Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Driving traffic in Des Moines

Randy Brubaker, the ME at The Des Moines Register, told me in April about some of the big draws on their Web site They're doing a lot of innovative things there in a newsroom basically comparable to ours. (They've got about 200; the paper has changed some jobs, reassigned and not filled some positions in order to create new online jobs.) I'd especially recommend Juice, their site for 25- to 34-year-olds.
  • The data page draws a lot of visitors, especially the state salary database. But Brubaker expects the vital stats database will overtake it in the next year.
  • Photo galleries drive big traffic, as long as they're linked from the home page.
  • Reader-submitted photos, submitted using TextAmerica, are starting to generate some steady interest, as are the community (hyperlocal) pages.
  • The site offers a lot of "interactivity," including quizzes, giveaways and games. The spelling quiz and age game at the top right on this page are examples of the interactive graphics produced by the graphics staff.
  • Their fueling Iowa's future page features interactive content such as Google maps to locate biodiesel centers. Obviously, this is a major issue for them, and I think this page shows the value of grouping and archiving related content. Check out all the videos and graphics.
  • Finally, on the heels of, Des Moines has launched a moms special-interest site. This is a good example of the kind of online community the paper and its site can help create. Once this takes off, Brubaker expects the paper will use some of this new functionality in sports and elsewhere on the site.

1 comment:

Andria said...

About "moms" sites:
I lurk at a college-interest site, and one poster there was bemoaning the lack of discussion about k-12 schools there. I think she just chose the wrong audience.
It seems clear to me that online "communities" need to be "narrow-sliced," or whatever the term is, and the destinations for moms and young people do that.
I do think a moms site is cool, and Charlotte already has a really active one, I believe password-protected.
While some of the same blog posters visit Mary Newsom and Doug Smith, they know when they go to a "place" at that the focus is going to be a certain thing.