little helps

My response to the hastily convened sidebar poll (after people started whining about the front page redesign being an uninformative mess):

1. The tag cloud. I know they’re sooo 2007, but it kids people into thinking you care about the long tail.

2. A big picture of Matt in a sunny location, wearing a cowboy hat

Tags going from the front page is on the surface an odd decision considering how important tag pages are to ad revenue, so I’m wondering whether they got some kind of warning from Google about their SEO gaming? like ‘you can keep the obfuscated links in themes if you stop linking from the front page’? Or maybe they want to encourage internal users to use search instead of clicking on tags, so that the majority of tag traffic comes from outside the site and improves the ratio of clickthroughs per pages served? I’m just thinking aloud here. I know nothing about adsense optimisation or SEO, except that every design decision on a commercial site is ultimately motivated to maximising ad revenue, which is increasingly hard to come by nowadays. Also, of course, presenting yourself as the home of eleven VIP blogs and ignoring the messy penguin-ridden millions isn’t going to hurt when it comes to luring businesses away from Typepad.

In other news: how to promote your brand in a zillion tweets. Forget the guff about linkrot and fear of spam (if they actually cared about this, Automattic would have just bought tr.im or some other struggling minnow), this is all about being sad that link shorteners take your brand name out of your urls. (And squeezing an affiliate link to GoDaddy into your announcement post — every little helps…)

2 Comments »

  1. The reaction to the new, not improved work in progress / mess that is the new home page was less whining than genuine concern that wordpress was suddenly doing away with something people had come to expect as a permanent fixture. I’m sure the flap will die down sooner or later. As for those overbloated thumbnails to featured posts (glad they got rid of that non-word hawt) – I wish they’d bring back the split between the CNN blogs and the ones by the rest of us. Didn’t see penguins there that often, which is just as well.

    • Clearly they want to promote professionally-produced content and play down amateur blogs, since it’s the former which pays the bills. You can be sure that the unprofessionalism of the non-word ‘hawt’ is why it has now gone😉 VIP customers are paying for preferential treatment, and if labelling VIP blogs as such was costing them traffic (which I’d guess it was, based mainly on the fact that I’d be substantially less likely to click through to a corporate blog than a real one) then Automattic had no real choice but to get rid of the labels. Among other things, tags have gone to minimise the possibility of front-page visitors clicking on a non-VIP link. If they’re forced to bring them back, never mind, the VIPs will have had a few weeks of artifically-boosted clicks and I’m sure they’ll find some way of ensuring that all ‘featured posts’ on tag pages lead to VIP blogs…

      Also, I’d be surprised if they didn’t have some kind of algorithm to stop anything penguin-related appearing on the front page so they won’t have to pay COPPA violation fines😉

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