- Make sure your pages are crawlable. Most newspaper sites do just fine at this when it comes to news stories. But if your entertainment guide, discussion boards, classifieds and other such content are on database platforms that aren’t being crawled, you’re leaving free traffic on the table.
- Don’t rely on the front page. While most people start at the front page of a print newspaper, many of your online readers come directly into stories through searches, emails, IMs, etc. Showcase your best (and most current) content on each page in a continuously updated section.
- Don’t require registration just to read stories. People want to consume your content; don’t keep them from it. If I hit a registration wall, I usually go away. If I really want to read the story, I’ll try BugMeNot. (Note that the top 5 sites on bugmenot.com are newspaper sites.) I have to really, really, really want to read the story to register. And in that case I’ll give fake information. At the very least, if you require registration, make sure that traffic that comes from search engines or bookmarks at least gets the first few stories registration free.
- Don’t expire content (unless you have to for licensing reasons). When I blog, I try not to link to stories from The New York Times because I know that after 7 days my readers won’t be able to see the story unless they pay for it. I usually try to find a similar story in The Washington Post because they don’t expire content. More inbound links mean higher search engine placement. Storage is cheap; it doesn’t cost much to keep old stories around. If you’re concerned about cannibalizing archives revenue, let users read a set amount of archived content a month free. (Casual readers won’t pay you for the articles anyway.)
- Make sure you have feeds. In the early days of the online news business we thought we could get users to set the newspaper site as the homepage. The ship has sailed on that. Make sure that users who have set their homepage to MyYahoo, iGoogle and other portals can see your content easily by creating feeds of your content. Let them slice and dice to fit their particular tastes – just news for a specific town, a sports team, a columnist, etc. The Post does a great job of this.
- Make it easy to find all work by your key columnists. I would love to see a page that revolves around Tom Siestema’s dining reviews or Neal Justin’s TV columns, that is easily accessible from all stories written by them. This page should contain recent articles, contact information, RSS feeds and email alerts.
- Make sure your pages are bookmarkable. Much of the content I read is from blogs that reference them and emailed/IMed links. Sites like del.icio.us and digg also need static URLs. A “bookmark this” link that generates a custom URL isn’t good enough; users should be able to cut-and-paste from the browser address bar.
- Don’t split stories across pages. It may get you more page views (and ad impressions) from a single user, but it’s a bad user experience. Don’t care so much about that? There are more selfish reasons. Stories split across multiple pages won’t get indexed correctly by search engines. They are also less likely to rise to the surface on social sites if users bookmark or tag different pages of the story.
I am the CEO of redesignmobile.
I frequently write for VentureBeat. I also talk about technology on Bloomberg TV and CNBC. I have also written for TechCrunch and GigaOm.
I have special expertise in small business, social networking and mobile payments.
I am probably best known for my critique of Groupon and the daily deals space.
- RT @Chris_DL: New version of BBC News Headlines for @Pebble in color, with timeline! New design will also be available on Aplite. http://t.… 12 hours ago
- RT @bryce: when we had a female associate we met a lot of female founders. now that we have an asian associate, we're meeting a lot of asia… 12 hours ago
- RT @BrianNorgard: Twitter corp dev deserves serious credit for the @periscopeco swoop. And they did it well before the hype cycle! Smart. 12 hours ago
- RT @AmerBanker: Gmail Bill Pay a Bigger Threat to Banks than Google Wallet bit.ly/1H0LETX #payments http://t.co/QN5vRaYsTE 12 hours ago
- Ff @ktbenner one of the most knowledgeable finance types in tech media. 12 hours ago
- RadiumOne is in dire financial circumstances, sources say — company denies it March 28, 2015
- Ellen Pao loses Kleiner case, but says if she helped women and minorities in VC, then ‘battle was worth it’ March 28, 2015
- Follow these 7 steps if you’re talking to a possible acquirer March 27, 2015
- What to Think, Ep. 47: The future of cities with swarms of driverless cars March 27, 2015
- Google responds to Wall Street Journal allegations: Microsoft visited the White House more than we did March 27, 2015
- Intel considers $10B-plus acquisition of programmable chip maker Altera, report says March 27, 2015
- Kleiner Perkins wins on all claims in Ellen Pao case (updated) March 27, 2015
- Georgia kills anti-LGBT bill as tech giants protest Indiana law March 27, 2015
- IBM acquires ‘certain assets’ from web crawling startup Blekko March 27, 2015
- This guy invented a machine just for picking up ketchup blobs March 27, 2015
- Why does Tina Fey not use the magnetic strip in her American Express commercials?
- How did Square lose the Apple Pay and Twitter partnerships while Stripe won?
- Is it possible for Square to lower the rate to 1.75% and compete with Amazon?
- Why is Square a popular choice for food trucks in San Francisco?
- Is it true, as Fast Company wrote recently, that Square is "no longer the high-flying startup it once was" (August 2014)?
- Thoughts on service startups
- My genius product/service list
- My genius list
- A few New Year’s changes to the @rakeshlobster twitter feed
- Bought a smart watch in the past 90 days on an AmEx or Discover? Don’t want it? Get your money back
- The death of nuance: Komen, ALS and Uber
- PR tip: Don’t use a celebrity’s death to pitch your company
- You have a friend who is depressed? Here’s what to do
- The smartest question I was asked by an entrepreneur and team member
- Why I retweet racist assholes
- A sample Groupon merchant agreement
- A look at Groupon's extremely lopsided merchant agreement
- Groupon, LivingSocial and daily deals - merchant FAQ
- Groupon, LivingSocial and daily deals – consumer FAQ
- Yelp advertiser agreement
- My genius list
- Revised Groupon merchant agreement
- LivingSocial merchant agreement
- How daily deal companies could improve the merchant experience -- and why they won't
- Because manholes are round