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Can You Create Six Distinct Brand Sites on One Platform? Yes, Here’s How

Photo: Rakvere Lihakombinaat
Photo: Rakvere Lihakombinaat

I’m Neyl Kaskmaa, a Project Manager and System Analyst at ADM. With a strong technical background and a knack for transforming complex business needs into efficient system requirements, I’ve been at the forefront of some of ADM’s most innovative projects. Today, I want to share our journey with a challenging but rewarding project – creating distinct yet unified websites for multiple brands under the MAAG Food using WordPress. Our client, MAAG Food, a major player in the Estonian food production industry, approached us with a unique request. They needed new websites for their varied brands like Rakvere and Tallegg, each with its own CVI, yet wanted them unified under a single design system. This was no small feat considering the individuality and market position each brand held.

WordPress-Centric approach

Our solution was rooted in leveraging the versatility of WordPress. We started by developing a robust, blank WordPress theme – a canvas that included essential layouts, data models, and product import modules. This theme was devoid of specific brand elements like colors or fonts, serving as a foundational base.

Next, we created WordPress child themes for each brand. These were extensions of the parent theme, tailored with brand-specific elements such as colors and fonts. This approach was not only cost-effective but also allowed for maintaining a consistent user experience across different brand sites.

Understanding WordPress Multisite

In our work with MAAG Food, an important tool we utilized was WordPress Multisite. Imagine having the power to create and manage multiple websites from just one WordPress installation on your server. That’s what WordPress Multisite does. It’s like having a command center where you can oversee several WordPress sites. This feature is incredibly useful for projects like ours, where you need to manage various websites but want them connected in some way.

The main perk of WordPress Multisite is its centralized management. You can run multiple sites, each with its own unique content and admin, yet manage them all from one dashboard. This setup is perfect for situations like an e-commerce business that has different sub-sites for various countries. Plus, when it comes to plugins and themes, you can install and activate them across all your sites in one go. And when updates roll out, you only need to update your master installation, and it applies to all sites in the network. This makes maintaining and updating multiple sites much more efficient and less time-consuming.

In the MAAG Food project, we employed WordPress Multisite in a unique way. Instead of using it to manage multiple sites from a single server, we used it primarily for domain management. Specifically, we grouped all the Baltic domain variations of a brand, like Tallegg, under one umbrella. This allowed us to streamline the management of regional domains for each brand, ensuring they were easily accessible and maintainable from one central location.

However, it’s important to note that brands like Rakvere and Tallegg were hosted on different servers and systems. This means that while we used WordPress Multisite to manage domains efficiently, each major brand still had its distinct server and system infrastructure. This approach provided us with the flexibility to tailor the backend systems according to the specific needs of each brand while maintaining a cohesive front-end experience across the different regional sites.

Step-by-Step: How We Did It

Project Management

1. One Main Contact: We had a Senior Project Manager as the main person in charge. This made communication easier and kept the project on track.

2. Using the Right Tools: We used tools like Jira and Confluence for managing tasks and timelines. This helped us stay organized and efficient.

3. Teamwork Matters: We worked closely with MAAG’s team. Good teamwork made sure everyone’s ideas were heard and used. This collaborative approach, combined with our emphasis on team strengths, played a crucial role in the project’s success.

Analysis and Design

4. Research and Analysis: We looked at how users behaved on the site and did some market research. This helped us understand what the users needed and wanted.

5. Workshops with Stakeholders: Early on, we worked together with the MAAG team to plan the project. We decided what was most important and what could have the biggest impact.

6. Designing for Everyone: We aimed to make a design that would work well for all the brands. It was important to keep a common user experience but also let each brand show its personality.

Development

7. Planning the Details: We wrote down all the technical and non-technical needs. Everyone involved knew exactly what we were building.

8. Keeping an Eye on Costs: After planning, we checked the budget again. This was important to make sure we could deliver a great product without overspending.

9. Building the Sites: Next, we built the websites based on our plans. We kept things flexible, making changes along the way when needed.

10. Testing and Going Live: We tested everything to make sure it was perfect. Then, we launched the sites, added the final content, and made sure they were good to go for users.

Realizing the Vision

The technical vision was clear – maintain high standards in coding, security, and performance. We leveraged the WordPress Gutenberg editor for its dynamic content editing capabilities post-launch. The blend of carefully selected plugins and custom-coded functionalities ensured we delivered premium quality without straying from the budget.  

The project’s achievement was the significant cost savings in developing a single web system with brand-specific extensions, as opposed to building separate websites from scratch. This not only streamlined the development process but also ensured a consistent quality and user experience across all brand websites.

Insights and Future Implications

A key takeaway from this project was the realization that for conglomerates with multiple brands, it isn’t always necessary to build separate websites. A base system with brand-specific extensions can be more efficient and effective. This insight opens doors for offering similar solutions to other large companies in need of comprehensive, multi-faceted web solutions.

What was the client feedback on working with ADM?

“I’d definitely like to express my gratitude for the exceptional work ADM team has done for our brands’ websites. My target when starting this project was clear – all brands need to have modern looking websites providing great user experinece for visitors and at the same time to be easily administrated by my team. Both external and internal stakeholders were important. ADM team’s attention to detail, creativity, very strong project management and technical expertise helped us to achieve set goals. Our websites not only look visually great, but also function really well, providing our users with a smooth and engaging experience. Thanks for the great job done so far and our journey is not over yet – our partnership with ADM team continues for additional website projects”

Janne Laik-Lõhmus, Product Development & Marketing Director

Final Thoughts

Working with market leaders like MAAG Food pushes us to deliver our best. Drawing from our experience with previous clients like Bosch and Siemens, we were able to apply those learnings and elevate this project even further. The result is a suite of WordPress websites that not only meet the individual needs of each brand but also maintain a cohesive identity for the group. At ADM, we believe in pushing the boundaries of digital media and customer-friendly solutions – it’s a shining example of how we combine our technical prowess with creative thinking to create solutions that not only meet but exceed client expectations.

Discover More with ADM

Interested in elevating your brand’s online presence? At ADM Interactive, we specialize in crafting bespoke WordPress solutions that blend innovative design with robust functionality. Whether you’re looking to revamp your existing website or build a new one from the ground up, our team of experts is ready to bring your vision to life.

Explore our range of WordPress development and design services to see how we can transform your digital footprint. Our approach is tailored to meet your unique needs, ensuring a website that not only looks great but also performs seamlessly.

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