In the second blog post since my return from a month of vacation, I continue to catch up with topics of interest that happened during July. Today: GQ’s strategy for reversing declining homepage traffic: Make pages load faster, change the article page design to push people toward the homepage, and increase its publishing volume. Who says the homepage is dead?
From time to time we hear the argument that sounds logical and has proved true for many news organizations: the homepage is dead. Not many come there anymore, as they start their journey into our publications via social media.
But for the men's glossy magazine, Gentleman's Quarterly (GQ) apparently this does not seem to be the trend. In fact, at GQ, it is all about a new homepage, with traffic up 20 percent in the past six months.
“There’s for years been so much conversation about how every page is a homepage,” said Howard Mittman, publisher and chief revenue officer at the men’s glossy. “But in premium environments for luxury advertising, premium positioning still matters. Maybe whereas five years ago, it was the premium space. Now it’s a part of that strategy, but it’s still an important part of that.”
Does this mean that the home page is having a resurgance here? Not so quick. Direct traffic to the homepage is still dwarfed by search and social. Homepage traffic, despite the 20 percent boost, still makes up just one-fifth of overall traffic. Overall site traffic is still growing faster — average traffic for the first half of the year, at 7 million, was 82 percent higher than the year-ago period, per comScore. But homepage traffic, while it’s not growing as fast as GQ’s overall traffic, is heading up after being flat the year before and down the year before that.
What I do see, however, is that the design of the new GQ homepage uses the imagery of “cards” that may stand alone when seen on mobile devices. We have discussed the card system here as a way to attract users who come in via social media. The card system also allows for the brand to be more prominently presented, thus keeping it present and in front of the user.
New gadget tells you the name of the font and the size of the type! Can't wait to get my hands on one of these.