Custom WordPress Theme Development: A Story of New Lines Magazine

An image representing featured article on New Line Magazine's custom WordPress website.

When New Lines Magazine approached us, they had a vision. They aimed to improve their website, provide exclusive content, and introduce an Arabic version of the site.

When New Lines Magazine approached us, they had a vision. They aimed to improve their website, provide exclusive content. But, they faced many challenges along the way. Explore how Xfive these challenges with creative solutions and personalized WordPress development. At that time, they didn’t even know that this was the beginning of the journey and they would run the Arabic site version, too.

The Challenges

New Lines Magazine faced several challenges that needed expert intervention:

  1. Website Audit and Design Changes
    • The initial UX audit showed that the site looked decent but required some tweaks.
    • The post page required minor changes to meet the client’s expectations.
  2. Migration to a New Hosting Environment
    • Xfive migrated the website from a shared WordPress environment to a dedicated WP Engine instance.
  3. Google News Author Issues
    • The client wanted specific authors to appear in Google News. They misunderstood how Google indexes authors.
  4. Subscription System Implementation
    • The magazine wanted to offer subscriptions for both online content and offline magazines.
  5. Arabic Website Development
    • Creating a right-to-left (RTL) text layout posed unique challenges.
    • Finding reliable Arabic-speaking designers and developers was tough.
    • Translating the WordPress interface and custom components to Arabic required precision.
  6. Digitization of Historic Magazines
    • They wanted to make historic magazine issues accessible online.
    • This required scanning and importing thousands of pages.

Custom WordPress Solutions Developed

Our team at Xfive developed several custom features to meet New Lines Magazine’s needs:

Custom Gutenberg Blocks

We created custom Gutenberg blocks to present sophisticated content in an appealing way. These blocks allowed for:

  • Sticky images that stay fixed while scrolling.
  • Easy integration of various media types.

Custom Audio Player

We developed a custom audio player that allows the magazine to:

  • Host audio tracks on their server or on Podbean.
  • Maintain a seamless look without showing Podbean logos.
An image representing audio player controls and a progress bar.
A custom audio clip player

Mailchimp Integration

We integrated Mailchimp for newsletter subscriptions, ensuring:

  • Users could manage subscriptions from the WordPress administration interface.
  • The integration kept the brand’s consistent look and feel.

Custom Magazine Import Plugin

To handle the digitization of historic magazines, we built a custom plugin that:

  • Imports text documents converted from scanned magazine pages using OCR.
  • Allows easy management and display of thousands of pages.
An image representing format of text to import with custom plugin.
Old Arabic magazine plugin

RTL Text and Layout Adjustments

Creating an Arabic version of the site required:

  • CSS adjustments for right-to-left text formatting.
  • Solutions for mixed-language content to ensure proper display.
An image representing WordPress administration in Arabic language.
Admin in Arabic language

Successes Achieved

Enhanced Client Satisfaction

Despite the challenges, we ensured that the client was happy with the final results. Xfive’s dedication to communication and education helped align project goals with client expectations.

“In a nutshell, XFive’s project management was marked by their punctuality, responsiveness, and willingness to adapt. Their client-centric approach left us with the impression that our project truly mattered to them, fostering a sense of partnership rather than a mere business transaction. We can confidently say that XFive went above and beyond to ensure our project’s success.”

Ola Salem, Multimedia Producer, New Lines Media

Successful Subscription System

We implemented a WooCommerce subscription system that allowed users to:

  • Subscribe to both online and offline magazines.
  • Manage subscriptions through the site without a hassle.

Launch of the Arabic Website

We developed and launched the Arabic version of New Lines Magazine. We managed to overcome language and technical barriers.

A screenshot representing custom WordPress theme for Arabic version of New Lines Magazine
An Arabic version of NLM website

Digitization of Historic Magazines

The historic magazine issues are now accessible online. They offer valuable content to the magazine’s audience.

Meeting the Client’s Needs

New Lines Magazine wanted a robust, flexible website that could handle many requirements. Here’s how we focused on their needs:

Understanding Their Vision

We took the time to understand the magazine’s vision and goals. This helped us tailor our solutions to their specific needs.

Educating the Client

We educated the client on technical aspects like SEO and how Google indexes content. This ensured that the client was on the same page as us.

“XFive’s communication skills were nothing short of remarkable. They had an innate ability to translate
complex technical concepts into easily understandable terms, making it effortless for us to grasp the
intricacies of the project. This open and transparent communication fostered a strong sense of trust,
ensuring that we were always on the same page.”

Ola Salem, Multimedia Producer, New Lines Media

Adapting to Changes

The project scope evolved during the project lifecycle. We modified our solutions to ensure the delivery of every new need.

Providing Custom Solutions

With our custom WordPress development approach we created solutions that addressed unique challenges. From custom Gutenberg blocks to a custom audio player. Each feature design enhanced the user experience.

Ensuring Long-Term Success

We implemented scalable solutions, ensuring their website’s continuous growth and adaptability. The custom magazine import plugin and Mailchimp integration features provide long-term advantages.

Conclusion

The revamp of New Lines Magazine’s website shows the effectiveness of custom WordPress development. We helped New Lines Magazine to achieve its goals and overcome significant challenges. Focus on the client’s needs and developing custom solutions helped to do it with ease.

If you’re looking to improve your WordPress website, contact Xfive today. We will help you turn your vision online with custom solutions that meet your unique needs.

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