0 min read

Francis Pilon

PinnacleDigest.com is an investor community site that features popular discussion forums, a multi-user blog, external news feed and data source integration. For greater interactivity it also features a "Stock Market Challenge" and an “Investor IQ Challenge”.

Pinnacle Digest was one of our first clients, with this project marking the fourth iteration of their site. The first version went live in 2006. In 2007, we took over site design and development.

Taking a cue from evolving trends in social media and online communities, the client identified a clear need to provide a more engaging environment that encouraged greater interaction with and between their subscribers.

The Twist

The discovery process identified several new features that the client wanted to add to its site, some of which were not available or supported on the existing back-end platform. An upgrade from Drupal 5 to Drupal 6 would be required, introducing complexity with regards to migrating the existing site data.

The Solution

We started by reviewing the existing user experience in order to identify opportunities for enhancement. One of the first things we did was to encourage the client to “tear down the wall” – stop asking people to create an account and simply open it up to the public. We then developed custom functionality that fostered greater subscriber participation and encouraged more recurring visits to the site.

To stimulate membership and encourage broader usage of the site and its features, we developed a credit system through which members earned points each time they engaged with the site. This included writing blog posts, commenting on other posts, participating in an online game, commenting on articles, etc. Users reaching a certain plateau earned entry into the Pinnacle Prestige club, a prestigious badge of honour bestowed upon the top 10 users of the site.

After completing the upgrade to Drupal 6, the entire site layout and navigation was redesigned. Migrating the site data from the previous version was lengthy and complicated, but was accomplished with great success.

The Results

Site traffic increased by more than 50% in the first 6 months following the relaunch. Making all content publicly accessible proved to be the right decision: membership grew from 500 to more than 20,000 in the first year alone. Paid membership increased by 20% in the first 15 months after the launch.

One of the most successful tools we implemented for increasing user engagement was a credit system called the ‘Pinnacle Prestige Club’. Members earn credits whenever they take action on the site: participating in a challenge, writing a blog post, commenting on an article, etc. The top ten contributors with the most points enter the Pinnacle Prestige Club, enjoying bragging rights as a top site user. This Club fits well with the knowledge-based content of the site, and definitely encourages people to engage and share with their fellow members.