Asking head of internet af Information.dk, Nikolai Thyssen, to the secret of their success, increasing the number of weekly visits by 70 percent in a year, gives you a clear answer: there is no secret. No new initiatives have been launches, no new services, no redesign, no organisational changes. They’re just doing their job, and doing it good.
Or, that is, there actually is a secret. It’s 2,5 years old, but it’s apparently still working, driving traffic up. The secret – the motor working on in the background can be summarized in one term: openness. That’s the term best summarizing the major relaunch Nikolai Thyssen and his team pulled off in 2007.
First off, the archives was opened up, making all articles from the printed Information since 1997 available online. For free. And optimized for Google. (That is, nearly all the archive. From today’s or yesterdays edition you’ll only be able to find a third of the articles. The rest is barred, for-subscribers-only).
Secondly, Information.dk opened the possibility to comment on all articles on information.dk. At first you didn’t even have to register, but could post comments anonymously. This, however, was changed in order to avoid hate-speech and hi-jacking off discussions by no-names. And the result is today a fair and balanced discussion, according to Nicolaj Thyssen. Actually, he says, we find the tone-of-voice much more nuanced and calm at information.dk than we do on the editorial pages of the newspaper. The more direct relationship between journalist and users online seems somehow to make a difference: users finds themselves debatting a real person, not a newspaper-institution.
It doesn’t sound like a lot, but the effects are significant: Half of the 20.000 subscribers on the printed version of Information have registered online. 40 percent of all visits are generated from Google, and another 20 percent from other search-engines, blogs and what have you of external sources.
Add to this, that this weeks increase over the same week last year on 70 percent, follows a more than doubling of activity in the year before: from some 34.000 to 69.000 weekly visits. And that the increase in visits seems to be accompanied with an increase in the number of different users.
Wonder what software runs the open (now not-so-new-anymore) information.dk? The opensource newspaper CMS Drupal, naturally.
More graphs, facts, analysis, background and methodology available here:
General news-sites: cracking open variations and drivers of growth in an all-on-average category.
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I’ve previously dealt with the Google-optimization of information.dk in Information.dk bids google-searchers welcome using do-it-yourself behavioural targetting