No Dead Ends: Creating the Modern Web Site
How InternetRetailer.com improved performance by double digits.
While magazine Web sites are starting to take a back seat to other channels that reach readers on a daily basis (such as Facebook and Twitter) they remain the centerpiece for many publishers’ digital strategies.
Launched in 2001, InternetRetailer.com decided that its original Web design was outdated and required a significant update to offer the latest must-haves (video, rich media, social media), along with an easy-to-use navigation path.
InternetRetailer.com and set about reworking the entire site, with a priority on making relevant content easier to find. "We changed the entire site," says InternetRetailer president Molly Love Rogers. "We now invite visitors to explore more content and guide them through the process. Visitors are no longer required to hunt-and-peck for things that interest them. Instead, we surface relevant content, products, videos, polls, and user comments alongside all editorial."
Design firm Alexander Interactive tackled the site taxonomy by identifying subjects and categories most important to visitors. While InternetRetailer.com always enabled visitors to search its archive of more than 35,000 stories, they weren’t always able to find articles quickly, and when they did find the article, related links were often missing. AI began wireframing (identifying and prioritizing the ways visitors use InternetRetailer, and mapping pathways through the site’s content), including identifying more than 500 potential user experiences.
Since the June 1 re-launch of InterneRetailer.com, 54.2 percent of visitors are spending between five and 30 minutes on the site, more than half of them spending at least 10 minutes on each visit. In addition, impressions have increased three-fold from about 450,000 to 1.5 million per month. Forty-eight percent of visitors return to the site in less than 24 hours. Time spent per visit increased 39 percent, average page views per visit rose 16 percent and homepage bounce rate improved 29 percent.
The bulk of the traffic comes from the daily IR news blasts, SEO, and direct (those that subscribe to the RSS and visit the site daily for breaking news).
"There are no dead ends," says Love Rogers. "You read a story on Amazon, it links to the company’s profile. If there is a news item on an e-commerce vendor, you are presented with all the other articles on this vendor and their past coverage. The site has been designed to encourage exploration, much more so than the previous iteration, which presented compartmentalized information. Users are now presented with related content and quick, usable access to IR’s guides, conferences and archives."