How to create leverage with your website
Publishers have an opportunity to more effectively leverage their content in order to better serve their audience. By continuously and seamlessly using knowledge about web visitors’ preferences and activities, publishers can create websites that are easy to use and offer a broader mix of products – some of which your audience might even believe are worth paying for.
A publisher that creates audience leverage with a context-aware website is likely to sell more content, subscriptions, products and services. There are other benefits as well:
- Better targeting of circulation efforts
- Increased transaction opportunities (more opportunities = more sales)
- Higher CPM-based advertising & sponsorship revenue
- Improved attendance at events & conferences
- More “clicks” with contextual content presentation
- Higher site and brand engagement
How do you generate increased leverage with your audience to drive more average revenue per reader (ARPU)? Here are five tactics:
Base your site design on usability, not beauty alone
The goal most publishers have for their websites is to create simple, intuitive navigation that also looks great. Follow best practices on user experience and user interface to engage your readers. You also want your content searchable by keywords that are most relevant to your readers – this is where SEO and context awareness come into play.
Site search should at the least return great content results weighted by relevance, frequency and date. It also pays to recognize the significance of returning search results across your entire platform. Alongside content or article results, consider including related events, conferences, books, whitepapers, videos and any other e-commerce opportunities – preferably categorized on the site search results page. This creates both accidental and active participation by users, generating more opportunities that can lead to more revenue.
Examine and engage
Study audience behavior using analytics (page views, time on site, goal pages accessed), buying behavior, e-newsletter subscriptions, trials, etc. Who are your hungry readers? What are they willing to spend money on? Business? Self-advancement? Education?
Use this information to create a transparent experience for the user. You want to enable them to search, read, shop and purchase seamlessly and simultaneously. Typically, the final action of an e-commerce user is checking out of their shopping cart; ideally, you want them to stick around and keep reading.
Build context-aware content
Your content, community and commerce should be integrated with an underlying taxonomy (metadata and semantic tagging) so that every aspect of your site revolves around the individual user. Choose topics that reflect how your readers think about their lives and their business. What are their priorities?
A good taxonomy and tagging system will enable you to present additional content or purchase opportunities relevant to what the user is viewing, which will increase stickiness – and is the most direct path to increasing revenue.
Test, test and re-test
Web publishing and, specifically, e-commerce offerings are always evolving. The way youpackage, deliver and charge for your content should reflect the dynamic nature of what you do. Don’t be afraid to experiment with different tiers of free, registered and paid content. Find ways to increase the viral nature of content with an “email to a friend” link, for example, and a number of “share” options across a broad array of social media.
Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose
Adopt the multichannel delivery mindset of your readers. With a unified content repository, you can create content once and re-use it in multiple delivery formats. In addition to publishing on the Web, you can also publish – and generate revenue from – newsletters, mobile, PDF replicas and other digital editions, wireless delivery, RSS feeds, webinars and deep archives.
This capacity also allows you to more effectively tap into social media and expand your market with a few simple clicks.
Thomas Chaffee is CEO of ePublishing, a leading SaaS CMS provider helping publishers and media companies make more money online.