Contrary to popular belief, traditional news publishing organizations can produce an online publication at a profit if they’re willing to make a commitment to leveraging all the web medium has to offer, and if they’re willing to separate the web product from their traditional print personality and embrace the web community. This article describes how one such publisher, our client, achieved remarkable success with their online offering, with the guidance of Best Technology Strategy Corp. consultants Ted Wallingford and Bill Bunevich.
When our client, an established newspaper and radio broadcasting company with several print products, decided to move to a content-managed web site for the first time in mid-2006, their objectives were clear:
- Drastically increase pageviews on their primary web site. Mission accomplished. 18 months later, traffic is nearly 2.5 times higher than it was when we started.
- Make their online product more accessible and more easily referenced by employing modern technologies borrowed from the world of blogging–such as RSS news feeds. Best Technology helped them do this.
- Enable their news production department, which is accustomed to writing and editing a daily newspaper, to produce a news web site with round-the-clock access and various levels of security for authors, editors, and other roles. Best Technology helped them do this.
- Enable the readers of their web site to interact with the news product and with each other in a meaningful, revenue-enhancing manner. Best Technology helped them do this.
- Demonstrate a commitment to online news publishing as a means of showing potential online advertisers how valuable and effective localized online advertising can be. Best Technology helped them do this.
Meeting these objectives wasn’t exactly going to be easy–after, the software that presently exists for running print publications, such as Advanced Publishing Technology’s “ACT” suite, aren’t appropriate for writing and editing a web site. Indeed, because of the software’s deep ties to the print industry, the editorial system in use at our client wasn’t even a good place to start. Running their web site the way the community expects a modern web site to be run–now that was going to require a completely different approach.
The approach Best Technology offered to our client offered a high-performance, uniform software system for publishing totally customized news and community web sites. The solution handles all aspects of the production process, from authoring to copyediting to publishing, bringing together many users and facilitating their roles within the news production process.
The solution also provides an exceptional experience for a web site’s user community, handling user accounts, security, comment moderation, and interaction among community members. Since the solution uses the WordPress publishing software as its core, there are literally thousands of plug-in modules at our client’s disposal to expand and enhance the functionality of their web site as the user community’s desires and preferences change.
And that’s important: since it’s the user community that directly drives the success of a web site (whereas a newspaper’s success is driven to a greater extent by advertisers, not readers), being able to respond to reader demands and ideas is critical. The better the online product services the user community, the more revenue is possible. Consumers become dedicated to the online brand, as our client discovered: after implementing the WordPress-based solution from Best Technology, our client’s pageview traffic on their web site nearly doubled in less than a year.
What’s more, using the open foundation of WordPress, whose modular software architecture is heart of our content-management approach, our client’s web site is technically years ahead of its competition, as indicated by its Alexa rankings, which now dwarf competing local news sites.
If you run a print business that’s struggling to figure out the answer to the online paradox, Best Technology is the answer, and we need to talk.