Case Study: GraphCMS and Gennev

Gennev provides reliable information and support for women in their second half of life on their highly performant website using GraphCMS.

Case Study: GraphCMS and Gennev

GraphCMS was in many ways technology agnostic and it was something we really needed [...] We have not run into any limitations that would make us concerned about scaling further with GraphCMS. It has been an incredibly stable and reliable platform.

Sarah Ramsay
Sarah RamsayVP of Technology, Gennev
90%

Improvement on page load speeds

50%

Increase in content velocity

About Gennev

Seattle-based Gennev helps women live healthier and stronger in the second half of their life. They provide reliable resources, proven products, and access to a community that could set better expectations to help adapt to the changes which occur before and during menopause. Gennev provides answers to common questions surrounding menopause, connects women through groups and online events, and gives information about changes in lifestyle that could be beneficial. They aim to fill the void of a trusted online provider of information and reduce social stigmas around menopause.

With the goal of meeting women where they are, the team needed a tech stack that enabled them to be flexible while they were testing various channels and responding to the needs of their users. The team knew that they wanted to remain agile without sacrificing reliability.

Prior to their work with GraphCMS, Gennev was in a growth period of working to gain traction amongst their users, while using systems that were cost-effective but not necessarily the best fit to scale for the future. With more resources allocated to building a sustainable digital presence with tools that could scale with their needs, the team began to evaluate new systems and approaches.

The Initial Setup

Previously, the Gennev website was handled by external contractors who implemented a Sitecore system for the growing company. As contractors changed and the team moved to bring the website development in-house, it was clear that their previous implementation would not give them the flexibility that they wanted as a growing, agile company. There wasn’t a good product fit using Sitecore due to its monolithic, web-first nature. As Gennev’s product offering grows in the future, Sitecore would quickly become prohibitively expensive to do the job they wanted to do well.

The Sitecore implementation limited the team to take a web-first approach and made creating a mobile site using the existing data too expensive. Gennev needed a tech stack that would enable them to test different channels without disturbing existing products. They hoped to find a system that had the features they needed, content staging and development environments to name a few, without being weighed down by features they did not need.

For the Gennev team, it was clear that a headless CMS would offer the flexibility they desired while still meeting the needs of the content team. They wanted to choose a solution that not only met the needs of the team for today but also has the capabilities that they will need as the company continues to grow and evolve. Using a headless CMS, the team would be able to create a flexible content schema. They could create content models that reflected their goals to enable localization and build content models that can be later used to push content to multiple frontends.

After more research into the headless CMS space, GraphCMS came to the forefront as a strong contender. The development team was excited to use GraphQL in production and GraphCMS’ unopinionated approach to content modeling meant that they were able to build schemas that fit the best practices for their industry. The intuitive user interface made onboarding easy for team members to get started with the project.

“GraphCMS was in many ways technology agnostic and it was something we really needed. Being API-first would allow us to utilize the CMS and make changes architecturally as the company grew. The story of flexibility and adaptability is super key as we are building a company. These are the reasons we chose GraphCMS.”

Sarah Ramsay, VP Technology, Gennev

GraphCMS being an API-first, technology-agnostic solution, meant the team could choose each of the tools and services that would fit into their preferred workflows while still making it easy to experiment. Avoiding strict vendor lock-in means the team could hold on to the experimental mindset that they desired while maintaining the stability and reliability which were essential.

GraphCMS had the features that were critical to the team, the technology-agnostic approach to content, and did not require extensive onboarding. In addition to that, the Gennev team was looking for a tool that felt like it would scale with them, the customer support that GraphCMS provided, as well as being fairly priced, made the decision easy for the Gennev team that GraphCMS was the right choice.

Working with GraphCMS

With GraphCMS, the team built a resilient content schema. The team was excited to have a system that let them meet their industry-specific best practices for content modeling. Instead of being restricted to a page builder mentality, the team was able to quickly create modular content blocks that were optimized for their industry to maximize SEO potential. If SEO standards change in the future, it is easy to tweak the models without having to start from scratch or by using GraphCMS environments to help build out new content models before putting them into production to match current SEO standards.

While the developers were new to working with GraphQL, the thorough documentation and the strong community support within the GraphCMS Slack made it easy for them to fly through the early onboarding phases. The Gennev team was able to work quickly to build workflows and content models that would be sustainable for the future.

Although they were not ready to implement localized content on the frontend yet, with GraphCMS, the Gennev team was able to lay the foundation with their content modeling to support localization in the future. When they have the capacity to support a second or third language, the team will be able to use the existing schema with little to no effort needed, to make the switch from a content modeling perspective.

The content creation workflow at Gennev is highly collaborative and very flexible. The majority of the content is public-facing on their website and in a library of articles and assets for educational purposes. The Gennev content editors drop their content into GraphCMS and then provide the appropriate metadata and keywords for SEO. The team retains a highly experimental spirit around content creation testing various marketing content and optimizing language to try to bring in more engagement. The team relies on GraphCMS Audit logs and Content Versioning to keep this experimental approach as efficient as possible. If previous content performed better, it is easy to revert the changes.

The Results

Gennev Homepage.png

The new Gennev site is a static site built with Next.JS and React for the application elements of their site. They use 3rd party integrations for the telemedicine portions of the site and Jotform for form data intake. Other systems complementing Gennev’s stack include Shopify and Stripe. Since the creation of the new highly optimized site powered by GraphCMS, there has been a 90% improvement in page loading time.

The development workflows have shortened significantly. Where it used to take a week to create a public page, the development team can now do it in a day or two. For the content team, there has been at least a 50 percent improvement in the speed of content creation and editing workflows. The content team is now able to run experiments weekly by making changes to content and performing A/B Testing. With GraphCMS, the teams are able to easily work independently to run experiments and optimize content without the aid of developers. Development teams are able to quickly build pages and focus on larger projects rather than worrying about typos.

“We have not run into any limitations that would make us concerned about scaling further with GraphCMS. It has been an incredibly stable and reliable platform. GraphCMS is really invested in the success of their clients in a way that is refreshing and unique.”

Sarah Ramsay, VP of Technology at Gennev

Gennev is happy to have found a partner that will scale with them in GraphCMS. The strong support that GraphCMS gave them in the beginnings of their project to make sure they were up and running quickly was bar none for the Gennev team. GraphCMS being such a user-oriented tool made the Gennev team confident that they were making the best investment. Paired with being a strong product fit for their use case, the customer support from the GraphCMS team sealed the deal. They were able to begin with a plan that suited their initial needs and are planning on working with GraphCMS as they continue to grow and develop further digital products.

Why GraphCMS

  • Intuitive User Interface that reduces the learning curve for new teams working with GraphCMS
  • Audit Logs and versioning make it easy to keep track of changes being made to content
  • GraphQL native product that made the developers excited to learn a new tool
  • Flexible content modeling which made it easier to move away from page-builder mentality
  • Helpful support from the GraphCMS team

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