A WordPress-powered editorial hub to democratise and destigmatise mental health

Co-founded by Selena Gomez, Mandy Teefey, and Newsette CEO Daniella Pierson, Wondermind is a mental health startup with a mission “to democratise and destigmatise mental health globally via daily editorial content, insightful entertainment, and tangible tools.”

Here’s how we brought their editorial vision to life with a customised digital publishing stack that’s built for engagement.

The Challenge

Bringing designs to life digitally

Wondermind found The Code Company when they were ready for a  technical partner to bring their designs for an editorial hub to life.

Their original plan was to build the content on the creator platform, Ghost –  but it soon became clear that Ghost was unsuitable for an enterprise publishing brand like Wondermind.

It was unable to deliver the desired user experience, or support the customisation requirements of the editorial team.

Wondermind screen shot

It became very obvious that Ghost wasn’t going to work from either a user-flow or editorial perspective.

Creating articles would be too cumbersome and we didn’t feel like this was a solution that could scale up with us.

Bhavik Trivedi,  Chief Operating Officer Wondermind

The Solution

The Code Company recommended a flexible WordPress publishing platform that can be easily scaled as the business grows.

Our first challenge was transforming Wondermind’s design concepts into a flexible digital template. To give the in-house team maximum influence over layout, we created a series of custom Gutenberg blocks for each of the different sections of the designs (header, image, featured content, related content, listicle etc.)

These drag-and-drop blocks make it easy to create visually compelling new pages without compromising Wondermind’s brand identity and style.

Custom taxonomy system for smart content promotion

With our experience in media and publishing we knew that Wondermind would need to strike a balance between automation and editorial control.

Automated systems for story recommendations and content promotion are important for large content-heavy websites. However, editorial teams still need granular control to override or set specific relationships between stories.

We built a content promotion functionality that uses built-in logic to do just that – and it’s all controllable within the article editing experience.

Wondermind also wanted to serve content that aligns with the reader’s current emotional state. The innovative ‘Filter by Feels’ widget uses an emotion-based custom taxonomy system that allows readers to select their mood and receive relevant content.

Our designs were brought to life beautifully, with a website that’s foundationally strong. The tech debt we could have created if we’d gone with our original plans would have been enormous.

Choosing to partner with The Code Company was absolutely the right choice for Wondermind.

Bhavik Trivedi,  Chief Operating Officer Wondermind

Delivering speed, scale & subscribers

Wondermind publishes content that can go viral at a moment’s notice. We partnered with WordPress VIP to create a technical infrastructure that delivers both speed and scalability.

After the high-profile launch, there were significant traffic spikes and a large volume of newsletter sign ups. The site scaled well and is continuing to grow.

To optimise the quality of Wondermind’s subscription list and drive engagement, we also implemented email validation system ZeroBounce. This tool integrates with Mailchimp and WordPress to keep Wondermind’s email lists clean and optimise campaign performance.

Benefits of Zerobounce:

  • Reduce bounce backs
  • Improve open rates
  • Military grade security protection
  • Autopopulate missing fields

Advanced image cropping on a start-up budget

Wondermind’s editorial team has a background in the worlds largest media and publishing companies.

Their vision was high quality imagery with the option to apply different treatments on desktop, mobile and various locations throughout the site.

We were able to extend the image manipulation APIs in WordPress VIP to deliver a native WordPress experience that allows editorial users to visually set custom crops for images at different resolutions and ratios. 

This is traditionally a challenge in WordPress without investing in enterprise digital asset managers like Cloudinary.

The custom image-cropping tool enables:

  • Responsive image-cropping and resizing
  • Multiple resolutions, aspect-ratios and formats
  • Easy select from crop, fit, fill or scale 
  • Server side downloads for faster image loading

I’ve never had a smooth launch. Until now.

The website went live, scaled up with traffic spikes and all of our integrations worked perfectly.

Bhavik Trivedi,  Chief Operating Officer Wondermind

Agile for an evolving content strategy

Like most publishing start-ups, Wondermind’s content strategy continued to evolve as they moved towards launch

During this process, It became clear some of the functionality in the original designs was no longer aligned to the team’s content goals. 

The Code Company’s agile processes meant we could adapt to the changing scope and develop new features without disrupting the project timeline.