Sargs.lv – From a niche military publication to a popular news platform

We transformed the print magazine Tēvijas Sargs and Sargs.lv, the official information site of the Latvian Ministry of Defence, into a news service with engaging content, better UX and impeccable security. This transformation resulted in a colossal growth in site traffic, expanding the site’s reach from a narrow military audience to everyday citizens interested in national defence in Latvia.

We transformed the print magazine Tēvijas Sargs and Sargs.lv, the official information site of the Latvian Ministry of Defence, into a news service with engaging content, better UX and impeccable security. This transformation resulted in a colossal growth in site traffic, expanding the site’s reach from a narrow military audience to everyday citizens interested in national defence in Latvia.

“We are happy that the number of visitors has increased by 444% and the growth has been consistent.”

Kaspars Galkins, Director of the Department
Military public affairs department, Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia

More info about this

Ernests Gabrāns

Country Manager, Latvia

+371 29849696

ernests.gabrans@wunder.io

About this work

What is Sargs.lv

Run by the Ministry of Defense of Latvia, Sargs.lv is a news platform that replaced a print magazine called Tēvijas Sargs (Guardian of the Fatherland). The renewal of Sargs.lv extended the site from previously only serving professionals into the number one military news portal and an official conversation platform for everyone interested in military and national defense matters.

Objectives

The key features for the new Sargs.lv were better user experience, appealing layout and responsiveness. Above all, the end product needed to meet the security standards of a news portal run by the Latvian Ministry of Defence.

The background

As digitalization took the audiences online, the ministry decided to discontinue the print magazine and focus its resources on developing the already-existing Sargs.lv news site. Their goal was to build an online news portal with a wider reach.

Sargs.lv had not reached its full potential in popularity because of its monotone content and expert terminology. It was mostly visited by a small but loyal reader base of military professionals and civilians that had a strong interest in national defense matters.

The goal of the project was to gain more traffic to the new site, but at the same time keep catering to the already-existing expert audience. This was achieved by making the content less formal and bureaucratic, while also maintaining the professional, trustworthy and analytical tone the site was known for.

Objectives

The key features for the new Sargs.lv were better user experience, appealing layout, and responsiveness. Above all, the end product needed to meet the security standards of a news portal run by the Latvian Ministry of Defence. Together with Reputé, a local PR agency, we set out to create the most extensive military news portal in Latvia and not only for military professionals but for a wider audience interested in national defense topics.

In a nutshell, our job was to:

  • Build a secure, and a technologically modern news portal
  • Design a pleasant user experience
  • Advance the competence and capacity of the editorial team
  • Create a concept and an editorial frame that will appeal both to current and potential readers
  • Issue a PR campaign to promote the renewed news portal
Mobile screenshot from sargs.lv

Mobile screenshot from sargs.lv

The challenge

To best serve the news editors of Sargs.lv, we needed to make sure that the portal was easy to manage. This would give the editors more time to work with the editorial content and grow site traffic.

In the development, the three main tasks were:

  • Migrating the news archive and other data to a new platform, Drupal 8
  • Creating an easy to manage publishing tool for editors
  • Ensuring a balance between the site’s security needs and providing a smooth user experience

The solution

Security being a priority, we used secure and trustworthy open-source solutions that are very hard to hack. Also a MilCERT audit was conducted.

When landing on the new frontpage, the reader quickly sees the different sections and topics the editors have highlighted. A clear site structure, as well as different content elements, such as blocks of text and built-in multimedia, make the news service easier to use for both editors and readers.

To ensure the site is reachable and compelling for a wider audience, we put in Flickr and Facebook integrations to enable discussion.

This was a good time to improve the content along with the site’s infrastructure. This is why our partner Reputé conducted an editorial audit, planned new editorial processes, and helped with the hiring of new editorial staff.

We appreciate the cooperation with Wunder as its team members proposed several solutions to achieve our goal and create a user-oriented website.

Kaspars Galkins, Director of the Department, Military public affairs department / Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Latvia

444 %

More Visitors

56 %

Increase in mobile visits

35 %

increased social traffic

The results

Our goal was to create an advanced version of the military news portal. We did that by using the safest and most up-to-date technologies.

Sargs.lv now uses article templates with integrated modules for pictures, quotes, linked articles, and other content. The use of templates produces a consistent layout that is appealing to the reader.

Interlinkage now creates recirculation: it makes navigation between articles easier for the loyal reader but also tempts a newcomer to spend more time on the site. These links can now be created manually or automatically.

Collaborating with Réputé was straightforward, and above all, a pleasure. Their expertise regarding the content, editorial work, and the promotion of the site played a remarkable role in reaching the phenomenal scrolling numbers.

Would you like to see your online service soar? Contact us to find out how.

More info about this

Ernests Gabrāns

Country Manager, Latvia

+371 29849696

ernests.gabrans@wunder.io