Blog design is in its biggest state of flux since blogging first came of age in the first half of the decade. Expected norms, such as chronological full posts on the front page are slowly being replaced by the rise of “magazine” style front pages.
When The Inquisitr launched in May, we launched with a theme that embraced the magazine style, and although we weren’t the first, variations on the magazine style front page have been adopted by more and more since. They work well, but most are focused on driving additional page views internally, and don’t seek to share that space with others. It makes complete sense from a site owner’s perspective, but it doesn’t always deliver the best experience for the reader.
We’ve always wanted to link out more, but our old style limited our options to posts and the sidebar. Great sites link out lots, and as Publishing 2.0 reported in September, sites that sends readers away with links have the highest engagement.
Introducing a new look for The Inquisitr
Along with a range of aesthetic changes, the new look throws out the expected norms from magazine style front pages, and creates something unique. Alongside our own content, our front page now includes a strong range of external links that delivers a richer reading experience. The front page of The Inquisitr is now a portal indexing popular stories from the web, the latest celebrity headlines, and hot memes from FriendFeed, alongside our own content.
Partnership with ReadBurner + ReadBurner Platform Launch
One of our problems in providing external links was freshness: sites that embrace external links usually have staff who are able to constantly updating links. We don’t have the luxury of a having 24 hour coverage of adding links, so we knew we needed to source links from another site. Enter ReadBurner.
From today, ReadBurner is an official data provider for The Inquisitr. Initially, this means ReadBurner will be supplying most of the links under the “best of the web” section on the front page. We are supplementing this data with manual links, and automatic inclusion of links from a select number of sites, but the majority of the links are coming from ReadBurner.
ReadBurner is announcing the private beta launch of the ReadBurner Platform, a set of APIs that allows developers and publishers to utilize ReadBurner sharing data in their applications, with The Inquisitr as the first pilot partner. Using the ReadBurner Platform, developers can tap into a database that features the most shared content across the Web in thousands of different categories from thousands of different sources.
We’ll be working closely with ReadBurner in the coming months on how we can utilize their data more to further enrich the external links we provide, and different ways we may be able to value add using that data.
A full copy of the media release for the ReadBurner deal below or more details on the ReadBurner blog here.
We hope you like the new look. We’ve spent months listening to feedback from readers on what they didn’t like and liked about the old design. We’ve done some basic appeal testing in terms of color mix, and we’re confident that the new look is cleaner and is certainly a lot less gray. There will be some bugs on the site (for example I know one part of the front page is broken in IE 6) but we’ll work through those, and we’ll probably tweak some other aspects as well in the coming days and weeks to get it 100% right. Ultimately we want this site to be a great place for you, our readers to visit, and we believe that by linking out more, we not only share some link love, but improve your experience. Embracing this change defines The Inquisitr as unique in the sea of blogs, and supports our motto: “the better mix.”