When a legacy CMS clogged up a next-generation healthcare platform’s conversion funnel, Gatsby and Contentful were there to help.
Solera Health guides people to better health by connecting chronic patients to evidence-based, lifestyle and behavioral social interventions—and getting their care covered by insurance.
Solera’s web presence is a funnel for their marketing team to bring prospective customers into the program. The problem: their 500 landing pages—a key piece of their conversion funnel—was frozen.
Built with a legacy CMS, Sitecore, the landing pages were almost impossible to edit and tweak. Even small changes to text and images required developer time. Customer support was very difficult to get hold of.
Finding a New Stack: Gatsby + Contentful
But when the development team started using Contentful in Solera’s app, the marketing team became intrigued by the possibility. Maybe they could rip out Sitecore and replace it with a better solution? Turns out, they could.
In July 2021, the entire, 15-person Solera engineering org got together, with the chief product officer, to brainstorm ideas. They came up with Gatsby as a solution to build the landing pages, integrated with Contentful. And when they engaged with Gatsby, the Gatsby team didn’t just hand them a tool—they sat down together to draw the architecture diagram—on both the service side and the project side.
“We were in a time crunch and needed to move fast,” recalls Isho. They wanted something out the door in the order of months. They got connected with the Gatsby team, and decided to invest in Gatsby Cloud Concierge to help them get there.
In October, staff software engineer Grayson Hicks held a kickoff call with Isho and team. Over the next couple months, Hicks helped Isho nail down the architecture and structure of the project:
- Optimizing the landing page template. Hicks helped Isho create a 1:1 relationship between Solera’s React components and their Contentful models, as well as use `loadable` to lazy-load and optimize the performance of each component.
- GraphQL. Isho didn’t have a lot of experience with the technology, and the Gatsby team helped him refactor a large GraphQL query into modular fragments, as well as handle trick relational issues, like if a Contentful model had a relationship pointing to itself. As a result, the code is far more maintainable now, and he was able to onboard a new frontend tech lead onto the codebase seamlessly.
- SSR and Gatsby functions. Solera uses dynamic capabilities on a number of their different domains.
- Gatsby Image. Gatsby’s team helped Isho replace his HTML `<img src…>` components with performance-optimized Gatsby image components on Gatsby Image CDN.
- Redirects. Solera has a complicated set of aliases and redirects between their four different domains, and Gatsby’s team helped Isho map that out and translate it into code.
“They didn’t just give me fish,” says Isho. “They taught me how to fish.”
Better Content Workflows with Gatsby Cloud
Isho designed the landing page so it was composable – content teams could add sections, and layout panels, change section text, change CTA button color and copy, and so on. (We’re working on writing a deep-dive into their landing page schema).
The seamless workflow is a relief to Isho – “I’ve had like a couple of life events that happened in the last month where I’ve had to go off suddenly – and when I came back, there were no fires.”
Once they shipped the site, Isho watched the marketing team – around 5-7 content editors – take charge of building, shipping, and editing landing pages, alongside the director of product.
“With the modules we have now, they’re able to take new pages from start to production.”
And with Gatsby Cloud and Contentful, content goes live in under 10 seconds.
Maintainable codebase for agile teams
With the technology transition also came a personnel transition, and a team organization transition. The project had started with a developer dedicated to the marketing team who did most of the related work.
When he moved to a different company, the marketing work became integrated with the broader engineering team processes—scrum teams, with embedded QA resources and ticket boards. A new frontend lead joined the team, and Isho onboarded him quickly onto the Gatsby stack.
“He had no problems at all,” relayed Isho.
Isho is voluminous in his excitement about working with the Gatsby Concierge team.
“We basically went from zero Gatsby experience to putting out an experience. I can’t thank them enough,” says Isho. “Everything from Partytown to working through Gatsby Image. Any question we asked him, he was there to help.”
“This is the best experience I’ve ever had working with another company.”