Morning Herald tackles media online", by Greg
Sydney Morning Herald, Australias most respected
newspaper, boasts a most impressive website.
in 1995, due to demand from Fairfax readers, the website
is still the number one ranked news site in Australia,
according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics,
and Hitwise Australia, attracting over 2 million viewers
and delivering over 30 million pages of news and information
from being the only news related website in Australia,
what sets it apart is the quality, scope and freshness
of the information, according to the Sydney Morning
Heralds Online News Editor, Richard Woolveridge.
The appeal and popularity of our website is
obvious, Richard says.
to the online staffers at the Sydney Morning Herald,
the website attracts an audience consisting of 70%
in the 25 to 45 year old bracket, with males making
up 80% of all visitors.
website noticed a steep increase in popularity since
the September 11 tragedy, with people hungry for information,
and wanting an Australasian perspective on the attack.
Dodd, f2s Content Director, (Commercial), says
the website attracts a vast array of visitors.
It adds layers beyond what you see in the paper
for example, interactive news polls; and multimedia
resources. Events as varied as natural disasters and
terrorist attacks to nude surfing at Bondi, whale
sightings in the harbour, and the approaching Oscars,
make a very measurable impact on traffic.
choices are paramount in the online experience, and
SMH has picked up on this. Moya Dodd explains, sections
such as Travel are strongly linked to purchasing decisions.
Thats why weve integrated opportunities
to get more information and follow through online
for example, booking a flight or hiring a car.
hard to argue with the user friendliness, also known
as usability of the website. The quality and range
of information is second to none, and the site complements
Fairfaxs flagship newspaper, The Sydney Morning
front-page contains segments such as Breaking News,
National, World, Opinion, Business, Technology, Sport,
Entertainment and Multimedia.
users who like to be more selective in their news
can subscribe to both the free and premium news feeds,
including the f2 Network Members area,
where personalised information and updates can be
selected and fine-tuned to cater for even the most
eccentric tastes. The news archives span back over
a decade, which allows for otherwise near-extinct
articles to be purchased for as little as $1.65.
classifieds section also ranks amongst the most popular
portions of the site, with sub-sites for Motoring
(Drive.com.au), Real Estate (Domain.com.au) and Employment
(MyCareer.com.au). As one may imagine, these are particularly
hard-hit (in internet speak), on the weekends. It
is even possible to place advertisements on the website,
without having to speak to anyone or waiting on hold;
as long as you are prepared to reveal your credit
card details to Mr. Fairfax and friends.
news media enthusiasts, the site contains a fully
functional News Store where items such
as detailed articles, photos, CD-ROMs and print editions
of the Sydney Morning Herald and other Fairfax newspapers
and magazines, can be easily purchased in a secure
environment using the f2 Wallet feature.
many websites, there are few annoying pop-up advertisements
to be found. Preferred advertising is carefully and
strategically matched up to complement its surrounding
content, to add value to the website, rather than
to detract from it for example, downloading
IT Whitepapers from the Technology section.
Dodd says, its about adding to the online
user experience, and we consistently achieve this.
Sydney Morning Herald has certainly raised the bar
as far as news media websites go if only the
rest of the web developers could learn from this.
Now that would be newsworthy.
Source: Red Sheriff, November 2001
Readership: 1,502,772 unique visitors per month
rate: 5% per month
Pages Read: 30,321,034 pages per month
visits: 5,506,835 visits per month
time spent on the site: 9:10 minutes
# of times each user visits: 3.66 visits/month/user
19.79% of total Internet population
#1 news website in Australia
/ Sydney Morning Herald: Richard Woolveridge,
Online News Editor and Moya Dodd, Content Director
(telephone interview 25th February 2003)
online information *
online information (visited on 24th, 25th and 26th
(visited on 24th, 25th and 26th February 2003)
Bureau of Statistics John Struak, General
Manager (interviewed on 25th February 2003)
days and searches performed