Sail-World New Zealand- Website format changes - end of an era in NZ
by Richard Gladwell, Sail-World.com/nz on 17 Mar 2014
On Saturday March, 15 Sail-World NZ marked the end of an era for Sail-World New Zealand, with the switch to a new website and newsletter format.
Although this great shot was taken in 2006, the 2005/06 Volvo Ocean Race was the first major event covered in Sail-World New Zealand. ABN Amro One skippered by Mike Sanderson flies past the Lizard, winning six of the nine trans-oceanic legs in the 2005/06 Volvo Ocean race Volvo Ocean Race/Oskar Kihlborg
The change is just the front end of a series of changes and expansions that have been underway since early 2013.
That process is still ongoing - but without the technical disruptions that we faced in the early days.
The reasons for the changes are essentially to allow Sail-World to cope with the expansion of the site. When I started in 2005, Sail-World was just five sites – Cruising, Australia, Asia, UK and NZ. With the next flight of sites to be launched in Europe, we will be up to 25 sites in total world-wide.
Four of the five editors who were with us in 2005 are still onboard.
Sail-World is growing at a rate of about 30% per year, and currently over 300,000 unique visitors come to the network each month (increasing to over 600,000 during the America's Cup and Olympics). Total visits during these events total over one million sailing fans. Since February 2012, Alexa, the independent international rating agency has rated Sail-World as the most popular sailing news website in the world. In New Zealand, Alexa ranks Sail-World is the highest ranking single sports website, and has held that position for a number of years
Each of Sail-Worlds 25 sites is unique, meaning that effecting a global change is not easy, and with the shift to the new format and other changes that have been made and are planned, we are looking to make changes more easily, improve speed, and enhance stability.
The most noticeable change is the placement of all advertising on the right hand side of the site, and the running of two sizes of advertisement. There is no change to the top and bottom site advertising.
The reason for changing the advertising is to allow Premium ads to be carried (the larger of the two sizes) these will be more expensive in terms of rate, and in print terms are the online equivalent of full page glossy ads. The size of the space enables advertising agencies to be creative within the bigger space, rather than the constraints of the two smaller sizes.
In future the intention is to allow advertisers to be able to dynamically change their advertising mix - to ether increase or reduce according to budget and campaigns, and regions in which they wish to have a long term or short term presence (eg launch a new office in USA - long term; or are going to be at a particular boatshow - short term).
The ability to run multiple rotating advertisements in the one spot will be encouraged. This enables and advertiser to run a different product or aspect of their business - with the ads being rotated automatically each 24 hour period.
For readers the format should be easier to read. A second format especially for mobile devices will be introduced, making Sail-World even easier to read on mobile, which now accounts for about 40% of Sail-World's traffic.
We do expect to have transition issues, as nothing is ever quite as simple as it should be. And it is a rare day in IT when everything goes as planned, and all issues are foreseen - and dealt with ahead of time.
Please bear with us and thank you to everyone for all your support.
Sail-World.com NZ Editor
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