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Updates and an announcement from LWN

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 7:09 UTC (Thu) by Cato (subscriber, #7643)
Parent article: Updates and an announcement from LWN

On promoting the site - some of the standard things such as Facebook Like button, Google +1, 'Tweet this' etc would help a lot I think. Really just an evolution of the Post a Link feature, and could be hidden under a 'Share this article' so it's not too visually intrusive.

A design refresh of the site would be good, personally I quite like the minimal approach but it doesn't look very attractive - unless someone knows your site already, it looks like a hobby site.

For the "landing page" for new visitors (not subscribers), i.e. default home page, it would be sensible to have some testimonials or awards so that someone who knows nothing about LWN has some "social proof" that it's a great site. A quote from Linus or other luminaries perhaps?

Linux is far more popular now than a few years back, so it should be possible to get more subscribers with a bit more focus on promotion, without changing the tone of LWN.

Maybe you could appeal to the LWN community for free/discounted help from a professional web designer/developer? I'm sure there are some out who understand the LWN ethos and could help.


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Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 7:23 UTC (Thu) by Cato (subscriber, #7643) [Link]

(Replying to my own post, sorry)

One other more obvious thing is search engine optimisation (SEO) - have a look at your server logs for the sorts of queries people use to find you e.g. "Linux news". I just checked and LWN is very low on first page for https://www.google.com/search?q=linux+news

Then make sure your home page is optimised for the keywords you want to use (ask an SEO expert for how to choose them) - for example, "Welcome to LWN.net" is a truly terrible <TITLE> tag as it doesn't even mention Linux or news (assuming the "linux news" keyword is what you should optimise for, which is likely).

There is a lot you can do with "onsite SEO" that is subtle and won't annoy readers - you already have outstandingly good content so it's probably just writing a couple of pages that talk about LWN and what it provides, I would guess. On the "offsite SEO" i.e. links from other sites, it's important that only reputable link building is done, using your chosen "linux news" type keyword in the <a href> link text on the other site. Finding a good SEO expert through personal recommendation is important, or you could go to http://www.seobook.com/ or http://www.seomoz.org/resources and learn about SEO, if you prefer to do it yourself.

The community could help with link building of course - once you've decided on the right keywords and pages to point the links at, you can have a "link to us" page that encourages the community to put badges and links on their blogs etc, getting free links from people who like LWN - better than doing your own link building in fact.

Since you already have great content and community this would be much easier than a new site, but it needs to be done in the right way.

Any updated site design should as a minimum be based on SEO, so that the time/cost put into this gives you an SEO benefit.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 8:26 UTC (Thu) by niner (subscriber, #26151) [Link]

Clicking on your Google link I find lwn.net in third position of the first page. Not that low at all. Remember: Google does search results localization and personalization. It's not that simple anymore.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 9:47 UTC (Thu) by Tobu (subscriber, #24111) [Link]

It ranks 10th on this query (pws=0 disables personalisation, hl changes the query language and ui language, gl changes the region): [linux news].

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 11:29 UTC (Thu) by Cato (subscriber, #7643) [Link]

Good point about personalisation and it's good that this helps LWN in your case, but it would be good to know LWN's rank on first page for someone who occasionally visits Linux sites, rather than an LWN subscriber. Or even someone who never visits Linux sites (but maybe reads other open source stuff). Other search engines such as Bing, Yahoo and DuckDuckGo may not do so much personalisation, and the same principles apply.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 8:29 UTC (Thu) by fb (subscriber, #53265) [Link]

> On promoting the site - some of the standard things such as Facebook Like button, Google +1, 'Tweet this' etc would help a lot I think. Really just an evolution of the Post a Link feature, and could be hidden under a 'Share this article' so it's not too visually intrusive.

+1.

AFAICT this is the site promotion strategy with the best `cost & benefit` ratio, as it leverages the fact that there are so many respected technology folks who are LWN readers and who should have a fair a amount of potential LWN subscribers as followers on Google+/Tweeter/etc.

I know we already have "Post a Link", but increasing the convenience of posting links at Google+/Tweeter/etc should increase the number of actual posts.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 9:42 UTC (Thu) by micka (subscriber, #38720) [Link]

And that would be a good promotion of plugins like FacebookBlocker, too. Are there things like that for google+ and twitter ?

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 10:13 UTC (Thu) by fb (subscriber, #53265) [Link]

> And that would be a good promotion of plugins like FacebookBlocker, too. Are there things like that for google+ and twitter ?

I am well aware of the concern with privacy that LWN readers share ;-) as well as the sensitivity to anything created in the internet less than 20 years ago that many here seem to also have. `The internet was fine as it was in 1992, IMNSHO, why couldn't it just stay like it was` :-P

I had assumed that all 'social / share' links would only be part of page that "Post a Link" takes you to, or that there would be a toggle for it in the account settings. Something along these lines.


Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 11:20 UTC (Thu) by kay (subscriber, #1362) [Link]

+1 to social link on a seperate page.

+2 to additionally use a two klick method like on heise, see here (german)

http://www.heise.de/ct/artikel/2-Klicks-fuer-mehr-Datensc...
http://www.heise.de/extras/socialshareprivacy/

Kay

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 15:44 UTC (Thu) by jond (subscriber, #37669) [Link]

disconnect.me is a plugin for google chrome (and chromium) that works for digg, facebook, google, twitter and yahoo. I quite like it.

Having said that, I believe it's possible for a website to construct 'like'-style buttons which do not damage your visitor's privacy: it's just that the default ones supplied by the socials do.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 13, 2012 15:56 UTC (Fri) by valhalla (subscriber, #56634) [Link]

A few months ago I read about sharenice in comment here on LWN and it seems to do what is needed here: self-hosted sharing widget that preserves the users' privacy.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 11:56 UTC (Thu) by davecb (subscriber, #1574) [Link]

I've occasionally posted links to google+, and will resolve to do more. --dave

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 9:53 UTC (Thu) by Tobu (subscriber, #24111) [Link]

I don't really want Facebook's iframe supercookie tracking or what have you, though. If it's hidden behind a link or some explicit activation, fine, but I imagine Facebook cares more about the tracking than the sharing functionality.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 10:30 UTC (Thu) by aggelos (subscriber, #41752) [Link]

"On promoting the site - some of the standard things such as Facebook Like button, Google +1, 'Tweet this' etc would help a lot I think. Really just an evolution of the Post a Link feature, and could be hidden under a 'Share this article' so it's not too visually intrusive."

Oh, right. The blink tag of the 2010s, except, you know, *actually* harmful. Social issues aside, personally I wouldn't feel welcome on lwn.net any more if that came about. Probably wouldn't go so far as unsubscribe, though. So, given that there is a real (however small one might consider it) cost to carrying such buttons, is there any evidence that they actually help a technical site appear more appealing? Honest question.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 11:32 UTC (Thu) by Cato (subscriber, #7643) [Link]

I saw a comment that one site got 25% of its traffic from social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc (I think it was Techcrunch but couldn't swear to it). So they do make quite a big difference in some cases.

If it's done carefully via a one or two click model, perhaps via separate page so that visitors/subscribers who hate this sort of thing are not tracked, it would let those who do use social media share LWN links more easily.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 16:01 UTC (Thu) by fatrat (subscriber, #1518) [Link]

But the whole "only see it for free after a week" model breaks the +1/Like.

If I like this article today, my friends can't read it.

I'm not a fan.

But please, yes to a mobile site. I often read content on my phone or a table, and the current design doesn't work well there.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 6, 2012 9:51 UTC (Fri) by bosyber (guest, #84963) [Link]

Given there's the "Send a free link" for articles that are not yet freely visible, I don't think that's really true. Using that link in a tweet works pretty well.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 16:15 UTC (Thu) by aggelos (subscriber, #41752) [Link]

I saw a comment that one site got 25% of its traffic from social media such as Facebook, Twitter, etc (I think it was Techcrunch but couldn't swear to it). So they do make quite a big difference in some cases.
Um, that does not imply that people wouldn't spread links around w/o the "social" buttons. It might make it easier for some, but clearly the 25% would be more like an upper bound.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 14:00 UTC (Thu) by corbet (editor, #1) [Link]

A design refresh is overdue and in the plans, if not quite in the works yet. I very much want to keep the text-oriented focus, but better looks, small-screen support and navigation can only be a good thing.

I am a long way from being ready to accept things like "like" buttons, though.

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 5, 2012 16:56 UTC (Thu) by nix (subscriber, #2304) [Link]

What about 'hate' buttons, to automatically repost to the hates-software mailing list? :P

Updates and an announcement from LWN

Posted Jul 6, 2012 2:16 UTC (Fri) by garrison (subscriber, #39220) [Link]

I suggest considering 99designs for such a redesign, with any requirements noted in the project spec (e.g. the focus should be on the text, fixed-width is bad, responsive css == good, etc). I have no experience with web design competitions there, but we at wikiotics had a logo design contest there and are extremely satisfied with the result.

Post articles to Facebook and Google+

Posted Jul 6, 2012 8:38 UTC (Fri) by buchanmilne (guest, #42315) [Link]

I used to have the time to browse the top articles on slashdot and lwn every morning, but these days that is a luxury. In order to try and keep, I often read the LWN articles posted to Twitter on my phone (still hanging on to my N900).

Other ways to use social media without impacting those who don't want the social media tracking all their reading would be to post the articles to Facebook and Google+ (AFAIK you should even be able to get Twitter to do it for you).

There is a generic page for lwn.net on facebook, and 50 people have liked it already.

A slightly more mobile-friendly layout would also be appreciated.

Post articles to Facebook and Google+

Posted Jul 17, 2012 15:45 UTC (Tue) by Baylink (guest, #755) [Link]

For some reason, that link is 404


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