AMC Coverage 2008: 4 Online Publishing Tips from CondeNet’s Editorial Director, Jamie Pallot

It’s not possible to overestimate the importance of focusing on the core of your brand

In a session titled Jumpstart your Website, 4 panelists gathered to share what’s working for them online. Here, 4 tips from CondeNet’s Jamie Pallot:

1. It’s not about bells and whistles

  • speak to your strengths (stick to the core of your brand)
  • choose your channel (pick one business model, don’t overstuff your site with too many options, this clarity also helps with SEO)
  • beware of shiny things (don’t jump on every bandwagon)

2. Listen to your readers

  • include a feedback loop on site
  • facilitate commenting/user input on content (build ecosystems around your content, ala Gawker.com and WashingtonPost.com)
  • conduct site satisfaction/usability testing (it’s very easy to trip up on “fantastically easy things”, such as having bigger buttons)

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3. Think like a developer

  • understand the beauty of beta
  • build it light/modular
  • make it platform-portable, go where the action is

4. Loosen up

  • be willing to stretch the brand (they recently redesigned glamour.com and they now syndicate content from other—albeit Conde Nast—magazine titles)
  • don’t be a page view prisoner
  • think beyond the site (get to the user in their space – it’s about them, where they want it)

While traffic on some of the CondeNet websites pale in comparison to the print circulation counts of corresponding magazines (560K monthly unique visitors for Style.com in comparison with Vogue’s 1.2M circulation and 356K monthly unique visitors for Concierge.com vs. 820K circulation for CondeNast Traveler magazine), they have certainly seen their share of success with Epicurious.com and Wired.com.

Pallot reminded attendees that the only way to make good content for the web is to create it with web in mind. He also noted the importance of continually looking at prioritized lists of things you want your developers to build – and vetting them against reader feedback to determine if the development is really worth it. For example, they thought it’d be useful to create functionality for epicurious.com that would allow users to create recipe lists. They ran the idea against their users and that was turned down in favor of more recipes. All the users wanted were more recipes.

Big take-away: you cannot overestimate the importance of focusing on the core of your brand. Advertisers are more interested in the shiny things, but it’s absolutely critical, especially during the times we’re in, to stay focused on your audience.

More coverage from AMC 2008:

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