• Content/Data Migration
  • Engineering
  • External APIs
  • Ongoing Support
  • Responsive
  • Strategy
  • WordPress.com VIP

Grantland envisioned a design evolution that would be as performant as it was unique, relying on 10up to guide the high-traffic site through a careful replatforming onto WordPress.

Previous to being shut down by ESPN in 2015, Grantland stood out as one of the most popular sources of long-form, personality-driven journalism in both sports and pop culture. Partnering with 10up in 2013, Grantland developed a two-fold redesign approach: For audiences, improving content discovery and better promoting their popular authors and feature brands, and for content producers, rebuilding the site on a modern, high-scale platform that would enable the team to create and publish written, audio, and video content seamlessly.

Working with ESPN and an external design partner, 10up engineered and launched a new version of Grantland built on WordPress, with an evolved design, renewed focus on driving visitors from social media deeper into the site, and a sharper distinction of the site’s three main editorial categories: sports, pop culture, and the intersection—and fertile journalistic ground—between the two. The new Grantland site is hosted on the enterprise-scale WordPress.com VIP platform, easily handling millions of monthly unique visits generated by visitors seeking Grantland’s event coverage, investigative reporting, innovative video series.

As part of replatforming from the proprietary ESPN web platform to WordPress, 10up and WordPress.com VIP collaborated to migrate thousands of articles (including Bill Simmons’ complete ESPN.com archives) in several categories, preserving original URLs, thus ensuring a seamless re-launch including preservation of the site’s traffic-driving search rankings.

Recognizing the value of the site’s popularity on social networks and the corresponding high percentage of visits from mobile devices, publishers also committed to refining the smartphone and tablet-sized versions of the site. Beyond simply adapting a desktop-size layout for smaller screens, the project also included adapting complex drop-down menus, displaying new ad units, re-defining content priorities, and modifying the myriad of unique layouts to look great—and load quickly—on smaller screens of all sizes.

While most web relaunches are focused on the fanfare of a complete design overhaul (to mixed results), the evolutionary approach for the Grantland 3.0 project is defined more by the successes realized in implement measured UI improvements while providing editors with the next-generation tools to keep the site’s explosive growth on track. All while seamlessly migrating the site to a bespoke instance of WordPress? That’s a victory for the ages.

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