No real surprises in the top 3 — NY Times, Washington Post and USA Today — but I found some of the other choices interesting.
4. Houston Chronicle
"We like the non-newspaperish feeling that this homepage exudes. It’s significantly different from any other newspaper site. Chron.com offers its users interactive features such as comments and blogs, has a great RSS system made available right on the homepage, and looks good while doing it."
6. Knoxville (Tenn.) News Sentinel
"I’m not sure a newspaper website could look any better than this one. When we talk about de-cluttering sites and making them look “clean”, this is what we mean."
Some of the commonalities of the sites mentioned:
- An easy-to-navigate site that isn't too cluttered.
- Incorporation (and prominent display) of "Web 2.0" features that allow users to contribute content to the site — blogs, photos, comments, networking.
- Database applications — voter's guides, crime maps, congressional vote databases, etc.
- Strong presence of multimedia.
None of these elements are particularly eye-opening in and of themselves — they're all features we've been mentioning here for months, and most are features that non-newspaper sites have incorporated for years now — but they're good examples of the types of features sites are using to tell stories and invite reader participation in ways not possible with the printed product.
And they're ways to address some of the key challenges, listed in last month's Bivings Report study, facing newspaper Web sites:
- Lengthening the amount of time users spend on newspaper Web sites.
- Expanding the purpose behind newspaper Web site visits.
- Converting page views and stickiness into revenue.
- Improving advertiser incentives for purchasing online ads on newspaper Web sites.
Which newspaper sites would you list among your top 10?
h/t to Charles Apple for the link.