A New Look for Inc.com

Inccom.jpgInc.com debuted a new look yesterday. The old site, little more than a collection of headlines from the magazine, has been replaced with a site packed with points of entry and exclusive web-only content. With a profitable website tied to a money-losing magazine (according to competitor BusinessWeek), will Inc.com one day supplant the print product? Much too soon to tell. But in the meantime, Fishbowl talked to Inc.com EIC Ed Sussman about the new site.

FishbowlNY: What was the impetus behind the redesign?

Ed Sussman: Our goal for the re-launch was to improve the site’s appearance, enhance the navigation, and make the site more dynamic, informative, and entertaining. Since Joe Mansueto acquired our properties in July of 2005, he’s invested heavily in our websites, adding staff and upgrading our technology, enabling us today to unveil the many new features of Inc.com.

FBNY: Joe Mansueto told PaidContent.org that Inc.com was a profitable website. What elements of the redesign might enhance that profitability?

Sussman: The new design should increase the frequency and duration of reader visits because of the improved user experience. Plus, we’re emphasizing the many daily updates of the websites. We expect the effect will be an increase in our pageviews, increasing our advertising inventory. Since the website is frequently sold-out, more inventory will translate directly to bigger ad spends. The redesign will also help readers better find targeted content that directly serves their immediate interests, allowing us to better serve advertisers who wish to sponsor specific topics. We’ve also added significant multimedia content because of increased reader demand for video, podcasts, and slideshows, all of which are attractive mediums to advertisers.

FBNY: What’s the biggest change between yesterday’s Inc.com and today’s?

Sussman: Our primary navigation is now funneled through our 20 topical Resource Centers, such as Marketing, Start-up, and Technology, each of which by itself is almost a stand-alone website, with unique expert columnists, how-to guides, topical articles, plus a wealth of other information. Previously, our navigation was geared toward searching by types of information, such as articles or tools. The new design is cleaner and more colorful. The new site also features “The Daily Edition,” a news and opinion section that is updated throughout the day.

FBNY: What websites (magazine or other) did you look to for inspiration?

Sussman: We looked at many sites, but were most influenced by major newspaper properties. The best newspaper sites are adept at organizing a great deal of information, giving the readers clear choices about their options while still maintaining a hierarchy of information that signals editorial importance.

FBNY: What does Inc.com have that the print version doesn’t?

Sussman: Using our website and reading our magazine are completely different yet complementary experiences. On any given day, Inc.com can offer its readers rich multimedia features, daily breaking news of special interest to entrepreneurs and an extremely deep archive of information (we have 26 years of Inc. magazine archived) While every issue of Inc. offers terrific business stories and insights, the website offers entrepreneurs information on virtually every major small-business topic that might be of interest to them at any given time. A great deal of this content is web-exclusive. For example, Inc.com features about 30 web-exclusive expert columnists, such as sales and networking guru Keith Ferrazzi, author of Never Eat Alone, Evan Goldberg, CEO of Netsuite, and Christopher Musselwhite, CEO of Discovery Learning. Inc.com also offers “Breaking Entrepreneurial News,” dozens of web-exclusive stories produced throughout the week. Finally, Inc. TV and our other web-exclusive multimedia features are a terrific way for our audience to better get to know the people and ideas we cover.