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Wisconsin launches new homepage

by David Dickinson, Online Manager at Wisconsin Public Television
2010 vs. 2011 vs. today
On November 9, wpt.org launched a new homepage. This was the culmination of months of collaborative work, and was a direct result of the online strategy WPT has been following for the past two years.

We're focused on prioritizing the audience experience. We want to position our site as a content destination rather than just schedule information. Enticing users to watch great local video alongside national programming is a major component of our approach.

Another key for us has been to ensure we're more consistent not only across the materials we produce, but more consistent with the PBS Explorer branding as well.

Identifying what was effective and what was not
Primary research told us our audience preferred a simpler website experience. We knew from our CrazyEgg data there were large sections of the site that few users clicked, and so in 2011 we simplified the page to reduce the redundant navigation and add the Explorer look. We reduced the number of clickable user options from approximately 155 to about 115.

Our most recent design cut the number of clicks down to 55, in addition to dramatically simplifying the site navigation. We've moved to a new content management system that makes page updates much less painful. We've significantly increased the prominence of our social media and blog content.

What have the results looked like? Since launch, we've cut our bounce rate for the homepage in half. Compared to the same period in 2011, the amount of time users spend on the site is up 112%. These are two of the eight numbers we track to measure our overall website strategy success, so we've been very happy to see the impact.

Woo hoo!
Creating a website strategy has given us the tools and permission to implement these types of changes in our site. Having a strategy in place for us has been every bit as important as having folks who create site content or code.