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Hanley Wood begins 30-site revamp with ‘Builder’

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BuilderOnline.com, the Web site of Hanley Wood Business Media’s flagship magazine, Builder, was relaunched March 7. It is the first Hanley Wood b-to-b site to be built on the company’s new content management system, and its overall structure and design will be the model for the relaunches of the remaining 29 Web sites in the portfolio.

The company plans to redo about a dozen sites by the end of this year, said Alec Dann, general manager-business media online.

All of the sites will use the CMS platform from SDL Tridion. “The new content management system will change the game for our portfolio of sites and be the catalyst for aggressive audience growth,” said Andreas Schmidt, Hanley Wood’s e-Media executive director, in a release.

One of the main ways the system will build the audience is with technology that automatically makes content easier for search engines to find. For example, it generates URLs that include keywords in plain language, such as “builder-confidence-shows-slight-signs-of-stabilization” rather than 48 characters with question marks, numerals and no apparent meaning.

Another goal of the redesign of all the sites is to provide more advertising and sponsorship opportunities, Dann said. “We have limited inventory, and it’s hard to grow that. But we can get higher CPMs for what we have if we organize differently.” For example, the new navigational structure opens up more sections and product categories for sponsorship.

The CMS platform also empowers the editorial team to make a variety of changes to pages that previously would have required programming—and long waits for programmer attention. “The system is really easy to use,” Dann said. “My team had to build 150 Web pages before we relaunched Builder Online, and we were able to do it in two weeks with three people. That’s fast.”

Dann said more new elements are still to come on BuilderOnline.com, such as Most Popular stories and a feature that will enable editors to click on a story and see how many times it was viewed. “Since we bought the complete package from Tridion, we want to make sure we use all the features. If we don’t do that now, before we move on, I’m afraid we never will,” he said.

The redesigned BuilderOnline.com is not only physically wider than its predecessor at 1,024 pixels, it provides even more usable space because the left-hand navigation column was removed. The eight tabs across the top of each page have drop-down menus that organize the content more efficiently than previously yet take up less space, Dann pointed out.

The extra width enables the site’s editors to use larger photographs and type sizes, while it also provides a wider advertising well on the right side of each page for display ads and

“One of our goals was to provide larger photographs because the commercial building and architecture markets Hanley Wood serves are very visual by nature,” Dann said.

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