Case Study: How we support online news publishers

A screenshot representing a custom template of newsline magazine publisher

At Xfive, we support companies across various industries, yet online news publishers hold a unique place in our hearts.

At Xfive, we support companies across various industries, yet online news publishers hold a unique place in our hearts. Today, we’d like to share a story of our cooperation with two of them, Kelsey Media and New Lines Magazine.

Kelsey Media is an established magazine publisher from the UK, owning more than 30 titles, including Men’s Fitness, Stuff, Psychologies and FastCar. 

On the other hand, New Lines Magazine is “a local magazine for the world,” as they call it themselves. 

Those two very different online news publishers—one with a global reach and the other with a community focus—decided to trust us. We’ve been working with them under our Care and Growth plan, which includes comprehensive website maintenance, tech support, and growth-fostering services like business analytics, UX/UI research, and marketing consulting. 

Here’s a look into how our expertise has helped Kelsey Media, New Lines Magazine, and publishers overall. 

The Beginning: Identifying Challenges of online news publishers

Having been working with multiple publishers, we understand that many of them face common challenges, such as:

  • low user engagement and subscription rates, 
  • poor website performance and SEO, 
  • editorial teams hindered by inefficient content management systems, 
  • outdated website designs, 
  • or a combination of these. 

But that’s just one side of the equation—on the other hand, each website is different and may require outside-the-box help. While cooperating with Kelsey Media and New Lines Magazine, we’ve learned about their unique challenges.

For Kelsey Media, it was: 

  • Enabling the editorial team to manage multiple news websites efficiently without constantly jumping from one admin panel to another.
  • Innovating new ways to increase and monetize website traffic effectively. 
  • Creating consistent branding among their titles, including those recently acquired.

We embarked on a transformative journey by enlisting the expertise of a dedicated team to oversee the maintenance and enhancement of our multisite WordPress themes. This strategic move not only involved meticulous care for our digital ecosystem but also encompassed a holistic approach, encompassing site migration, refining onboarding processes, bolstering post template enhancements, and optimizing the underlying codebase for enhanced efficiency.

– Martin Williams, Digital Technology Manager at Kelsey Media. 

New Lines Magazine struggled with:

  • Increasing the number of paid subscribers and extending the average session duration.
  • Effectively presenting long-form articles featuring their most prominent stories. 
  • Expanding their reach to include Arabic-speaking readers in new markets.

How Care and Growth plan help Xfive address these challenges.

The unique and varied challenges faced by our partners called for a versatile approach. This is when the Care and Growth service came into play.

Response to common issues

To ensure their websites were in good condition, we started by implementing regular Content Management System (CMS) and dependencies updates and conducting comprehensive quarterly audits covering performance, SEO, accessibility, security, and dead links.

The audits were followed by implementing recommendations to optimize website functionality. Regular monitoring allowed us to keep an eye on the progress and constantly look for areas to improve.

Concurrently, ongoing technical support ensured the resolution of any technical issues, saving their teams from some serious headaches. We also implemented minor tweaks based on the client’s requests.

The results were profound: the websites improved in the crucial metrics, which led to better performance, conversion rate, and higher SEO visibility. New Lines Magazine reported improvements in multiple key metrics (quote from Clutch review):

  • Improvement in mobile responsiveness, measured by reduced bounce rate and increased mobile traffic. 
  • Positive feedback from users about the improved mobile experience. 
  • Decrease in average page load time, leading to better user experience and lower bounce rate. 
  • Positive impact on search engine ranking due to improved site speed. 
  • Improvement in organic search engine rankings for key target keywords. 
  • Increase in the average time users spend on the website. 
  • Improved navigation behavior, measured by a decrease in the number of users leaving the website from the homepage.

Learn more about the Care & Growth plan for Publishers

Solving unique challenges

But how did we approach the individual challenges faced by New Lines Magazine and Kelsey Media? In our work with publishers, we go beyond just maintenance. By integrating services like business analysis, UX/UI audits, marketing strategy consultations, and custom development, we are able to identify and address publishers’ complex, outside-the-box needs. 

Kelsey Media improvements

All the Kelsey Media news websites are powered by WordPress. We rolled up our sleeves and utilized our experience with this CMS (good news: Xfive is among the top 3 WordPress developer companies globally) to build custom plugins and themes.

  • Kelsey Media Plugin: Initially, editors at Kelsey Media had to jump between multiple admin panels to manage different titles. To streamline this process, we developed a custom unifying plugin that enables them to control reviews, testimonials, third-party integrations, structured data markups, and settings like lazy loading for all their titles from a single admin panel. This improvement significantly eased website management, allowing the team to focus on higher-value tasks.
A screenshot of customization settings panel for news publishers - Kelsey Media.
Administration panel customizations
  • Classified Listings Plugin: Kelsey Media wanted to increase traffic and generate a new revenue stream by incorporating listing features into their news websites. 

To facilitate this, we developed a custom plugin that allows easy implementation and management of both free and paid listings across all their titles. Now, all the listings, payments, comments, etc., for their multiple news websites are managed from a single panel. Additionally, activating the listing feature on a new title is as easy as toggling it on. From a user perspective, this means a photographer can now list an old camera on ‘Amateur Photographer,’ or a tractor dealer can post paid ads for their machines on ‘Farm Machinery.’ This powerful tool boosts website traffic, expanding existing monetization channels such as Google Ads and display advertising, and introduces a new revenue stream through paid listings.

A screenshot showing the setup screen of classified listings for news publisher websites.
Classified ads listing page settings
  • Unified Theme for Kelsey Media title: Initially, titles used different WordPress themes. We migrated them to a common custom theme, which unified and improved the editorial experience. The bespoke Kelsey Media theme makes their magazines stand out. 

Customizations for New Lines Magazine

With the support of the team from various areas of expertise – UX/UI, designers, business analysts, or even translators, we implemented custom solutions for New Lines Magazine.

  • Custom template for presenting the prominent stories: Long reportages are a signature content form for New Lines Magazine that requires special attention. With the help of our designers, we created a custom template specifically for this form of content. This bespoke solution was crafted to enhance the presentation and readability, ensuring they are engaging and informative. You can see an example article here (link).
A screenshot showing a support for custom layout article.
Custom layout for a special article.
  • An Arabic version of the magazine: To broaden its reach, New Lines Magazine launched a distinct Arabic version of its website. We supported them in designing and developing a new layout suited to Arabic-speaking readers. A serious design challenge laid in changing our mindset of reading from left to right. Thanks to inviting Arabic-speaking users to the team, we were able to understand the nuances better and overcome this challenge. 
A screenshot of homepage showing an arabic version - New Lines Magazin
New Lines Magazine homepage arabic version
A screenshot of homepage showing an english version - New Lines Magazine
New Lines Magazine homepage english version

The introduced improvements go beyond standard development practices, as they require combining industry knowledge with expertise from multiple disciplines. Thanks to our understanding of the online news market, we are able to identify and implement solutions addressing publishers’ very specific needs.


The outcomes of our improvements have been overwhelmingly positive, leading to enhancements in digital operations and user engagement for our partners. The feedback from publishers was extremely encouraging, which can be seen in their testimonials:

Working with Xfive, we’ve managed to streamline our processes, making it easier to create and manage content, which has been a huge time saver.

– Martin Williams, Digital Technology Manager at Kelsey Media. 

What truly stood out, however, was XFive’s responsiveness to our needs. They possessed an innate ability to listen keenly to our requirements, making us feel truly understood. Whenever we had questions, concerns, or new ideas to discuss, their team was always ready to engage and provide valuable insights.
Xfive has been instrumental in not just solving our immediate challenges but also in ensuring we’re set up for success in the long run.
One of the most impressive aspects was their ability to seamlessly blend creativity with efficiency. Their designs weren’t just visually appealing; they were strategically aligned with our brand’s identity and goals. It was evident that each design element was carefully chosen to resonate with our target audience, creating a harmonious blend of aesthetics and purpose

 – Ola Salem, Multimedia Producer at New Lines Media.

Final thoughts: Supporting news publishers with the Care and Growth service

The improvements that were delivered to Kelsey Media and New Lines Magazine were implemented as a part of our Care and Growth plan. This service is specifically designed to address the challenges faced by website owners, ensuring that both the technical and business aspects of their digital presence are optimized. 

Care and Growth goes beyond website maintenance. It’s a proactive approach to keeping our partners’ websites up to the highest standards and supporting their business growth. The key pillars of this service are:

  1. Maintenance and regular audits

The Care and Growth plan ensures consistent website maintenance and systematic audits assessing performance, SEO, and security—key areas that impact readership and content delivery. Thanks to ongoing monitoring and improvements, websites are striving for peak performance.

  1. Technical support and expert advice for editors: 

With our plan, you receive comprehensive technical support, along with documentation and tips and tricks to support your editing teams and maximize your CMS potential. Consulting sessions with experts from various areas of expertise allow answering your questions and support you in creating the roadmap for the coming months. 

  1. Growth-supporting services: 

The plan encompasses specialized services designed to support growth, including UX/UI design audits, business analysis, and strategic marketing planning. This comprehensive approach allows us to, collaboratively, overcome your complex challenges and foster your growth in the competitive media landscape.

Learn more about the Care & Growth plan for Publishers

More than clients: Xfive’s partnership commitment

You may have already noticed we often refer to our clients as “partners” – we believe that is exactly the right name. With Care and Growth, we become your true partners, collaborating closely to ensure your website and digital ecosystem as a whole work great for you, your editorial team, and your readers. 

Our partners have emphasized that it is our personalized approach that has earned their trust.

But beyond all the technical prowess, it was the personal touch that truly left a lasting impression. XFive treated us as partners, not clients, which created a collaborative and supportive atmosphere. They took the time to understand our vision, and their enthusiasm for bringing that vision to life was palpable in every interaction.

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