I can’t believe it’s been a whole year since we launched the new Dyn.com.
A year ago today, we unified DynDNS.com and Dyn.com, creating one site that encompassed product pages, company information, blog posts and support documentation.
Before the merger, DynDNS.com was the site that housed our consumer products and checkout workflow, while Dyn.com had been the corporate hub.
On Aug 3, 2011, we launched a massive set of redirect rules and a redesign as the team huddled in a conference room (dubbed the War Room) with fingers hovering over keyboards just in case we needed to roll back.
I learned a lot from this launch. It’s the biggest project I’ve been a part of and I’m proud to have had a part in leading it to its success. Here’s why we took the risk in doing it.
Why did we do this project?
DynDNS users didn’t know what Dyn was.
At conferences, people at our booth or talking to our sales team had no idea that we were the people behind their DynDNS hostname. I remember seeing that light bulb go off: “Oh! I’ve used DynDNS for years!” The lack of connection between DynDNS.com and Dyn.com didn’t help and we had a big divide between the consumer userbase and the enterprise userbase.
The two frankly didn’t know that we did both which meant that consumer users didn’t realize they could use us at work too.
Content creators had a hard time making edits.
Because all of our content on DynDNS.com was in hardcoded HTML pages, we had to make changes in a release schedule. Content creators aren’t (and shouldn’t need to be) familiar with SVN or how to commit changes which meant that developers had to make the changes for them. We wanted to make it much easier to maintain content without developer intervention and WordPress was the obvious solution for those pages.
We needed a big cleanup.
DynDNS.com and Dyn.com both had a lot of legacy code and content. Our support documentation hadn’t had a refresh in a while and our design for both sites had a lot of divitis and unsemantic markup. It was a great opportunity to unify the sites from a design perspective but also do a ton of behind-the-scenes cleaning.
Dyn redesigns through the years
What were the risks?
- We risked the WordPress platform falling over with the stress of all the DynDNS.com traffic.
- We risked redirects not working, breaking user experiences and SEO.
- We risked a giant revenue dip with the new workflows, product pages and other content.
- We risked stress on our client services team as they had to field new questions while they got used to the new design and workflow.
How were we successful?
This was an incredibly successful launch. On launch day, we had only one minor UX issue to fix. Our platform supported the new traffic and our users began using the new workflow without issue. We saw improvements to conversion rates, upsells, and leads.
We had a lot of engineering excellence wins too, from accessibility to page speed. And we did all of this with no negative impact on the client services team.
Soon, we’ll have a case study to share with more details of how we did it, what roadblocks we overcame in planning and the data that we measured before and after the launch.
In the meantime, I’m so thrilled to celebrate a year of this new site that’s been significantly easier to edit and has generated a ton of happiness for both our users and Dyn employees.