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Salon.com Site Redesign Leads to Increased Traffic 13 April 2010

Posted by gjchatalas in Design, Websites.

In November 2009 Salon rolled out its website redesign. Among the features it highlighted in promoting its updated site were a more simplified look and that it would be easier to use. This included narrower columns, richer sections, and tools for easy sharing.

But digging farther, the redesign also included a conscious effort to make the site more advertiser-friendly. “The site redesign was purposely crafted to provide advertisers and sponsors with the flexibility to be innovative in creating new campaigns,” reads the November announcement of the new Salon.com. “We are giving advertisers the ability to manipulate more parts of Salon than before.” So clearly changes were made with advertisers in mind as much as readers.

Salon readers, though, weren’t particularly taken with the new site design, as noted in several comments on the site. Some said that they hated the new format, and predicted that it would lead to losing readers. And one comment in particular jumped out to me: “Engineers are behind the redesign of Salon. ‘If it ain’t broke, it doesn’t have enough features yet.’ This new format is quite irritating.”

Still, here we are five months later and Salon reports that its traffic and usage has gone up, and attributes this to the redesign. Of note is that the redesign concentrated on the enhanced search traffic and longer reader visits, and those goals have been met so far. Referral traffic has increased over 100 percent, “fulfilling one of Salon’s primary objectives for its redesign.” In addition, first quarter traffic is up 22 percent from 2009, and March 2010 up 35 percent from March of last year.

I am not a particularly big fan of the redesign. But I can’t tell for certain if that is because I was used to, and comfortable with, the previous site appearance and functionality. I actually don’t find it any easier to use, and it has a lot of stuff on that I consider overkill. But I suppose I can’t argue with the results. Design is about business, too. And in this case, the way the site was updated has apparently led to more visits and advertising.



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