The Broke Backpacker
Founded by writer and entrepreneur Will Hatton The Broke Backpacker is the world’s largest budget travel blog which receives almost 10 million unique visitors a year.
During the start of the global pandemic in 2020, Will and Creative Lead – Ralph Cope, took the opportunity to commission a long overdue update to their WordPress website.
The project aimed to make their content more appealing to an influx of new explorers once the travel industry reopened whilst also vastly improving site performance and ranking factors.
It was equally important to The Broke Backpacker team that their of content creators and site contributors had a great publishing experience, their development workflows were streamlined, and they were set up for success ahead of the Google Core Web Vitals update.
Vastly improved technical SEO
The objective was to refresh the popular website with an intuitive development environment and a more responsive front-end experience to better align with the upcoming Google Core Web Vitals update.
Replacing the existing installation whilst retaining all 3K+ pages of content that had built up over the previous 6 years we implemented a new website theme that was more consistently coded, lightweight and presented the writing team with a vastly improved CMS interface.
A Custom Wordpress Theme CMS with introduction of Gutenberg
By upgrading to the latest version of WordPress and enabling the Gutenberg editor by default for The Broke Backpacker’s content publishers, it provided the flexibility they needed with an easy-to-use interface and block-based approach to content creation whilst on the move.
With a custom theme that simplified the development process we could then drive numerous site wide SEO and page performance updates to improve speed and functionality.While all internal linking, on-page SEO, and existing structures remained, redundant modules were removed and all styling was automated by the theme for consistency across the blog’s approximately 3,000 pages of content.
Industry leading Google Core Web Vitals scores
With a leaner site with vastly improved performance, we reduced the number of plugins used on the site by a factor of 3x. Page loading times improved by more than 6x, and our teams are continuing to achieve impressive Core Web Vitals scores.
The original website benchmarked at an average of 31 on mobile and 71 on Desktop which climbed to a new average of 52 on mobile and 80 on Desktop immediately upon launch. Following continued post-launch refinement the website now averages 90 on Mobile and 99.
Continuing to drive performance and standards
Utilising our partner WP Engine’s native performance features, such as EverCache, global CDN, and its integration with Cloudflare, meant some of the heavy lifting was done already which has allowed us to concentrate on the agility of the new WordPress theme and supporting plugins.
Upon launching their new website theme back in 2020, we’ve been working over the past few months to capitalise on the last few remaining Core Web Vitals opportunities in order to maintain their 100% Page Experience Score.
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