Parse.ly is a tech company that provides an analytics dashboard to marketers and media companies. As is typical for many tech startups in resource-constrained environments, their product is their focus—all their development efforts center around improving the product, and developing their website was a distraction for their software engineers.
As Parse.ly has grown more successful over the last few years, its marketing team has also begun to run more campaigns and create more features. They came to Mutations needing regular attention to their website’s codebase in 2020. The partnership meant that Parse.ly could rely on Mutations to own and accelerate the development of their website, while Parse.ly’s own engineers focused on product feature development.
Three major events happened in 2021 at Parse.ly that led to their need to switch marketing site hosting providers.
First, the spirit of competition arose. Parse.ly was acquired in 2021 by WordPress VIP (part of Automattic) to integrate analytics into its content management platform. Web hosting is a big part of the WordPress VIP platform. Following the acquisition, it was no longer politically tenable for Parse.ly’s marketing website to be hosted by a competitor to the broader WordPress VIP product suite it is now a part of.
Second, tech debt reared its head. Before 2020, the Parse.ly site had been built by a combination of many different coders—“managed by committee.” This was the correct choice for Parse.ly at the time because their needs were small enough that nothing was breaking. As Parse.ly’s marketing needs expanded, the amount of content and technical documentation on the Parse.ly site began to reach the limits of the Netlify environment. Builds were beginning to fail and the marketing team needed to submit support tickets to Mutations every time they wanted to update content. The decision for the combined team of Mutations and Parse.ly became: Do we invest the time to go back and optimize the code base? Or do we leave Netlify for a better host?
Third, Netlify changed its pricing model, resulting in increased costs for Parse.ly. Previously, the Parse.ly team and the Mutations team were all able to log in and deploy a build. Parse.ly’s distributed model empowered employees – content writers, product marketers, support engineers, etc – to deploy content themselves. With the pricing model change, Netlify began charging for each user that might want to deploy, meaning that either Parse.ly had to pay much more each month, or limit the ability to deploy to a certain set of gatekeepers.
The three challenges facing Parse.ly, and Mutations as their technical partner, made the decision to move off of Netlify hosting an easy one. Instead of spending time and money on code base optimizations or paying more to Netlify to retain the same workflow, Parse.ly could use “their own product” sitting in the backyard – the WordPress VIP content platform.
Once the decision had been made to make the switch, the migration process was smooth.
Mutations stepped in with their signature, integrated approach to project management, working closely with Irvin and the rest of the team to ensure a seamless transition to a new hosting provider. Mutations’ technical implementation specialists captured the relevant requirements, ran scoping discussions, explored alternatives, and helped Parse.ly weigh all the options.
Mutations then built an initial proof-of-concept (POC) for Parse.ly, working with the WordPress VIP engineers and marketers on potential issues. After addressing issues in the POC, they developed and launched the site on VIP hosting in one month’s time.
By the end of the project, the Parse.ly website and team saw some key results:
- Political alignment – The site was hosted on WordPress VIP’s Node.js environment, which also powers websites like Al Jazeera and Accuweather.
- Speedy launch – The migration took a month and hit no significant snags.
- Self-service and streamlined content publication – On WordPress, the builds were working again and the Parse.ly marketing team could self-service their content to meet their aggressive goals.
- WORDPRESS VIP
- GITHUB & GITHUB ACTIONS
- NODE PACKAGE MANAGER (NPM)
- CONTINUOUS INTEGRATION (CI)