• Design & Build
  • Strategy
  • Digital Marketing

Pan Macmillan

Improved website for book lovers and editors

Brief

Pan Macmillan's old website was complicated and hard to update so they tasked us with redeveloping it with two main aims: to simplify the way it operates and allow more editorial control. They were happy with the look and feel of the existing site, the changes would be mainly technical, with design tweaks in places to match the new functionality.

Solution

Through a series of internal website review sessions and onsite workshops with the Pan Macmillan team, we identified the key areas we needed to work on. To make it easier to edit and create content, we aimed to use the minimum number of different page templates, document types, web parts, and widgets possible to meet their requirements.

What we did

  • DESIGN & BUILD
  • DEVELOPMENT
  • DIGITAL MARKETING
  • KENTICO
135%

increase in new sessions

116%

increase in site users

116%

increase in returning visitors

A recognised name in publishing

Pan Macmillan is among the largest publishers in the UK. It’s part of the Macmillan group, founded in 1843, one of the largest and best-known international publishers in the world, with operations in over 70 countries worldwide. Macmillan is known for high-quality academic, educational, fiction and non-fiction, and reference publishing.

We are delighted to have worked with Pan Macmillan for many years on numerous successful projects, including The Gruffalo, Picador, MKB, Emily Gravett and Dear Zoo & Friends. 

Key areas for improvement

Pan MacMillan highlighted their core aims:

  • Data Collection – to better understand their readership so they could show them relevant authors and books.
  • Brand Awareness – to increase awareness and engagement through quality blog posts.
  • Assisted Discovery – to help users discover new books and authors and promote reading as a wonderful pastime.
  • Automation –to be able to upload content across the site from one source.
  • Unique URL – to give content a unique URL so searches could match users’ queries with relevant content.

Functionality added to the site

  • Find Your Local Bookshop – an external link that enables users to visit and use the Booksellers Associations bookshop search.
  • SoundCloud – this takes the URL of a SoundCloud recording and inputs it onto the website using the default SoundCloud widget.
  • Newsletter Signup – anonymous users can enter their email addresses and subscribe to an author or genre newsletter, and there’s a ‘Subscribe’ button for logged-in users.
  • Book Summary & Book Extract – these include title, cover image, extract, number of pages, ‘Find out more’ links.

More handy user features

Related Books – displays a list of book covers, related to the current book, which link to a book detail page. On this widget, users can buy a book through Pan Macmillan and partner retailers.

Book Carousel – features a list of book covers, organised by genre, tag and series, which links to a book detail page.

Events Summary – shows the details of a specific event, including a button to signal attendance, location, image, title, event time and date.

Using categories and tags

To enable multiple editors to be able to input content as easily as possible we had to change the way content is used in the website. Almost all new pieces of content are now added as a blog post and categorised by relevant subject or audience page. We also added the ability to add tags to book and author blog posts.

New and improved searching

Realising that a lot more content will be added, we wanted to guarantee the best experience for users now and in the future. We improved the search capabilities in the site and it's now much easier for users to find what they’re looking for by using the 'Quick search'. There’s a suggestive and advanced search too that highlights content when users start writing in the text box. And results are automatically sorted by relevancy to help users.

Technical redevelopment for the future

The website was designed and built to facilitate Pan Macmillan's plans to implement an e-commerce section in the future, moving it into the core Kentico module. It’s fully mobile and tablet friendly thanks to a blend of responsive and adaptive design. And it’s easier to edit and will be more cost effective if enhancements are needed in the future. The code was structured so that multiple developers can work on it at once for maximum efficiency.

The redevelopment of the Pan Macmillan site has enabled us to understand our audience and provide them with content that they are most interested in. This has meant we can engage with our readers much more. As well as this, we are now able to display new content to facilitate the discovery of new books and authors.

JAMES LUSCOMBE - WEB OPERATIONS DIRECTOR

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