Over the past few months, we focused a lot of our Indie Publisher stories on creative ideas for audience engagement, from swag campaign tips to summer lull antidotes. But there are other elements at play when it comes to engaging your audience — namely, how you present your work to your readers. Having a strong, beautiful, high-performing and accessible website can make all the difference for audience loyalty.
Many Indiegraf team members introduced last week work behind the scenes on improving the design, user experience and accessibility of our partner publishers’ websites. As readers’ needs and preferences evolve, it’s important for us to make sure the outlets in the Indiegraf network have the best websites possible. With this in mind, we have long worked on a new Indie Tech template for our partners. Now it’s time to introduce it to the world!
Most Indiegraf partners now have upgraded websites, including The Objective, Shasta Scout, IndigiNews, The Discourse, The Resolve, The Land, The Wren and CV Reporter. We will continue to work on the pages of the rest of our partner publishers in the coming weeks; in the meantime, here are a couple of the newest Indie Tech features:
Reading progress indicator
Independent publishers work hard to deliver high-quality, impactful reporting to their audiences. To motivate readers to read through each story, we’re adding a progress indicator at the top of article posts. We expect this visual cue to lower our partners’ bounce rates and improve their audience’s reading experience. You can see this feature in action at this refreshing article by Tone Madison.
Building a community is especially relevant when it comes to local news. Looking to foster active communities that value dialogue, we are setting up optional comment sections where our partners’ supporters will be able to share their thoughts and concerns about what they’ve just read. Check out this reader’s thoughtful response near the bottom of the page to The Breach’s article on harmful corporate narratives.
Indie outlets are cheerleaders for their communities. To help our partner publishers establish a stronger connection with local readers, we’ve created an events page that allows them to publish information about upcoming concerts, exhibits or City Hall meetings. Outlets will be able to choose how to present the information, be it through a calendar like The Palm Springs Post or by individual events like The Independent.
We are well aware of independent journalism’s potential for impact, and we know how important it is for our partner publishers to ensure readers get the full context of what is happening in their communities. To provide readers more depth and context on the stories they read, we are introducing “recirculation” blocks that take them to similar stories and related content. As a plus, these boxes will help drive engagement and user loyalty. We’re in the process of rolling this out, but you can check out an example in this demo story.
Standalone landing pages
When it comes to email growth and reader revenue campaigns, it’s always a good idea to have standalone landing pages to direct people to. To maximize the results of our partner’s campaigns, we have created some truly beautiful landing pages for collecting email addresses and processing supporter donations. Check out The Kansas City Defender’s newsletter landing page and IndigiNews’ support page.
Images speak louder than words, an old adage that is increasingly true in these digital times. To make our partner publishers’ content even more memorable, we are introducing a new story template that showcases the feature image in full width. This feature is still in progress, so stay tuned!
These are only a few examples of the things our development team is working on. We are very excited about what these improvements will mean for our partner publishers, and will be working hard to roll them out to all our partners. If you clicked on any of our partner publishers’ websites above and wished your own website looked as neat, don’t hesitate to reach out! We’re always happy to hear from journalists-entrepreneurs like yourself.