Rodale

Accelerating Rodale’s AMP pages

Rodale is one of the U.S.’ most prominent independent publishers, operating health and wellness brands like Prevention, Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, Bicycling, Rodale’s Organic Life, and Rodale Wellness. The company celebrates healthy, happy living, and is known for launching the organic movement in 1942. Today, Rodale reaches more than 100 million people globally across its many different publishing channels.

Given the increasing competitive pressures facing publishers, Rodale is constantly looking for ways to expand its reach and provide a better experience to its audience. That’s why it was interested in becoming an early adopter of the Accelerated Mobile Pages project, announced by Google in October 2015. AMP is an open source standard that allows publishers to create mobile-optimized content that loads quickly across all devices.

For simple sites, AMP is more straightforward; but for a complex family of sites like Rodale’s with sophisticated analytics, delicate design elements, and intricate metadata, AMP is not a trivial undertaking. Rodale uses Drupal as their content management system, and fortunately, Lullabot had just released the first AMP modules for Drupal 7 and Drupal 8 and knew how to get the most out of AMP using Drupal. With this knowledge, we teamed up with Rodale for eight weeks to roll out AMP on seven of their sites.

Challenges to overcome in the project included distilling Rodale’s design to its core elements and theming them for AMP, creating custom logic to override some of Drupal’s incompatible markup, implementing custom formatters for videos, configuring supported analytics elements, and handling Drupal 7 metadata for the AMP pages.

The entire process also required close collaboration with our AMP module team, and as a result, our developers were able to contribute useful code back to the Drupal AMP module.

Today, Rodale can easily publish AMP versions of its content from within its Drupal CMS, knowing those AMP pages will validate, which ultimately means more people can consume Rodale’s content on the go, in the most appropriate mobile format.

The Lullabot team gave us the resource and experience boost we needed to quickly implement AMP across all of our sites.  Since this project was completed, we experienced a significant drop in both mobile page-load time as well as user bounce rate.  We look forward to partnering with Lullabot on future work!
Steve Yeakel, Senior Director, Site Engineering

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