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Abodu: modern tech meets modern housing

Abodu Case Study
Abodu, the future of modern housing in your backyard, leveraged Stackbit’s visual experience platform to enable developer flexibility, speed, ease of use for marketing and content operations, all the while boosting SEO results.

When Andy Choquette, Abodu’s VP of Technology, was tasked with re-building their WordPress website he asked himself, What do we really need with this thing?

After some thought about his team of three developers and seven marketers he wrote down three key initiatives:

  1. Ease of use for the marketing team,

  2. Ability to utilize a modern tech stack to align with the rest of their codebase and make customizations easy, and

  3. Improve their SEO and analytics.

Here’s how Andy and Abodu achieved all three with Stackbit.

Maintaining Custom Components was a Pain

Before Stackbit, Abodu was using WordPress to power its website and it wasn’t all bad. They really liked that their marketers could build new pages independently. But anytime they needed custom components it was a huge pain for their technical team.

Abodu builds premium backyard homes. So, naturally, their marketing team wanted to feature a pricing calculator on their website.

Initially, the dev team built the calculator with vanilla WordPress (PHP) and it was pretty straightforward. But as Abodu grew, marketing requested more and more new requirements. Before they knew it, they were injecting Vue components, loading CSV files with all the possible pricing possibilities and hitting constant bugs trying to keep everything in sync.

With customizations on our WordPress site, maintenance was basically impossible and our marketers could never edit what they needed. Andy Choquette - VP of Tech

With Stackbit, Andy decided to use Nextjs for their frontend framework. Since there are no dependencies on Stackbit, they were able to set up real-time data calls to their price book, offering tremendous reuse and flexibility. And by adding a few annotations to the code, their marketers were able to have full control of how the calculator was presented and used on the site.

Abodu Component Library

Marketers Didn’t Want to Leave WordPress Until They Got a Demo of Stackbit

Even with the calculator woes, Abodu’s marketing team was skeptical about leaving WordPress. They were familiar with it and liked that they didn’t have to engage the developers to get most stuff done.

But one of their biggest complaints about WordPress was that they were turning knobs in the WordPress dashboard — making it very difficult to tell what’s affecting what until they previewed the whole page.

After Abodu’s development team found Stackbit, they demonstrated a free Stackbit project to their marketing team.

It was an instant aha moment. Marketing saw the changes happening live on the screen. They saw they would have control of deployments. And they understood that we would build the custom branded component and after that, the components would be fully controlled by them. Andy Choquette - VP of Tech

After seeing the Stackbit demo, the marketing team loved being able to see in real-time what the customer would see and was bought in.

Developers Were Surprised Stackbit Was Built For Them Too

With WordPress, Abodu’s devs were always hitting unforeseen bugs and issues. And because their eng team worked with React on all their other platforms, working with PHP and WordPress’ ecosystem was a huge pain.

They tried hiring WordPress developers to help, but it never seemed to work out how they hoped.

The WordPress developers we’d find were never the greatest — the work kept ending up back with our internal dev team. And with people moving away from WordPress, finding good WordPress developers got harder and harder for us each year. Andy Choquette - VP of Tech

When Abodu chose Stackbit, they got to pick their front-end framework. They chose Next.js, a React framework because their new site could follow all their standard development processes (PRs, tests, etc) just like the rest of their modern code base.

In the long run, having these processes in place makes their site more reliable because they can get the right eyes on it before something new is published. With WordPress, only one person, an external freelancer, was reviewing and approving their own work.

It’s interesting. Stackbit is in this weird place where marketers think it’s built for marketers-first and developers think it’s built for developer-first. Everyone is finally happy. Andy Choquette - VP of Tech

What they also found is that by going with Next.js, it’s much easier to find people to work on the website. Having Next.js be somewhat opinionated around the file structure setup makes it so that a new developer can just pop into the codebase without any prior knowledge and start working.

Stackbit Makes Abodu’s SEO Even Better

Another one of Abodu’s huge concerns about switching platforms was degrading their SEO performance.

Because Abodu chose Next.js their site could be server-side rendered so that everything is presented in real-time to Google’s crawlers exactly as they would want. We wouldn’t have switched to a platform where this wasn’t possible.

Abodu Google Lighthouse

With Stackbit our site’s speed, Lighthouse performance metrics, and SEO scores are dramatically better. Andy Choquette - VP of Tech

The other key piece that Abodu wanted was to ensure they could have clearly defined analytics events firing both browser and server-side. They use Amplitude as their analytics platform and with WordPress getting Amplitude to work was basically impossible.

With Next.js setting up the Amplitude events were easy for their developers. And because of Stackbit, once it was set up, they were able to give full control of analytical tracking to their marketers which was a huge win for both teams.

With Stackbit, Abodu’s marketing team is now able to build pages with their custom branded components and control their SEO work completely autonomously. All while Abodu’s technical team is able to build with the development workflows that match the rest of their codebase and easily hire help when it’s needed.

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Abodu is a venture-backed start-up working to solve the housing crisis – by serving as a “one-stop shop” for premium prefabricated accessory dwelling units.