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E.Republic relaunches its newest website

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Shortly after acquiring Governing from Times Publishing Co. late last year, e.Republic began the process of redesigning the magazine's website, governing.com. Key functions for Washington, D.C.-based Governing, including editorial, remain in the nation’s capital even though the rest of the company is based in Sacramento, Calif., and executives from e.Republic “didn’t want to fly in and start saying, ‘Here’s what we’re going to do,’” said Paul Harney, e.Republic COO. “We wanted to give people a sense of ownership of this product.”

Governing was lagging on the digital side in recent years as Times Publishing put its focus on preparing to sell the magazine and its Washington-based sibling Congressional Quarterly, which was acquired in mid-2009 by The Economist Group. “So when the people saw us investing in new tools and technology, they were pretty excited,” Harney said.

Governing.com, which was relaunched last month, does not look significantly different to the user because its staff wanted to preserve the look and feel, but its back-end now runs on the Clickability content management system used by the rest of e.Republic.

One of the greatest downsides for governing.com in the past was the number of systems it took to run it, said Zach Presnall, e.Republic’s Web marketing manager. “Some of the site was working off a Drupal content management system; some of it was built by hand,” he said. “The blogs were on typepad, and a third-party handled all the newsletter output. They were paying someone to host content and paying another agency to have search integration. We now have everything on one internal server and one CMS.”

Aside from the companion site to Government Technology (GT), govtech.com, all of e.Republic’s sites are now on Clickability. “GT will be next, in the fall,” Harney said. “That’s a big development for the company because our websites will be in the hands of people at the brands rather than IT.”

The relaunch of governing.com is designed to address another critical issue—monetization. “Governing.com has a loyal following and a great brand name, but they didn’t leverage that online as much as they could have,” Harney said.

One major change for advertisers is lead generation. “This is something we’ve been doing very well in the rest of e.Republic,” Presnall said. “We use Eloqua and salesforce.com systems to integrate lead capture with content, such as webinars and white papers. In the past, governing.com would link off the site to a white paper on a vendor’s site. Now we’re able to host that white paper, capture leads and sell to advertisers based on performance.”

One major design change on the site is the categorization of content into topic channels such as management, finance and politics. Previously, governing.com would sell banner ads on the home page that would continue to appear on all subsequent pages; now, the site has the content and organization to sell different ads for each section, Presnall said.

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