Sometimes I wonder what some of the people in my own company are thinking. I’m not talking about huge corporate decisions, I’m talking about a tiny little decision that impacts the usefulness of one website.
Not to long ago, the News & Observer’s web team redesigned the newsobserver.com site. The response was good from most people. The problem is that no matter how nice a redesign is, if you don’t enable your site to help people find news, it will ultimately fail.
Saturday was Raleigh’s 65th Annual Christmas Parade put on by the Greater Raleigh Merchants Association. My family wanted to attend, but I wasn’t sure of the start time, so I Googled it.
I was glad to see that I could find the information pretty easily, but then I wondered where the News & Observer’s story was? Surely they had at least a snippet about an annual event that is attended by thousands of people.
I searched Google News but still found nothing.
Finally I decided to act like a normal web user and not use my employee super powers.
It took a little while but I finally found the story they had published because of a map that showed up in the news results during an additional search.
The image showed the route the parade would take down Hillsborough Street, turning at the Capitol and then proceeding down Fayetteville Street.
There is a big fat title on the image that says “Raleigh 2009 Christmas Parade”. There is also an explanation on the graphic again saying “It’s time for the Raleigh Christmas Parade.”
The funny part is that the graphic has all of the information I was looking for.
So why couldn’t I find the story when I searched for it?
It’s a classic case of someone thinking with their print brain instead of their web brain.
The McClatchy CMS allows you to have different headlines, one for print, one for the web, and even a couple others. In this case, only one was used, and it was about as bad a headline as I could have thought up for people looking for information about the Raleigh Christmas Parade –Yule procession at 9:30 a.m. in Raleigh.
Really News & Observer? Yule Procession?
So then I decided to dig a little bit to see what type of numbers there was for choosing “Yule Procession” over “Christmas Parade”
So it appears that no one is actually search for the phrase “Yule Procession”, but the phrase “Christmas Parade” is rising over the last few days in the Raleigh-Durham area.
I can’t say what the actual dollar amount we lost with such a silly headline, but the since our advertising model is based mostly on page impressions, this was a missed opportunity.