Making magazine content more social (and more valuable)

Huck is a global lifestyle magazine covering alt culture, from skating to surfing, activism and art. Their existing website had won awards and acclaim but wasn’t working as well as they needed it to. Despite having an audience of digital natives, active on social networks, their content was not being shared as much as they hoped. It was also difficult for Huck to monetise their audience, even though brands were keen to target it, because the existing site offered limited opportunities for advertisers.

We were approached to help create a new website that not only looked cool enough for an audience of surfers and skaters, but also worked hard enough to meet their commercial ambitions.

 

The Brief —

The brief had some very clear aims:

  1. Make Huck’s content easier to promote and more sharable on social networks.
  2. Generate more visits and more pageviews to allow the site to generate additional revenue from advertising.
  3. Cross promote content efficiently to keep readers on the site and engaged with the content.

All of this had to be achieved without compromising on the strong ‘radical culture’ aesthetic and tone.

 

User ExperienceSearch Engine OptimisationWeb Design & Build

 

 

Users spending more than three minutes on the site —

 

The Strategy —

Working with the designers at Studio 20a, our UX and SEO specialists made sure that the site design and navigation was easy for search engines and users to understand – particularly important in a site with many thousands of pages.

The individual article pages were structured to present opportunities for users to discover more interesting content on Huck’s site, both curated and algorithmically selected. Social links and prompts were included at all the points on the page where an engaged reader might want to share the content, whether an article, gallery, video or image.

The designers helped make sure that the advertising was prominent without being intrusive and our web development team made sure it was responsive for users with smart phones and tablets, offering an immersive experience on all devices. By analysing exactly which screen resolutions visitors used, we were able to ensure that the designs were focused on targeting the devices real visitors were using.

In February 2014, Huck’s new website went live. Large images, standout headlines and intriguing descriptions encourage users to delve into articles about culture, music, travel and more. Huck’s design is visual, appealing to their largely young, hip and arty readership. The site is easy to navigate, encouraging people to spend more time looking through pages.

 

 

The Results – Supercharged Social; Increased Inventory —

 

195% more page views

 

How we gained these results —

140% more repeat visits
 
303% increase in social referrals
37% increase in organic search engine traffic
 
123% increase in people spending over 3 minutes on the site

 

Huck’s new and improved site received 195% more page views compared to the old website, nearly three times as many. With more advertisement slots on each page, this means Huck can monetise their audience much more effectively. This increased traffic has also led to an increase in loyalty, with 140% more returning visitors. There was a 123% increase in people spending longer than 3 minutes on huckmagazine.com, which means users are spending more time browsing and enjoying the new design.

The emphasis on social media paid off. Huck gained an incredible 303% increase in tracked social referrals, mainly down to people sharing articles through social networking sites and reflects a higher baseline of social traffic as well as increased potential for content to go viral.These impressive statistics demonstrate the importance of considering your business goals and how you can push your users to interact with your content in the best way possible when you design a new site.