AAN Experiments With Dual Home Pages

Public site launched as part of outreach to general-interest readers

This afternoon, the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies modified AltWeeklies.com in order to allow the site to display two slightly different versions of the home page for different audiences.

The new version of the home page on AAN’s story-sharing Web site was created to make the site easier for public users to navigate. It will feature fewer stories in the chronological section below the fold of the home page — anywhere from six to 18 per day, chosen by Editor Jon Whiten with the general user in mind. All stories posted to AltWeeklies.com — even those that aren’t featured on the public home page — will still be accessible from the respective section pages (e.g., “Opinion,” “Movies,” etc.) and via the sites’ search engine.

AAN members who use the site will see no difference if they are logged in. The changes will only affect users who are not registered and logged in to AltWeeklies.com.

AltWeeklies.com has grown tremendously since its inception in May 2004. Since Sept. 2005, the Web site has averaged over 285,000 unique visitors per month. The new public version of the site is part of an attempt to drive even more traffic to AltWeeklies.com and further promote the excellent work being done by AAN member papers. In addition to the dual sites, AAN has undertaken two new marketing campaigns.

On Feb. 7, AltWeeklies.com began running ads on prominent blogs, like Juan Cole’s Informed Comment, Hullabaloo, and This Modern World, and these ads have sent about 20,000 readers to the site in four weeks. The ads, which are changed daily, highlight a single story from AltWeeklies.com and link back to the site’s home page.

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