Although The New York Times and Thomas Publishing’s Managing Automation probably don’t often have a lot in common, both launched redesigned Web sites this year—in April and August, respectively—and both are using state-of-the-Web elements for the same reason: to entice users to dig deeper and stay longer.
Heather Mikisch, publisher of Managing Automation and ManagingAutomation.com, said two of the primary goals of the redesign were to “exponentially” grow traffic and “improve reader engagement.” In round numbers, those goals translate into boosting traffic from 60,000 to 80,000 unique visitors a month, depending on time of year, to 150,000, and increasing the time an average visitor stays on the site from 5.5 minutes to seven to 15 minutes. Improvements in those metrics, she said, “will lead to more conversions.”
Like NYTimes.com, the relaunched ManagingAutomation.com features the 1024-pixel resolution that fills out today’s typically wider screens, and both sites provide personalization through MyTimes and MyMA, respectively.
Although ManagingAutomation.com has been providing daily news for almost two years, the news is not the main feature of the redesign. “Our key objectives were to update the look and feel of the site, improve the user experience and organize knowledge centers by topic so that users can more efficiently access the information they need to make purchasing decisions,” Mikisch said.
With the redesign, a product comparison and matching tool is now highlighted on the home page. While Managing Automation has had a directory-type database for some time, “it is now more seachable, more organized and more robust,” said Editor in Chief David Brousell. The product comparison tool enables registered users to filter the database by industry, software platforms supported, databases supported and size of the target company. It also allows side-by-side comparisons of different products identified by these custom searches, which can be saved in “My MA” along with other content that supports decision-making, such as white papers, case studies, articles and Web seminars.
On the advertiser side, the new reader features will lead to more in-depth reports. “While we ensure the privacy of our users, we are able to tell advertisers what people are doing with their brands,” Mikisch said. “For example, we can tell them how many times their company listing was viewed, saved or pulled up for a comparison—and to which other companies it was compared. The need for leads is certainly great, but these types of reports can give them a lot more information on their advertising ROI.”
The site can also accommodate more rich media advertising, she said.