As the Linux Foundation grew, its website proliferated within self-hosted web servers on an as-needed basis. This was fine for a time, but it began t have a cost: with 3 different CMS’ to learn, and some websites that were extremely customized, marketers had an unnecessarily steep learning curve — as did the IT team supporting the various sites. Versions were all over the place, as were development and deployment processes. Content was not automatically mirrored between localized domains (e.g. a new press release on .org did not queue up a translation for .jp). For end users, the sites all looked a bit different depending on when they’d been built, which wasn’t doing justice to the hard work of the brand team. The LF also had to keep 4 full-time Drupal developers on staff.
The LF has a small but mighty crew of designers, content strategists, SEOs, translators, and developers — but I observed that it didn’t have a web-focused marketing team, so there was no overarching stakeholder to tie all the various departments’ sites together. Once I identified the gap, I stretched to fill it and took on the following:
I assembled and supervised 3 small squads who completed the migration and standardization of www.linuxfoundation.org, www.linuxfoundation.jp, www.linuxfoundation.cn (new), events.linuxfoundation.org, events.linuxfoundation.cn, and training.linuxfoundation.org in 14 months.
We took the opportunity to implement a structure which houses each translation of a site’s content (English, Japanese, or Mandarin) within a common database, eliminating the need to maintain a separate instance of the site for each language.
Additionally, we leaned heavily into China (the fastest-growing OSS market) and combined our available ICP licenses with an Alibaba CDN, which ensures the Linux Foundation’s websites are just as speedy in Guangzhou as they are in Tokyo, Prague, or San Francisco.
LF Training received the biggest facelift and functionality increase, having gone from a nearly-unmaintainable hybrid Joomla/Drupal site with 2 different designs to a beautiful new WordPress site which is very easy for training sales/marketing team members to maintain and optimize.
Overall, the Linux Foundation will benefit greatly from the reduced operations burden, the ease of onboarding new website contributors, and increased sales from customers who have a best-in-class experience. Oh, and with built-in REST APIs, the sites can all interweave really easily — unlocking new possibilities for cross-promotion between departments’ initiatives.