While the recent redesign of WSJ.com is intended to make the Web site easier to use through the addition of new personalization features, another purpose of the revamp is to enable b-to-b advertisers to build better bridges to their audiences.
“We want to make sure the ads stand out better than the way when we started,” said Randy Kilgore, senior VP-advertising for Dow Jones Online. He added that although ad rates online have been increasing, he doesn’t see a direct correlation between higher ad rates and the recent redesign.
The revamp, unveiled earlier this month, was the first significant home page redesign for the site since 2002.
WSJ.com has a fully paid circulation of 764,000, making it one of the top five circulated-news products in the country. That includes Dow Jones’ flagship The Wall Street Journal.
As part of the revamp, WSJ.com introduced My Online Journal, which enables subscribers to receive personalized news in a full-page format designed for easy scanning. This news also appears in a scrolling box on the right side of the home page.
Previously, personalized news appeared only in the lower right of the home page. Readers can now add up to 10 companies, industries, columnists and topics, up from five.
“We want to provide readers with a very clean and fast way to get to information, whether they trust our judgment, their own judgment or a combination of both,” said Bill Grueskin, managing editor of WSJ.com.
The home page has also added sections highlighting headlines from each main section of the newspaper, including Markets, Technology and Opinion, to allow users to more easily see what’s new at a glance.
WSJ.com plans to roll out additional news personalization and search features during the next several weeks.
A few days after Dow Jones introduced the redesign, Microsoft ads appeared on the home page for an entire business day. The placement was part of Microsoft’s new “People Ready” campaign, a $500 million global marketing and sales effort to communicate the company’s software value for business. Kilgore said other blue-chip companies are likely to follow suit in their online ad spend.
It’s still “just the second inning” in the evolution of online marketing,” Kilgore said. “We’re constantly seeking ways to improve the value proposition for advertisers. We want to provide better positioning, better targets and new technologies that make for smarter ways for marketers to get their messages to their audiences.”
The redesign is part of several changes throughout Dow Jones’ online operations. For example, last week the company signed a deal allowing Yahoo! Finance to publish articles from The Wall Street Journal’s “vertical” Web sites. The sites included in the deal are: CareerJournal.com, CollegeJournal.com, OpinionJournal.com, RealEstateJournal.com and StartupJournal.com. Yahoo! Finance is the No. 1 Web destination for investment information, according to Nielsen//NetRatings.