How a rental marketplace uses ButterCMS to drive up SEO while taking developers out of the process

  • Increase page impressions three-fold
  • Create and publish articles in one-third of the time
  • Decrease bounce rate by 20%
Client profile

Doorsteps

Organization Type
Marketplace
Location
Santa Clara, CA
Logo for Doorsteps

Doorsteps is a home rentals website powered by realtor.com, with hundreds of thousands of listings across the U.S. They launched as DoorstepsBuy in 2012 with a mission to provide solid guidance and tips to first-time home buyers. The company has now shifted focus toward enriching the search process for renters by bringing them fresh, relevant articles about the neighborhoods and cities where they are interested in renting.

Executive Summary

Doorsteps.com set out to enrich the experience of their customers by bringing them interesting, relevant articles about the neighborhoods and cities where their customers were looking to find rentals. ButterCMS enabled Doorsteps to create nearly 1000 articles over 18 months by taking the software developers out of the process. As a result, they reduced the publishing time from six to two weeks per article, had page impressions increase threefold, and reduced bounce rate on articles by 20%.

Picture of Cheryl Crouse

It checked all the boxes for us. It was super lightweight. It did the things that we knew that we wanted to do.

Cheryl Crouse
Product Manager

Business Challenges

Quickly provide a flow of fresh, relevant content about the neighborhoods and cities where their rental listings are located

Doorsteps.com recently began the journey of creating great, relevant content about the neighborhoods and cities for their rental listings all over the country. The processes in place to manage the content were inefficient and laborious.

Cheryl Crouse, the Rentals Product Manager for realtor.com, saw firsthand the unnecessary delays in creating and publishing content due to a lack of a content management system (CMS).

We definitely had a problem with freshness of content” because the process was completely manual. Writers would email the articles to the editor. The editor would convert them into markdown, store in DropBox, and assign the article to developers. The developers then would work on formatting the articles and optimizing the images.

Cheryl Crouse | Product Manager

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Cheryl recalls how painfully slow the process used to be. "We had to schedule work in every one of our sprints for the developers to do articles for us. And I felt like, Yes, the articles are great, but our developers can probably be doing something more important with their time.”


Having the developers involved in publishing each article also made the promotion of their content really difficult as well. Says Cheryl, “when articles were pushed out by the developers, it was all the articles, all at once, at whatever time, and there was no scheduling automation at all. It was like you caught up afterward. We’d have to go and backtrack and figure out what we wanted to post on social.”


The other major downside was the lack of search engine optimization (SEO) tagging and metadata with the giant JSON files for articles. “I think we probably wouldn’t have continued to see a boost with organic traffic and SEO from articles, so we probably would have stopped
doing it.”

Picture of Cheryl Crouse

I imagine if we had not converted to Butter, we likely would have just stopped doing content altogether. I think it would have overrun all of our sprints and, unfortunately, it would have gotten deprioritized.

Cheryl Crouse
Product Manager

Solution

ButterCMS allows Doorsteps to streamline the flow of content creation while taking the developers out of the process

The whole team got together as the article promotion delays continued. They knew a CMS would solve their problems. “WordPress was at the top of our list but got dropped pretty quickly. No one on the team knew WordPress or had worked with WordPress before, or knew PHP,”
recalls Cheryl. Doorsteps.com developers have built the Doorsteps.com website with React and preferred to build out the articles section using the same UI library.

The developers set out for a better solution and found Butter CMS.

It checked all the boxes for us. It was super lightweight. It did the things that we knew that we wanted to do.

Cheryl Crouse | Product Manager

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With ButterCMS all of their content is now located in one, central location. Doorsteps.com is able to streamline the process from writing great articles to publishing and promoting them on their site.

They can now schedule their articles through ButterCMS to ensure fresh content. The developers set up webhooks to send notifications when content has been published through Butter. This now allows their marketing team to have predictable scheduling for promoting that content.

The use of SEO metadata and tagging for their articles has enabled them to provide relevant content to their customers where and when their customers look for it. With Butter, the Doorsteps.com team now has direct linking to relevant listings from within their articles by
using categories and tags. And best of all, the developers have now been taken out of the process for updating articles on their website, which makes the whole process a lot more efficient.

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Results

Cutting down the content creation process to one-third the time has enabled the creation of over 1000 articles in 18 months, significantly increasing organic traffic

Once the team decided to use ButterCMS to solve their problems, it took about three weeks to get set up. “The implementation process was actually super easy for us. We were able to migrate all of our articles in and set it up with our preferences
intact.”

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With ButterCMS managing all of their articles, Doorsteps is now providing tons of rich, targeted content that is easier for their now expanded audience to navigate. This content is bringing real value to the whole rental experience at Doorsteps.com, just as the team intended. Since
publishing a new article now takes one-third of the time as before, nearly 1,000 articles have been published over the past 18 months. Page impressions for articles have also increased threefold and bounce rate has decreased by 20%.

This can be attributed to using appropriate categorization and tagging, SEO, as well as using the Butter API to control the number of posts being displayed per page. In addition, once developers integrated ButterCMS into the Doorsteps.com website, they were able to step completely out of the process of publishing articles.

Cheryl reflects on the changes that have taken place since implementing ButterCMS. “I imagine if we had not converted to Butter, we likely would have just stopped doing content altogether. I think it would have overrun all of our sprints and, unfortunately, it would have gotten deprioritized.”