Long Island Weekly (LIW) is an arts and entertainment publication based in Nassau County, NY. The flagship product of Anton Media Group’s portfolio of 16 community newspapers, numerous special-interest inserts, and several annual glossy magazines, LIW highlights what’s current in music, television, film, theater, books, dining, recreation, and sports on a local, New York Metro, and national level.
Interviews, Q&As, reviews, news stories, and all content from the print publication are posted on a daily basis on longislandweekly.com. J. Louis Technology built the WordPress-based website in 2015, replacing an ineffective, primitive precursor, and was tasked with redesigning the site in late-2019/early 2020.
The intent of the redesign was to increase traffic, and therefore revenue for the customer through advertisements and other means. Ready to take on the challenge, J. Louis Technology adapted a previously imagined design to suit the needs of LIW. Leaning into a modern aesthetic reliant on dynamic imagery and effective use of white space, the new design is eye-catching for readers and encourages them to stay on the site as they discover new content.
In addition, J. Louis Technology has implemented an ordering system for framed copies of print articles, a merch store filled with Long Island-themed clothing and accessories, and a forthcoming complementary classifieds site on which sellers can post listings for a fee – all new revenue streams for the customer.
Elements of the redesign included:
- Replacing the outdated grid slider with the featured image of the latest cover story that fills the frame;
- Adding a strip for the headlines of other top stories of the week;
- Streamlining the main menu to display the essential categories, allowing readers to find desired content easily;
- Modifying the main content of the homepage to display a randomized selection of recent featured articles, arts and entertainment articles, and the latest articles, with music, food, sports and lifestyle headlines in the footer;
- Narrowing the width of the sidebar and simplifying the content to display an Instagram feed, trending articles, ads, and popular special sections content.
J. Louis Technology added endless scrolling to the article pages, allowing a new article on a related subject to load automatically as the reader scrolls down. This, in addition to the randomized elements of the homepage, lead to readers discovering articles relevant to their interests that they likely would have overlooked with the previous design.
To improve speed and efficiency, photos are loaded at the appropriate size on demand, eliminating the need for multiple files of different sizes to be created. The search function returns intuitive results based on the readers activity to better serve articles more likely to be read by the viewer and keep them engaged with the content longer.
A “welcome mat” ad appears on every page, in addition to 3-5 leaderboard, cube, and half-page ads in high-value locations elsewhere. J. Louis Technology also implemented a new proprietary analytics program for the company to track progress and apply data to continued improvement efforts.
The mobile site reflects many of these changes and has become more aesthetically pleasing, as well as convenient for readers to use.
Traffic on longislandweekly.com is clearly trending in a positive direction since the redesign went live in early 2020. Comparing the date range January 1, 2020 – March 25, 2020, with data collected by Google Analytics for the same dates of the previous year, the site has improved in all metrics. Page views are up by 32.47% – an increase of 55,328 views.
More impressively, unique page views have gone up by 188.12%, or 111,821 new sets of eyes on the website. The average time spent on a page has also increased – by a dramatic 48.92%, which amounts to an additional 34 seconds on average. Furthermore, sessions have increased by 164.68%, reflecting improved audience engagement.
Looking at more recent data, you can see from the screenshot above where even over the previous 30 days all metrics are trending heavily in the right directions, gaining larger numbers of page views, reducing bounce rate and increasing dwell time on the site, all helping to contribute to increased readership and increased revenues.
Site speed has improved across the board. The average page load time is down by 27.63%; average redirection time is down by 71.06%; average domain lookup time has been reduced by 41.43%; average server connection time is down by 30.03%; and average server response time declined by 38.03%.
Organic traffic is also on the rise, thanks to newly adapted article schema helping the sites content be better indexed and ultimately found via search traffic.
Finally, LIW content is reaching further than it ever has before, with audiences worldwide enjoying the site demonstrably more than last year – most notably acquisition of readers from the UK, Canada, Italy, Australia, India, Germany, Netherlands, Philippines, and France have increased by 151.65%.
The techniques employed have resulted in a marked improvement overall. J. Louis Technology has created a dynamic, user-friendly site that brings LIW into the new decade and gives it the edge to contend with local competitors.