Las Cruces Magazine Publisher, Morgan Switzer-McGinley, Put Her Trust in 8 Signal – Did We Deliver?
When Morgan Switzer-McGinley took over as publisher of Las Cruces Magazine in 2012, she inherited a website that was operational but outdated in both design and function.
She did her best to make improvements to the site but found herself frustrated time and time again with the software and the website management company that had been supporting the site.
Morgan and her team work hard to produce the most visually appealing, interesting, and informative publication in the Southern New Mexico region, yet she was disappointed when her website didn’t mirror the great design work featured in the print magazine.
To compound her website woes, the original website was difficult to update, hard to navigate, and cluttered by design elements that had been patchworked together over the years.
Las Cruces Magazine felt the pressure of time and limited skill in web development.
In 2015, it was finally time to rebuild the site. Morgan began looking for a local business to partner with her on the project. Las Cruces Magazine has a great team of writers, designers, and support staff, but they just didn’t have the time or skill necessary to take on a project of this magnitude.
“I know that my team has some level of technical savvy,” explains Morgan. “But even if we had the time, we wouldn’t have been able to do the programming 8 Signal was able to do. We would have had to settle with more of a cookie-cutter site if we handled it in-house. 8 Signal just has a lot more expertise.”
We first met Morgan at Corner Bakery in April of 2015. She shared her vision for the overall design of the site and some of the features she hoped to add. For example, she wanted a calendar of events that could become the best place online to find events and things to do in Las Cruces.
She also shared several websites she loved and sites she didn’t like, to give us a real flavor for her style.
After several conversations, it was clear that we shared Morgan’s vision for how much potential the Las Cruces Magazine website had.
“I really didn’t have any reservations about working with 8 Signal,” says Morgan. “My concern wasn’t in their abilities but in figuring out how to take the sheer volume of content on the old site and streamline it. I didn’t know if anyone could do it and get it done in a time frame that made sense.”
Morgan recalls that the planning process really put her at ease.
Over the course of several meetings, we guided Morgan through 8 Signal’s discovery, planning and marketing strategy process. That process enabled us to pinpoint exactly what features the new site would need and how the site’s content should be structured.
Morgan recalls that the planning process really put her at ease. From the start, Morgan had several main goals with the project.
“I definitely wanted to streamline the content and create a clear focus on the direction and on our purpose in the digital world as well as within our Southern New Mexico region.”
Another primary goal for the project was to modernize everything in terms of the overall appearance and cleanliness of the design. Believe it or not, website design has come a long way, even in just the last 10 years. Morgan knew that most readers have a more positive experience when the aesthetics of the site are up to date with current trends and styles.
Finally, Morgan wanted to make sure there was consistency between Las Cruces Magazine’s online and print presence.
The work began to bring the website up to date with the print edition of the magazine.
We began the redesign process of Las Cruces Magazine in May, 2015. Our top priorities in the development of the site were to do the following:
- Create a design that was both modern and consistent with the design style of the print magazine
- Build the site on a Content Management Platform that would make adding future content simple and organized for Morgan’s team
- Select the right software and programming to include the functions Morgan wanted without bogging down the site
- Design a very clear navigation structure to make content easy to find
- Include and organize ads in a discreet and tasteful way
While most 8 Signal website projects are completed within 30-60 days, we really wanted to take our time to with Las Cruces Magazine since it was such a specialized site.
On October 15, 2015, we launched Las Cruces Magazine’s completely redesigned and restructured website.
Morgan received an overwhelmingly positive response from her readers and visitors.
Thanks to 8 Signal and our awesome team, Morgan’s team now has a site they love and can update whenever they need to.
So what was the best part about working with 8 Signal?
“Overall, something that became a common thread was 8 Signal’s responsiveness,” says Morgan. “Just being responsive to whatever it was regarding any topics, whether it was ad content, or programming style. 8 Signal was extremely responsive and always made sure we knew where we were in the process.”
Tweet link: 8 Signal was just extremely responsive and always made sure we knew where we were in the process.
In contrast with her previous experiences, Morgan says 8 Signal’s professionalism, responsiveness, and partnership throughout the process really helped her achieve her desired results for the project.
“You were able to assist me and motivate my team to get things going. You were also able to take charge when I needed you to take charge and when I didn’t have time,” adds Morgan.
8 Signal overcame unforeseen challenges in the development of the website.
One of the biggest challenges we encountered after we launched Morgan’s website was speed and server performance. A website is a little bit like a freight train: The more cars you load onto the train, the more powerful the engine needs to be.
It was important to Morgan that the new site include some specialty features like mega-menus, a searchable directory of local businesses, a calendar of events, current local weather, social sharing icons, and more. The problem was that 8 Signal’s standard web server, which is perfect for about 99.9 percent of websites, didn’t quite have the power needed to run the site smoothly. As a result, the site initially experienced slow-load times and occasional errors when trying to load new content.
As soon as we recognized the issue, 8 Signal brought in our special forces team to conduct deeper optimization on the site. Our site-speed specialist analyzed the site, and we got to work executing his recommendations. While the site speed improved, the speed still wasn’t measuring up to our standards.
At that point, it was clear that this freight train needed a more powerful engine. After our team spent some time weighing options, we decided to move Las Cruces Magazine to a dedicated server that specializes in high-traffic, high capacity sites just like this one.
Within a few hours of migrating the site to the new server, the site was moving at lightning speed. It now loads within 2 seconds!
When it comes to building a website, reputation matters.
We were thrilled with the final product we launched for Las Cruces Magazine, and we were even more excited to keep them on board as an ongoing site management client. It’s an honor and a privilege to partner with our clients to help them achieve their digital goals!
Here’s what Morgan had to say about us after the project was done:
I think that 8 Signal would be a good fit for any business, no matter what size. They will produce a product that they are proud of. I think that if you are going to make an investment, you should get quality work, and I think with 8 Signal, you always get quality work!
Having someone who is reputable, and who does what they say they are going to do, is invaluable. 8 Signal managed to exceed my high expectations. You don’t find that often in any service industry.
In my experience, people don’t pay attention to detail anymore. I see that the 8 Signal team pays attention to the details.”
Do you need a marketing partner that pays attention to details?
There comes a point in every business owner’s life when you just can’t do it all yourself. When you reach that point, you stagnate or you delegate. We know this firsthand at 8 Signal as we’ve grown from a small company of 2 to an agile company of 14, not including our “Special Forces” team.
Our team consists of 2 graphic designers, 2 web developers, 3 copywriters, 2 assistants, 3 special project managers, and the owners. In building our team, we’ve made a strategic decision:
Only delegate work to someone who can do it better.
In fact, we’re in the market for an executive assistant, someone who knows when to delegate or perform certain tasks and create clear, detailed instructions if it requires delegation.
This has freed us up to spend more time on higher level work, like building and implementing marketing strategies for our clients and getting to know their businesses more closely to continue improving their marketing results.
Let our our marketing team be your marketing department. Schedule an appointment and learn how we can improve your marketing.
We’d love to know what you think of Las Cruces Magazine’s new site. Leave a comment below with your thoughts!