Gawker Network’s Redesign Is Killing Traffic to All But Two Sites

We placed our bets on Gawker as a possibility for the next blog network to be acquired, and founder Nick Denton placed his money on a new redesign that was supposed to take the 9 sites that make up the network beyond the blog by highlighting exclusives and driving more traffic to them. At least for now, Denton is losing his bet.

The downward path this chart takes corresponds with the rollout of the new Gawker design, which trades the reverse chronological layout typical of most blogs for a  single story layout with headlines in a smaller bar on the right.

Part of the reason may lie in the new URL structure which uses a hash bang (#!). In laymens terms, for some search engines and websites, it replaces an individual page for each post with a placeholder. Essentially, even though you see one individual story for each URL, search spiders and other websites may see it as one part of the same, giant page. Facebook is one of those sites, making it a bit more difficult for any particularly salacious stories to spread virally.

For a brief period of time, this made stories disappear from Google News, and while that issue has been rectified, it doesn’t look like traffic is rebounding.

That may point to frustrations from commenters, who have been vocal about their dislike for the new layout that makes individual commenters more difficult to follow, and generally makes it harder to follow conversations on individual stories. While every redesign normally finds a vocal group expressing their outrage (Facebook, Starbucks, anyone?), judging by the drop off in traffic this may be a redesign that needs to be rethought. On more than a few blogs, including Gawker itself, it seems that the network is trying to find a middle ground that features larger images and headlines for featured stories, but more of them than the much derided single story layout.

io9, the sci-fi blog in the Gawker network, introduced the new layout earlier than other sites, and the decline in traffic is stark. Fleshbot (Quantcast link, safe for work), the porn blog which did not adopt the new layout has had stable traffic levels for most of the month. Sports blog Deadspin hasn’t had any additional declines in traffic since introducing the new layout, and Lifehacker actually seems to have had a slight uptick.

As a whole, while there’s no way to know if the drop off in traffic is a result of a mass exodus of commenters or a mass drop in pages included in Google, something has to change again if Denton wants to hang on to pageviews and the $1000 he bet on them. {Business Insider}

Gizmodo Traffic

Deadspin Traffic

Kotaku Traffic

Jalopnik Traffic

io9 Traffic

Jezebel Traffic

Lifehacker Traffic


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