Lessons from New Day's Web Experience
1. Building the New Day website (www.newday.com)
May 1996, New Day launched a dynamic, database driven site that included:
2. Maintaining the New Day website
- online catalog w/ pages for each New Day film (over 100 films)
- supplementary study resource links to related sites on the Web for every film
- more than a dozen film study guides
- some film reviews
- biographical profiles of New Day filmmakers
- online ordering information and order form
- supplemental information about New Day Films
- recruitment info., how to join New Day
- threaded discussion posting areas
Look at your site as a long-term information resource: maintaining it is an on-going, recursive process. All film and filmmaker pages on the New Day site are generated dynamically out of a database. This part of the New Day site can be administered and updated directly over the Web.
Despite building the site on a database and expecting a certain amount of on-going maintenance, we were surprised by the scope and scale of required changes and updates. In the first year of using the site and learning about creating an effective Web presence (i.e. a site that attracts visitors and leads to increased film sales) we found we wanted/needed to make the following changes for the following reasons:
3. Promoting the New Day website
- interface changes to enhance clarity, site usability added one line descriptions to title indices, put prices on film pages. We still need to improve and clarify our ordering information
- had to update large number of Study Resource links many of our links to other Web resources led to pages that had moved or gone offline. We realized that due to the highly volatile nature of the Web, updating these links is would be an on-going task for one New Day member.
- removed threaded discussion board, replaced it with community area for reciprocal links. Discussion boards were not being used at all by New Day members. Their lack of use made the site seem quite dead. Since there was a need for a community area featuring reciprocal links to other sites (see promotion section below), we replaced the threaded-discussion area with "Community"
In the first year since launch there has been almost no collateral promotion of our website
Traffic Statistics (visitors to New Day site)
Sample New Day Traffic log:
BASED ON HITS (4/16 to 6/7/97) PAGE VIEWS navigation graphic 12,237 776 index.html 12,189 743
Averages out to: 37 visits per day, and 611 hits per day, which comes to about 16 1/2 hits per visitor, so that probably means most visitors were staying long enough to look at at least one film.
"hits" versus actual page views
To run statistics for your own webpage, see pwebstats - a Perl WWW Statistics Generator at: http://www.unimelb.edu.au/pwebstats/pwebstats.html
Sales Generated through the New Day website
New Day's 1997-98 Website Promotion Initiatives
- 2/1/97, we begun tracking web sales
- since that time there have only been 12 sales where we could clearly identify the order as initially coming through the website. Of these, about half were European and Canadian customers seeking Pat Ferrero's "Hearts and Hands".
- print ads
- get our site listed in search engines & other meta-sites
- get links to the New Day site from websites of appropriate communities of interest
- provide reciprocal links to these communities of interest from our site
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