What’s Next On The Web: 4 Questions For Dwell.com Associate Publisher Nancy Alonzo

dwell.pngNewspapers are dying, magazines are closing and more journalists are finding themselves without paying gigs every day. Everyone is wondering: what does the future hold for the media? We brought the questions to the front lines, asking leaders in the field to tell us: what’s next?

Design magazine Dwell‘s Web site, Dwell.com, helps the magazine’s content jump off the page. Under the leadership of Associate Publisher Nancy Alonzo, the site underwent a redesign in March and now calls itself Dwell Digital. The site now gets 525,000 unique views per month, and about half of its users also subscribe to the magazine.

We sat down with Alonzo to discuss Dwell Digital’s unique approach to interactive content and sponsorships, the brand’s voracious audience and what’s next.

FishbowlNY: How does Dwell.com differentiate its content from the magazine’s?

Nancy Alonzo: We wanted to create an interactive design site and make it intelligent for the user. 80 percent of the content is site-only, but we archive all of the magazine’s content as well. We take the magazine’s articles and rip them apart, specifically tagging information so that it can be accessed through a search. The ability to search in a really smart way is a promise never fulfilled by other magazine’s Web sites.

We have also created a multimedia section with a slideshow for every piece of information that includes more than one picture. And we have a lot of video.

FBNY: What is Dwell Digital’s mission and who is your audience?

NA: Our audience includes design consumers, design professionals and design enthusiasts. We always put the user first and try to be smart about design without talking down to part of our audience and not talking above another part. I think we balance that very well. We’re a thinking person’s design magazine and what we offer is complementary to what’s out there. We believe that good design doesn’t have a socioeconomic requirement. We’ve done an ode to the Ikea kitchen before. And people do a lot of high and low in their homes.

FBNY: Your approach to marketing and advertising integration on Dwell.com is pretty innovative. Tell me a little bit about what you’re doing.

NA: We are constantly asking ourselves, ‘What does the audience want? What will they respond to?’ A lot of the time, that is integrated advertising. For example, we did the Dwell color palette of Ralph Lauren paint. We decide on a case by case basis, but the right ad program will have the right fit. We strive to make every program something that’s never been done before, something the audience will respond to and something we can monetize.

FBNY: And how has the audience responded?

NA: We’ve never had a backlash because we try to be thoughtful. We keep an editorial eye toward advertising. And as long as we’re transparent and communicate what’s advertising and what’s editorial content, we’re fine. We’re not trying to force products on anyone. The audience has grown very accustomed to what we do.