible Feast’s local sites from WordPress to Drupal, an enterprise-level content management system (CMS) that excels at handling large-scale publishing demands. Within Drupal, we created 40 individual site installs, as well as a multi-site covering the other 40 local blogs. This new CMS provided Edible Feast with a new national umbrella, from which they could easily cross-pollinate newly acquired assets – such as the Victory Garden TV show and like-minded partner sites – across every site in their network.
For phase two, we extended this design and functionality to all local sites in Edible Feast’s network, giving admins enhanced publishing control capabilities, and giving Edible Feast a more unified brand identity. Although our initial goal was to slowly migrate all WordPress sites onto Drupal over a two-year period, Drupal’s streamlined content management functionality enabled us to accelerate this migration, and achieve it within just six months.
All sites in Edible Feast’s network now use complex responsive templates, which enable admins to rapidly create unique block layouts via a simple drag-and-drop interface. Each site also has a zip code locator, which identifies each visitor’s location and presents a mix of local and national Edible Feast articles and recipes, along with recommendations for further reading – all based on attributes configurable by the publisher. The visitor can accept a cookie that remembers their location, or can override this option with a click.
We also built an on-site recipe management book, featuring an extensive tagging system that enables users to organize ingredients by name, quantity, amount and action (e.g., “one cup sugar, sifted”). The recipe book also enables visitors to sort by equipment, cook time, and nutritional information. All recipes adhere to the schema.org recipe type for advanced Google Recipe Search.
For advertising management, we implemented an Adzerk system, which enables advertisers to buy ad placements across the entire network, or on any local site or page. Advertisers can further fine-tune their ad buys to focus on specific regions, groups of sites, or even specific sections (e.g., “ Recipes”) on each site in Edible Feast’s network. This system dynamically optimizes page impression revenue while adhering to advertisers’ overall insertion order requirements.
Our Drupal-based custom layout tool, event management system and slideshow widget have proven highly adept at managing content while helping all of Edible Feast sites stay firmly on-brand. Site admins can now easily surface content from any source across the entire network, or on any sites of their choice. Along with new features like the custom recipe books, this unified content strategy has measurably raised user engagement and time-on-site.
Edible Feast’s new Adzerk ad sales system has raised advertising revenue, by enticing advertisers with much more fine-grained control over their placements.