How do I get you what you want and not what you don't?

nick
Mar 23, 2010

 

When you stop and think about it, we do a lot of stuff. Matt Westerhold likes to point out that we put out a full-length book every day. And that's just the printed newspaper!

We do all this stuff because it's all valuable, but any individual really only cares about 10% of it. But for each person it's a different 10% of course. So how do you get people to the stuff they want, and not to all the stuff they don't?

In the paper it was easy. You just stick it in there somewhere and people will find it eventually, right? Okay, it's definitely more complicated than that, but it's different on a website. There's many ways sites aren't really very different than printed products, no matter what the hype is, but this isn't one of them, I don't think.

Right now, we have newspaper sites co-branded with our two main print products, an entertainment site and tab with its own brand, and a sports site and tab with its own brand. We're going to improve all our classified verticals and our directory, and that could mean another site. Or sites. And we're working on another site to house hyperlocal subsites. And we're seeking to make all this work as simply as possible for advertisers, so we have started treating all those sites as a network.

And that's just the next six months.

Of course, we're not sure that this is the best way to break it all up. Do we want a single sprawling site? A portal like a local aol/yahoo? Or do we want to atomize it as much as possible and have dozens and dozens of sites for every little thing? The trend seems to be toward sites that do one thing as opposed to lots...

Obviously part of the solution can be Netflix/Amazon style recommendation engines and that is somewhere we want to go, but I think it's a branding/marketing and information architecture problem first. To rely on an algorithm is just lazy and sloppy, in my opinion, and I want to build on a better foundation.

So for those of you who don't spend most of your time thinking about websites, what makes sense? I'm fully willing to believe I'm overthinking it...

Comments

Karl Hungus-Mr....

I think the yahoo-like portal is a good idea.  To be honest I never look at the fandy or funcoast sites because well I have no reason to.  I have no interest in local sports, or the local drunkeness that seems to be featured in the Funcoast so often.

Now, does that mean that there might not be something of interest in there for myself or my children at some point, no.  However, if there was under the current system I would never see it because I have no idea what is featured on those sites.

If it was set up like a portal you could cross advertise the different sites, and people like myself would be better educated on what is featured on the other sites in the "Register family".  This would lead to more web hits for your stat counter which would lead to haper advertisers, which would lead to a happier Register.  Not to mention that I, the reader, would be happier as well.

Cross

Put your paper on Kindle. Be ahead of the other small town papers!

That portal idea sounds a lot like a post I made before.. Very interesting.