After years of operating a website which seemed to belong in the 1990s, the New York Post introduced a revamped, modern version today, and a set of new ad products to boot.
The old nypost.com -- cluttered, tied to its print product, and offering only basic advertising units -- made it difficult for the paper to compete in today's digital news environment. The new site -- clean, modern and with an emphaisis on mobile accesiblity -- should put the paper in position to deliver its news product more effectively, and perhaps increase its digital ad revenue along the way.
"Our digital product, that was out in the marketplace, there was enormous room to improve on it," said Jesse Angelo, the Post's publisher, CEO and acting editor said. "I thought there was a better product we could be offering our readers, and a better product we could be offering our advertisers."
Managing Editor Remy Stern led the redesign project for the Post.
On the advertising front, the new site debuts with some creative options. The Post is rolling out a content studio that will work together with brands to produce "native" content that fits the look and feel of the paper and can run across its digital, print, social channels. It will also supplement its standard banner ads with large, prominent display ads, one of which entirely displaces the site's top story before shrinking into a banner on the side of the page.
The content studio will be run by Brad Feldman, formerly of Time Inc., and will put a team of Post creatives, writers and an "army of freelancers" to work for brands to create ads that will be appealing to Post readers but also push the brand's message home. In one "dispatch," the term the Post will use for these native ads, HBO and the Post developed an article looking at both NFL players and Boardwalk Empire characters seeking revenge in their coming seasons. Darrelle Revis, the former New York Jets cornerback, was among those listed.
"For us at Post Studios, what we're saying to advertisers is, if you want to create content, come talk to us about it," said Mr. Angelo, noting that brands are putting a premium on producing sponsored content -- even creating their own newsrooms -- and that the Post wants in on the action.
Teasers for the Dispatches will be placed on the Post's homepage, with labels. They will also be included in the carousel of stories which the new site features prominently.
The new display ads, such as the one displacing the site's top story, were developed with an eye on banner blindness. "We looked at heat maps and how people engage with sites and tried to design a display product that's going to get noticed," said Mr. Angelo. "The advertiser's message sits directly over the heart of where the eye goes."
For news consumers, visiting the redesigned nypost.com should be an improvemed experience as well. The new site was build by Hard Candy Shell, the same agency that designed both Newsweek's and The New Republic's relatively new websites.
Many of the same design elements, such as an emphasis on high resolution photos, can be Post's new site as well, which also provides plenty of opportunities for reader engagement, including a meme generator that allows readers to create their own Post covers.
Mr. Angelo emphasized the need for the Post to move to a mobile friendly, responsively designed site. Mobile traffic, excluding tablets, makes up 30% of the Post's audience, a total number Mr. Angelo put at nearly 12 million total monthly uniques. In year, Mr. Angelo said, half of the paper's audience may be coming from mobile, which is why the Post followed the example of many others on the internet, making its site fit any screen on any device.
Despite being one of the country's most widely circulated newspapers, the Post has underperformed on the web. Currently, the paper's print circulation is the seventh-largest among U.S. daily newspapers, according to the Alliance for Audited Media. But, according to comScore, nypost.com saw only 6.9 million unique visitors in July, compared to the more than 15 million registered by its rival, the New York Daily News. The New York Times, by way of comparison, reached over 28 million unique visitors in May, according to comScore.