Life is full of tough financial decisions. Mortgages. Life insurance. Auto loans. Car insurance. Credit cards. Debt. Financial planning. Retirement. Taxes. Budgeting.
Founded in 2016, MoneyGeek’s mission is to build financial literacy content and tools to help people make smarter financial decisions.
With their business revolving around consumer education, user experience and performance emerged as key considerations. The team -- head of product and technology Todd Mulholland, working closely with a third-party group of developers -- turned to Strapi for their CMS and Gatsby as their web framework.
“It’s really about providing a phenomenal user experience that’s fast on mobile,” said CEO Doug Jones.
To understand why these technologies were a great choice for achieving that goal, it helps to understand the two main types of pages comprising the MoneyGeek site.
First, MoneyGeek builds templated, in-depth guides driven by structured content.
The MoneyGeek “Auto Insurance Review” pages are a good example, providing background on major auto insurance providers like Allstate, Esurance, and Geico. Each page has specific ratings along dimensions like Discounts, Complaints, and Affordability, Pro/Con lists, and structured company contact information
Allstate Auto Insurance Review page
With this type of requirements, Gatsby, Strapi, and React were a natural fit: React to create composable, modular UI components; Strapi to create schemas, edit, and store the content, and Gatsby to build page templates, pull in content, and ensure lightning-fast performance.
Second, MoneyGeek is creating a growing portfolio of calculators for complicated financial literacy topics, like their Compound Interest Calculator, Cost of Living Calculator, and Mortgage Calculator. Each calculator is paired with a custom guide, revisited frequently to ensure it’s providing the right level of detail. Again, the same formula worked great: React for the interactive calculator, Strapi for the structured content, pulled together with Gatsby.
MoneyGeek’s mortgage calculator
Gatsby & Strapi worked well especially because search engine optimization is one of the main ways MoneyGeek acquires users. They love SEO as an acquisition strategy because it provides them with high-intent, targeted users who are looking for the things MoneyGeek provides. It also allows them to have zero variable customer acquisition cost -- they don’t do any paid advertising.
In order to optimize their business for SEO, the team needed to be able to quickly create and iterate on campaigns in order to see what types of content landed well. And the team -- especially once contractors were included -- was heavily weighted towards content.
As a result, they designed their system to use Strapi as a “page builder” -- that is, they created a model in their Strapi schema corresponding to each of their Gatsby page templates. So when the team used the Strapi UI to add, for example, a new AutoInsuranceProvider, it would create a new page in the Gatsby website.
What that meant practically was that once each template was created, the content team members could create new pages entirely in Strapi, share resulting preview links with each other to gather feedback, and then publish it -- all without needing additional dev cycles.
This agility is driving business results -- MoneyGeek tripled their revenue last year and expects to triple again this year. It’s a user-centered approach to growth -- and it’s working.
“We don't do any PPC. We don't do any email buys,” Jones said. “For us, it’s all about creating phenomenal content with a great user experience.”
Sam is Cofounder & Chief Strategy Officer at Gatsby.
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