In addition to modernizing the look and features of the sites, the underlying strategy was “to drive more traffic directly to the individual sites and to drive traffic deeper into the respective sites,” said Christine Oldenbrook, director of marketing and e-media. “The five [magazines] were fed into one portal before.”
Oldenbrook added: "We kept Fleet Central because we have some content and advertising unique to that site."
From a design perspective, the six sites share the same layout, which includes horizontal navigation bars and tabs. Previously, navigation was both horizontal and vertical. The sites also feature a wider (1,024-pixel) display field and more white space than the prior iterations.
Each of the Fleet brands now offers a greater number of advertising and sponsorship opportunities. For example, each of the new home pages has room for a banner ad above the header and a skyscraper in the right-hand column. When one advertiser books both spots, the higher impact combination is called a road block. “In addition, we have a lot more advertising options beyond the pages, including interstitials and peel-backs,” Oldenbrook said.
Another option for marketers is a new feature called Ask the Expert. “The advertisers can provide an expert on the channel they’re sponsoring,” she said. “It opens up a whole new way for advertisers to dialogue with our users.” There is a marketing program paired with the Ask the Expert sponsorship that includes e-mails to users to urge them to participate by contributing questions.
The site architecture has also been updated. Rather than coming through Fleet Central, the site architecture now directs most of the traffic to one of the five branded sites and then branches off from there. On each brand’s home page, a box at the top features tabs with the names of several channels such as Industry News, Leasing, Safety, Green Fleet, Fuel and Maintenance. Farther down the page, headlines and descriptions of articles in the magazine automatically scroll by to expose a greater amount of content. Once a user clicks on a channel, there is a short description of it and links to several of the latest articles to entice users to the next level. At the next level, the article page, a user will discover a host of Web 2.0 features including ratings, comments and links to discussion forums. The Fleet group is also starting to add blogs. Mike Antich, editorial director and associate publisher for the Fleet group, is the first blogger and all of the sites link to his blog.
Search optimization, with the major search engines and within the site itself, is critical to the new strategy. For example, Oldenbrook said, the descriptions of the channels are “keyword rich” to make it easy for the search engines to find them.