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Case Study On The Huffington Post

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About The Huffington Post:

The Huffington Post (Huff Post or HuffPo) is an American online news aggregator and blog, that has both localized and international editions founded by Arianna Huffington, Kenneth Lerer, Andrew Breitbart, and Jonah Peretti. The site offers news, satire, blogs, and original content and covers politics, business, entertainment, environment, technology, popular media, lifestyle, culture, comedy, healthy living, women’s interests, and local news.

Launched in 2005 it was acquired by AOL in 2011 for US$315 million. In 2012, The Huffington Post was ranked #1 on the 15 Most Popular Political Sites list by eBizMBA Rank, which bases its list on each site’s Alexa Global Traffic Rank and U.S. Traffic Rank from both Compete and Quantcast.

Currently headquartered in New York, the Huffpost has over 850 employees and covers content in over 10 languages.

HuffPost’s Business Objectives:

The Huffington Post was launched as an overtly liberal/left commentary outlet and alternative to news aggregators such as the Drudge Report. HuffPost wants to serve their readers relevant and timely “Big News” and encourage engagement with comments and social posts. To become a successful news blog, Huffpost realized that they need to get the relevant and targeted local content to readers, and encourage them to contribute themselves. It also means using the whole PC to stay in front of readers—not simply relying on a browser URL, search, or mobile apps.

Strategy adopted by HuffPost:

Powerful Content: The website has enough going on so that readers do not become bored. Below traditional sections are featured articles and below featured articles is an update of the most recent articles. The blog has a front story, as most newspapers do, but offers readers the option of a quick read, containing a small excerpt from the story, a list of who has shared via Facebook, Twitter and email, and a list of similar articles. Underneath the head story are related real-time updates from Twitter.

Page Layout: Catchy headlines such as ‘I Refuse to Take No for An Answer’ and interesting pictures dominate the page. If readers do not know what to read, they can head over to ‘Most Popular on the HuffPost’ or ‘Featured Posts.’ The Post’s front page never ends, as there are easily one hundred headlines or blurbs on the same page. The three-column layout is a reflection of how involved readers are and how immediately they want their news.

Hyperlinks: Articles usually include hyperlinks from The Hindustan Times, The Indian Express, The Times etc. The story, therefore, never ends, as readers are redirected to more points of view on the same topic. This also links to older articles, supporting a never-ending reading of opinions.

Social Media: They use social media and SEO (search engine optimization) tools to spread and share content virally fast and global. Each editor has SEO tools to optimize the content and social media tools right at their desks so they can connect their content to social media channels via Facebook connect or Twitter. The blog also allows readers to easily share the content with their followers and friends

Bringing them back again and again: News changes by the minute. When big news hits, HuffPost wants to make sure that their readers are the first. Notifications are a great way to unobtrusively alert readers to breaking news without disruptive noise or unnecessary emails. Taking advantage of Internet Explorer 9 and Windows 7 developer tools, HuffPost created an immersive, app-like web experience with new Pinned Site features like Jump Lists, Notifications and Thumbnail Toolbar.

Results achieved by HuffPost:

The result was great for both readers and HuffPost’s business.

The Huffington Post is ranked the most powerful blog in the world by The Observer (British newspaper). It is the most successful and profitable blog valued at $21.82 Million followed by Mashable and Techcrunch. Its main income is mostly through pay per click and reaches to more than 26M unique visitors monthly. The site created a personalized experience by letting users pin the news content they want with one-click access

 In terms of engagement users that pinned the site:

  • Spent 49% more time on the site
  • Were 14% more likely to stay on site
  • Viewed 11% more pages
  • Increased user engagement through notification, pulling users back into their “Big News”
  • Moderates 3 million comments a month using 30 moderators

Learnings:

HuffPost is one of the most largest and powerful blogs in the world. It creates content cost effectively and provides a platform for over 2,000 bloggers both known and unknown and covers over 20 vertical areas from religion to technology. It developed a focus on powerful emotive niche’s that provided a large enough audience to attract traffic. The site was made extremely user-friendly as HuffPost wanted their web experience to feel more like an app.  Social engagement was also a priority. When readers are engaged, they visit more often, go deeper into the site and stay longer. Ease of implementation, standards, performance and sustainability are some of the engineering aspects of the site that makes it user-friendly.

Photo credits: Wikipedia

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