June 14, 2022
Draftea is the first daily fantasy sports platform in the Spanish-speaking world, which has raised over $17.2M and is backed by Sequoia, Kaszek and Bullpen Capital. One of the co-founders of Draftea is Joe Cohen, the former head of engineering at Vercel who helped grow Vercel from a 12 person startup to its current billion dollar unicorn status.
Joe loves Vercel’s developer experience – around their platform for frontend frameworks and static sites, which is built to integrate with headless content, commerce, or a database. That’s why Joe decided to build the Draftea app using Vercel.
So when it came to building Draftea’s blog, Joe naturally wanted to use the Vercel/Jamstack approach for that as well, with Next.js as the coding language, Contentful as the CMS, and deployment to Vercel’s CDN infrastructure.
However, when he presented this idea to the marketing team, they weren’t familiar with Contentful and were concerned about being able to perform their necessary marketing functions without constantly relying on developers for assistance. The marketing team was very clear about their preference to use WordPress, the CMS that they are familiar with and know would allow them to continue to do their jobs in the most efficient way possible – easily adding content, using Yoast SEO, and adding sections and signup forms as needed. Joe understood their request but didn’t feel comfortable with the challenges of hosting a WordPress site.
Joe says, “My main concern is that I don’t like hosting WordPress sites. Everywhere I hosted WordPress sites has always been a bad experience. I’ve seen WordPress get hacked in many different ways and the reality is that most people use third-party themes which aren’t maintained properly, leaving them vulnerable. Plus you need to make sure the database is always scalable and optimized. It’s just a ton of work for an engineering team.”
Joe started looking to see if other headless CMSs would work well for the marketing team and at the same time would be secure and scalable – but they were having trouble finding the right solution.
Joe remembers, “I was chatting with Guillermo Rauch, the CEO of Vercel, who mentioned that he met the founders of Strattic, this company that is hosting WordPress sites in a very interesting way by deploying a static version of the WordPress site. I started reading more about Strattic and thought, okay, that sounds like it would take the stress of WordPress out of the equation.”
Draftea needed to decide whether the marketing team would be the decision-markers regarding the blog, or if the engineering team would take responsibility for it.
Joe explains, “If the marketing team went with their CMS of choice, WordPress, they would be happy but the engineering team would have concerns. But if we let the engineering choose the platform and go with a NextJS-Contentful-Vercel stack, they’d be happy but marketing would be frustrated. That’s when I knew Strattic was the answer. It was such an obvious no-brainer.”
After using Strattic for a bit, Joe shared how the workflow was ideal for his team. “I really liked how Strattic still lets you build your WordPress site locally and then upload whatever you want because you have access to everything, just like a regular WordPress installation. And with WordPress, our marketing team has access to all the CMS features that they depend on.”
In addition to decoupling the WordPress site from the public-facing static site, Joe appreciates how the containerized WordPress site spins down and is offline when it’s not in use. Joe adds, “One of my favorite features on Strattic that made so much sense to me, is that the WordPress admin doesn’t stay up and running when you’re not using it. This is an important security layer because no one else can access the site or hack it, which is especially important for WordPress sites which are a constant target for attacks.”
Another major pain point that Strattic solved was that Draftea didn’t need to spend time optimizing the database to make sure that site visitors had a fast user experience.
“The other thing that I really like about Strattic is that optimizing the database for performance is no longer necessary. The scalable, fast static version of the WordPress site is very similar to what Vercel does with Next.js and in Contentful. And the different incremental publishes available on Strattic make it really fast to update the static site.”
Strattic-hosted WordPress empowered Draftea’s marketing team to move fast and take control of their site. And by removing their reliance on the engineering team for maintenance and hosting, the engineering team was able to enjoy peace of mind about the website’s security and reliability and focus on their other responsibilities.
Joe concludes, “Basically I build my WordPress site, and on Strattic, I don’t need to worry about optimizing the database or the server security. Everything is static. Everything is globally available. Using Strattic just makes sense for us. We found the sweet spot between both worlds, the marketing world and the engineering world. And without compromising security, which is one of the biggest things when you’re hosting WordPress these days. We see this as a great success. Our engineering team no longer needs to worry about anything happening to the marketing site.”