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Evolution of gazettextra.com continues

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Scott Angus
April 21, 2010

Gazettextra.com has evolved considerably in the last few years, and the evolution is far from over. In fact, it appears the pace is picking up.

That should surprise no one, given the breakneck pace at which the World Wide Web continues to change.

At gazettextra.com, we’re pleased with how things have gone, and we expect bigger and better things in the months ahead.

It was about a year ago when we changed our strategy for posting exclusive content on our site. We hold most of our stories until 4 p.m. or after, giving paying print readers a roughly 10-hour head start on our Web customers.

We did that mostly to promote sales of the print paper, and we’ve seen a slight circulation gain. Given the general state of the newspaper industry, that’s a big win.

We were concerned about how the change would affect traffic to gazettextra.com. Sure enough, it initially dropped about 10 percent – from 4 million page views a month to 3.6 million. Since then, though, we’ve seen traffic generally rebound, and we’re back up near the 4-million mark.

We think people have adjusted, and we also think additional content on the Web site has helped attract new customers. Our blogs, in particular, are better than ever in terms of numbers and content. By their nature, blogs appeal to niches, but we now have 15, including seven written by community members. We’re looking at adding a few more.

We’re also embarking on a new venture that will mean more local video on our site. We hope that means more traffic, and we hope that means more advertising - in this case, video advertising. I’ll devote an upcoming blog to our video project.

While some things change at gazettextra.com, at least one thing is constant: Comments on stories are popular and controversial.

Some people love the comments. Some people hate them. We love the traffic they bring to the site. We hate the hassles they create for us and the ill will they generate among some users and members of the public.

In an effort to find a middle ground, we’re working on new features that will allow people to rate comments and possibly control what comments they see. Our tech guru has some work to do, but we hope to introduce the changes in the next few months.

There’s never a dull moment when it comes to gazettextra.com. I guess we like it that way.



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