online

Decline of the homepage

Website consumption patterns are changing. Remember when the main way to surf a website was via its homepage? Well, that was the old days. The rise of super-fast, super-efficient search engines mean that users are increasingly accessing websites via deep links that bypass their homepages directly to a website’s articles. It’s essentially a backdoor into your website. Search engines aren’t the only ones to blame. Bloggers generally link directly to the articles they are writing about, ignoring homepages. RSS feeds, which allow users to subscribe directly to article feeds, are also responsible for the decline of the homepage. So what does this mean? Paradoxically it is both a problem and an opportunity for publishers.

Where are the great online magazines? Where?

Magazines have not enjoyed the same high profile, runaway success of their newspaper counterparts in the online world. Magazines aren’t big online. Websites of print magazines have had a rather low profile in more than 10 years of internet in this country. Compare this to the high-profile online news brands that rake in big numbers and you will see what I mean. It’s no secret that the news brands dominate the top half of the local online readership rankings, whereas very few magazines even make the top 50 sites….

Online ‘permanence’

Imagine a world where you could actively sell advertising on archived content. Well, it’s here. Content on a website should never die. Never, ever. To delete content on a website is a waste. Online articles and their links should be permanent. In the world of the dead tree, articles have limited lifespans. You read your paper, then it’s used to wrap fish and chips, is thrown in the rubbish bin, or lives a lonely life of obscurity in some dusty library archive….

It’s about branding, stupid

Online advertising is not only about clicks, leads and acquisitions… branding is important too. There are a number of competing online advertising models on the net. By far the most dominant one used by online publishers is the Cost-per-Thousand (CPM) model. CPM is the closest online advertising gets to advertising in traditional media. The advertiser pays in advance to place an advert that will be displayed to the website’s readership base, which should generate return on investment. Through the campaign there will be branding for the advertiser, click-throughs on the advert, leads and hopefully acquisition of the product. Everyone’s happy?

Print vs Online: Interview with Marketing Mix

Just did this interview with Marketing Mix on the (yawn) print vs online debate…

What is your opinion on the general attitude of the newspaper industry towards the merging of online and print?

How far is SA behind (in general) when it comes to combining online and print?

What ‘cool’ things do you have on the M&G site that no one else does, and how are the ‘cool’ things working out – are people using RSS feeds etc, for example?

What are the problems/challenges facing publishers that actually want to embrace online?

Should SA publishers be worried about online? Is it a threat?

What is hampering the real growth of online at the moment?

How long do you think we have until online starts eating into circulation/ad revenue the way it has in the US and UK?

What are the next steps in terms of technology and integrating print and online that publishers need to embrace and use?

How can an online presence be using for success brand-building both for the newspaper itself as well as advertising clients?

Has online revenue started to make a positive impact on the overall bottom line?

Are clients and ad agencies geared for an online presence? If no, what needs to be done (by all parties) to ensure online ad revenue success?

What are the differences between having a print publication and an online site – ie what do publishers/journalists need to learn and understand about online in order to meet consumer expectations?

What is your opinion on citizen journalism and its part?

What do you do about premium news (subscribing mostly?) as most people won’t pay for the privilege esp as they can normally find the stories elsewhere on the internet? But how viable is free content?

Is there a threat yet to classifieds (print and online) from sites such as craigslist, and how do you combat this?

Answers over the page…..

Citizen journalism, let's keep our heads shall we?

Did this interview with Herman Manson of Media Toolbox a popular media newsletter. Here are the questions:

To what extent is the M&G planning to make use of citizen/participatory journalism?
What are people writing about on your blogging service and how does this influence the content of your website and the paper edition?
Do you think participatory journalism will grow beyond community newspapers (for which it does seem perfect) to national news organisations locally? Internationally the BBC recently announced a move to integrate more citizen generated content into its services.

My answers over the page

The blog phenomenon

When Gutenberg invented the printing press, he freed the publishers. But when the World Wide Web was pioneered by Tim Berners-Lee, it was said that the readers were now freed. The age of the internet has given unprecedented power to the reader by creating one of the most democratic and accessible forms of publishing yet – the blog.

The great convergence sideshow

It’s always been cheap and easy to publish on the web. Big professional, online publishers share the same medium as small-time, personal homepages. Online publishers typically publish at a lower cost than newspapers or magazines, making it an affordable option for shoestring publishers and budding entrepreneurs. It’s why they are in the web business in the first place.

Open source in SA

Something pretty revolutionary is going down in a dusty patch of Limpopo province. It involves billionaire and Africa’s first Astronaut Mark Shuttleworth, a multi-national technology company and the government.

Dotcom dating dollars

When the internet arrived, people screamed let’s make lots of money. This new, interactive medium had the ability to deliver content to audiences in innovative ways and make money at the same time. Content would suck readers in, went the theory, and communities would form around these content genres. E-commerce areas would then be built around relevant content and wham bam thank you Ram, your community interacts and you have dotcom dollars.

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