Personal finance and business media company Kiplinger Washington Editors has relaunched its keystone brand’s website The new site is the result of a top-down redesign and CMS overhaul, the first in about 11 years.

Traffic had been growing on the site, up 24 percent in monthly uniques in 2012 compared to 2011, and a month after the relaunch traffic spiked to 3 million uniques, a new record, per Omniture numbers.

"We haven’t done a top-to-bottom redesign in 11 years," says Doug Harbrecht, director of new media at Kiplinger Washington Editors.

The CMS was "stripped down to nothing" and rebuilt from scratch in-house, he says.

A team of four developers completed the project in about 10 months, and the proprietary, in-house approach saved the company hundreds of thousands of dollars, says Harbrecht.

A particular focus was incorporating social features, with every page being shareable, and the editorial team has dramatically stepped up its participation on the various platforms.

The site is now optimized for tablet viewing, but Harbrecht says that due to budget and development constraints, formatting for the smartphone will come later. In the interim, the brand will be partnering with Onswipe to create a smartphone-friendly user experience for the site.

During the redesign, the team laid the foundation for a paywall model, which is expected to launch in the third or fourth quarter this year. "It will probably be a metered or some kind of limited paywall," says Harbrecht. "We’re not quite a news operation, but what we provide is timely and our information can be valuable in both the instant and as evergreen."