National Business Review
To understand the National Business Review website Sparks worked closely with the online and print editors at NBR to get a true understanding of the audience. Nbr.co.nz has a truly niche market within New Zealand (and an increasing international audience) that required a tailored approach. It is an audience with limited time and content needs to be delivered cleanly and precisely. Not only did Sparks work with the NBR online team, but also spoke directly with large corporates to understand how companies were using the website and where improvements could be made to enhance the experience.
Increased traffic based revenue and the journalist friendly publishing system enabled a strategic shift for NBR. Journalists could publish direct to live themselves, without technical admin support. They embraced this change, engaged with their audience and opened up comments. Writers wanted to publish on nbr.co.nz. Lower operating costs and increased revenue meant a greater investment in content and writers, better content meant better search results, and better traffic. Clicks back to the site from daily emails provided a clear measurement of popular content, and a steady injection of visitors.
From May 2008, immediately following the first Drupal rebuild by Sparks, to March 2011, the new site grew traffic from 27,000 unique visitors viewing 160,000 pages in around 70,000 visits per month to 70,000 unique visitors viewing 240,000 pages per month. Email sign-ups grew the list from around 7,000 to over 40,000.
Sparks were subsequently involved in building the infrastructure behind the paid premium content model, the success of which has surprised many industry commentators.
December 2010 saw the launch of the new Drupal 6 NBR website. The online subscription service was greatly improved with the implementation of an Ubercart based shopping system and a custom Drupal module for managing subscriptions, renewal emails and statistics on current and lapsed subscribers. Many of the core features of Ubercart were modified to meet NBRs specific requirements for their extensive subscriber base. The subscription also caters for their free weekly email subscribers (over 40,000 and growing).
As Managing Editor of The National Business Review, my lack of knowledge (not to mention patience!) when it comes to most things IT makes me probably one of the most testing clients for our project manager Hayden and the team at Sparks. Hayden has the patience of a saint and understands the need to spell things out in plain non-technical English.
One word describes our relationship with Sparks, PARTNERSHIP, and it truly is. Sparks take a lot of pride in our site, they are never short of ideas that will improve its functionality and usability. Like any good website, it’s never complete, there are always things that can be improved, so dealing with someone who is just as focused on perfection, is inspiring.