Mid Hudson News has been serving daily news to to hundreds of thousands of monthly readers in upstate New York for over 20 years.
However, the site was sorely in need of an upgrade – the editors would manually upload new content to the site every day using DreamWeaver templates, and the site was not mobile responsive. The site was almost unusable on mobile, and all ads were limited to the desktop homepage – there were almost no ads on individual articles.
I stepped in and overhauled the website, implementing the following improvements:
- Onboarded the daily operations over to WordPress, saving the editors countless hours with the ease of creating new articles and ensuring that all future content would be properly stored in a database.
- Oversaw the migration of years of old content from static HTML files into the site’s SQL database.
- Completely redesigned the website to a user-friendly template that is optimized for mobile and Google AMP.
- Directed the redesign of the site’s logo.
- Integrated automated sharing of all articles to Facebook, Twitter, and the site’s email list, ensuring that the shared content looks great on all platforms (the previous version of the site could only show text without featured images).
- Set up push notifications on the site, allowing editors to broadcast breaking news alerts directly to user devices.
- Added an “advertise with us” page with clear pricing and banner ads throughout the site, which regularly generates further leads from potential clients.
Aside from the obvious improvement to both the reader’s user experience and the editor’s publishing process, there were several other important benefits to the redesign:
By updating the individual article layouts and the homepage design, many additional ad zones were created that simply didn’t exist before. This means the site can now serve twice as many ads as it could before. Indeed, the site’s revenue from Google Ads more than tripled since the design was implemented, increasing the site’s entire net profit by 25%.
In addition, the site’s analytics show a marked increase in social engagements. Whereas old posts had to be manually shared and did not show an image, the current posts get shared automatically and feature engaging imagery, growing by dozens of new subscribers every month. Social visits now account for a significant portion of the site’s total monthly visitor sources.