28 November 2009

The Curious Drop Two: site design and content?

Some people left interesting comments on why some local news websites have experienced apparent traffic drops over the past 12 months or so.

Another comment came on Friday as an aside in a conversation.  Maybe it was tied – as the suggestion went – to the change at the vocm.com website.


The start of the drop predates the change-over, although the drop seems to accelerate somewhat after July 2009.  The website changed some time in June.

And that wouldn’t explain the corresponding – although less severe  - drop at the Telegram.  The Telegram has also changed its website content over time, adding some blog space and bumping up its “breaking” news space to the point where you can sometimes get one line virtually all of what will eventually appear in the next day’s print edition.

That should have produced an uptick in traffic, especially from news junkies who will click the three local sites to see what is going on right now.  That’s likely what the Telly editors thought when they went down the road.  More eyeballs can and should produce an upward trend in readership and that helps sell more hard copies.  It should also help boost revenue from advertising online.

Now the other part of the VO conversation was a comment that the site is appalling.  Yes it is, agreed your humble e-scribbler.  It is an assault on the eyeballs, for the most part. 

The news content is also curiously presented, as labradore noted on Friday.  A story on the by-election in Terra Nova features a giant odd-angled shot of Hisself.  it’s got the “WTF-I-never-knew-you-were-behind-me” look to it. Good on Linda or whoever it was for carrying on the fine Scott Chafe tradition of getting the flag in the shot, too.

If the site change didn’t cause the drop, it sure as hell didn’t arrest the development.

The whole thing is rather curious.

And the cogitation on it continues here and  - very likely – at the newsrooms involved as well.