With the redesign of its Web site's home page, BusinessWeek is emphasizing the business half of its name while hoping to create the impression that its online content is current to the minute—in contrast to its weekly print legacy.
To encourage more-frequent user visits, “the home page is more responsive to the most important business and financial stories that are breaking on any given day,” said John Byrne, editor in chief of BusinessWeek.com. While the news had been updated every couple of hours in the past, the center column of the redesigned home page now features a steady stream of breaking stories with time stamps to indicate the hour and minute each story was posted.
Also new is expanded coverage of global financial markets in near real time. The Market Summary now includes European and Asian markets, and a new stocks box lists the top five gainers, biggest losers and most active. Like other media sites, BusinessWeek.com's data are delayed due to the rules of the exchanges by 15 to 20 minutes.
The redesign, which debuted June 25, is the first phase of a step-by-step overhaul of the site that will continue to be rolled out over the rest of the year. This month, downloadable applications for the iPhone and BlackBerry will debut.
Other features of the new home page include simpler navigation, a box that automatically presents comments from BusinessWeek's Business Exchange social media site and a new video player.
At the midpoint of the home page, other site highlights are featured within a gray band, including user and blogger comments, executive interviews, slide shows and special reports.
The response to the revamp by b-to-b agencies has overall been positive.
“I don't see it as a dramatic difference,” said David Rowe, VP-media director at Doremus. “It's more of an evolutionary change, but it's a step in the right direction and, hopefully, it will help them increase traffic.” BusinessWeek.com currently attracts 10.2 million unique monthly visitors on average, according to Omniture.
Frannie Danzinger, senior VP-media at GyroHSR, said she liked the simpler, cleaner design of the home page and the real-time streaming news. She added that she doesn't think the emphasis on real-time news detracts from BusinessWeek's reputation for “tried-and-true depth of reporting and analysis.”
Jessica Sibley, worldwide publisher of BusinessWeek, noted that the site redesign is an indication of the brand's willingness to invest, “even in a tough advertising environment. We see positive momentum on the business side for digital, and we want to continue to capitalize on that.” She added that BusinessWeek.com is using a new underlying technology platform that allows greater flexibility for advertisers, including larger ad units.
Although BusinessWeek.com does not plan a paid-content strategy, paying print subscribers will get some unique benefits. “We're working on a separate landing and navigation page for subscribers,” Byrne said. M