Notice anything different today? I sure hope so, because we’ve just launched the new Search Engine Land website! This is Search Engine Land’s first redesign since March, 2011. Our sister site, Marketing Land, has also been relaunched.
While both sites obviously look different (more on that below), let me begin by talking about what hasn’t changed. You’ll continue to get the trusted, expert content that you’ve come to expect from us, ranging from breaking news to in-depth features, how-to articles, strategic advice, interviews with industry decision-makers and much more.
Our mission remains the same as it’s always been: to help digital marketers succeed. That was our guide as we worked through the relaunch process. We hope you’ll find the website(s) easier to read, easier to discover new content, easier to share our content with others and easier to connect with us via email and social media.
With that in mind, let me show you some of important changes we’ve made and how you can get the most out of every visit to Search Engine Land.
Like many online publishers, mobile and tablet traffic to Search Engine Land is rising. As I told our team in an internal email earlier this month, mobile traffic to Search Engine Land was up 108 percent in July 2014 compared to the same month a year ago. Desktop traffic still rules both our sites, but mobile is growing and we don’t expect that to change.
Both of our sites now have a responsive design that will look and work better across different screens, including both tablets and smartphones, as our content adjusts to the device you’re using. Here’s a look at the homepage on an iPad (left) and an iPhone.
We want our growing mobile audience to have an excellent experience when visiting Search Engine Land, and using a clean, responsive design makes that possible.
Meanwhile, our desktop visitors will have a totally new and very visual experience.
Home Page “Mosaic”
The most noticeable change is on our home page, where visitors will first see what we’re calling the “mosaic” — our current featured stories in a collage-style display. This’ll include both important news stories from our staff and excellent columns from our contributors, along with important SMX Conference alerts and more.
The mosaic will be current and timely, but it won’t necessarily just be our most recent articles; we’ll use that space to feature news and contributed articles that we don’t want anyone to miss, even if they’re a day or two old.
The full list of everything we publish shows up below the mosaic, so when you visit our home page, be sure to scroll down to see what we’ve published since your last visit.
Our main site menu presents the most important content areas our team covers, including SEO, SEM, Local and the rest that you see up at the top of this page. The menu has expanded to include featured articles and content for each channel. Putting your mouse over the “SEM” channel link will show a list of links deeper into that channel (i.e., Google AdWords, Bing Ads, etc.) as well as recent articles or related “evergreen” content that we think readers shouldn’t miss.
Under each channel on both sites, this featured content will change on a regular basis as we publish new articles and featured content.
The main site navigation on both sites also offers quick ways for you to connect with us. The “Subscribe” button prompts an easy sign-up for our daily SearchCap newsletter, which brings subscribers the most important search marketing news that we find across the web each day. Next to that, the “Follow Us” button makes it easy to connect with us on the top social networks, where you can get all of our latest news and join the social conversations with other readers.
The CMO Zone is our go-to resource for busy marketing executives, where we share articles, features and interviews that can help guide marketing strategies and direct budget decisions toward the most profitable online marketing channels.
The Retail channel launches at the perfect time to present our new “Holiday Retailer” feature, which features the latest news and articles to help e-commerce companies win with their Black Friday, Cyber Monday and overall holiday marketing efforts.
All of our channel pages feature sign-up forms offering a weekly email with all of the articles published in that channel over the past seven days. Those newsletters are a great way to make sure you don’t miss the content that matters most to you, and we have an easy sign-up page to help you get exactly the newsletters you want.
You’ll also find that our article pages look quite different and much better! For starters, the text is bigger and easier to read. Images are also larger, but the responsive design allows them to shrink to fit smaller screens.
Up in the header of both sites, to the right of the site logo, we have two more places where we’ll be featuring content. This might be where we let you know what story was the most-read last week, or which article had a lively discussion in the comments. Or we might feature news related to an upcoming event from our Search Marketing Expo conference series.
Speaking of SMX events, we’ll continue to feature those in the sidebar of our article pages. The sidebar is where you’ll also find relevant content (like white papers and upcoming webinars) from Digital Marketing Depot, our sister site offering a full digital marketing resource center. (You’ll see similar options in the sidebar of our channel pages, along with additional editorial content relevant to each channel.)
On the left side of our articles, you’ll see new social sharing options that include primary choices like Facebook and Twitter, along with a “more” button at the bottom with additional options. We’ll keep an eye on which choices are used most often and adjust the sharing options accordingly.
As you browse across the website, you’ll also notice that, in several places, we’re now listing the total amount of shares that each article has received — another quick way to see what content other readers are engaging with the most.
I could go on and on discussing what’s new, but this introduction is getting pretty long as it is. Know that as you use both sites, you’ll find additional changes and new features not mentioned above. Consider it the fun of discovery! And we’ll be testing some new ideas in the weeks and months ahead, too — with our goal always focused on providing the best content to help marketers succeed.
Search Engine Land uses WordPress as our content management system, but this is hardly your normal WordPress install. We don’t use an off-the-shelf theme; ours is completely customized to provide maximum functionality with as few third-party plugins as possible. The dev team has created a set of custom functions, classes, taxonomies and plugins to specifically meet the needs of our publishing process and the new design. All of this demands a lot more time during development, implementation and testing, but it gives our team the exact toolset it needs to succeed.
We began this process late last year with the selection of Athletics, a New York City-based creative agency, to help execute our vision for the new Search Engine Land and Marketing Land websites. I’d like to thank them for their talent, advice and keen eye through the design process.
A huge thanks also goes to Monica Wright, our Director of Audience Engagement, who served as team lead throughout the project. Monica guided us all from start to finish through what seemed like myriad options and decisions — no small task when working with a team of opinionated co-workers like us!
Equally huge thanks goes to Michelle Robbins, our VP of Technology, and her team for their expertise, hard work and patience as we discussed, implemented and tested the new site designs — and for the custom tools that we’ll be using every day as we hit the “publish” button.
Lastly, great thanks to our executive and editorial teams for their diligence and feedback throughout the process, and their dedication to near-daily publishing while many of us were head down in working on this project.
On behalf of the entire Third Door Media team, I hope you enjoy our new websites! We’ll be listening for your constructive feedback as you explore in the coming days and weeks.