Benefits for importing old archives, versus separate sites

Running large, long running publications can come with significant challenges. I think one of the shining examples of WordPress in action on the web today is WIRED. In their latest engineering update, Kathleen Vignos shares that they've moved more than 40,000 archived stories to their main WordPress install, and describes the numerous benefits:

It’s not just the immense satisfaction of finally having all of our content in one database (because, c’mon, that is a beautiful thing for the typical anal retentive engineer). No, this migration gives us so much more than that! Here are just a few of the problems we’re solving with this migration. Take this list and use it to sell upper management on why it’s worth cleaning up your own technical debt.

  • All content in one place means our search index will include All the Things!
  • Soon, author pages will comprehensively include a full listing of all WIRED articles.
  • Some WIRED content is worth resurfacing because it’s so damn good. (Stories like this and this and this, too!) Now, we won’t need to have some poor intern manually recreate those articles.
  • We’re looking forward to the sweet Google SEO juice we’ll get on the domain with the re-addition of45,751 posts.
  • We can finally shut down old servers, improving security, silencing errors, and saving money.
  • has been restored as a place for archeological web digs.
  • Ads and analytics serve properly and are unified under one domain for reporting.
  • Stories look much more beautiful and consistent in our current theme.
  • SEO is greatly improved. Schema markup is now included on all pages, and all pages now meet Google mobile-friendly criteria.
  • Old content receives big social improvements, including Facebook open graph tags and working social sharing links.
  • All pages are now responsive and look great across devices.
  • Old content gets the benefit of all of our performance improvements so pages load faster.

I'm really impressed by what they've done, and what they have with this site. Kathleen's presentation last year on WCSF on a huge Multisite migration to single install was also great.

PS: she'll also be speaking at A Day of REST in January, alongside some other great presentations too. You really should go.

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