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Requiring registration may not cost you traffic

Newspapers find traffic still rises; usability is the key

5:37 pm on Jan 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Editor and Publisher has an interesting article surveying the experience of newspaper web sites that imposed registration on readers last year.

Newspaper Sites Move to Registration Model [editorandpublisher.com]

It turns out that most newspapers that started requiring users to register didn't see the drop-off in traffic they expected.

The L.A. Times, however, did see traffic decline, and the article notes that the paper's site has one of the longest registration forms of the sites included in the survey. The key to making registration work is getting the design right so the process is quick and simple; paying attention to usability and accessibility issues clearly has a payoff, here.

Best advice from the article:

"Make sure you have a customer-service infrastructure in place to walk people through the process to remember passwords, reset passwords," says Newman of NYTimes.com. "If you fail in that area, you're going to lose a lot of people."

All in all, it seems like encouraging news for anyone considering implementing or broadening registration on their site.

4:37 am on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator brett_tabke is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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If they don't see a traffic drop, their search engine rankings must be just terrible to begin with.
5:09 am on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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WebmasterWorld Administrator martinibuster is a WebmasterWorld Top Contributor of All Time 10+ Year Member Top Contributors Of The Month

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L.A. Times willfully makes it difficult to register.

You have to hop back and forth from their web site to your email, back to their web site, then log in...

Then a few months later they email you again saying they changed their system and you have to register all over again!

I'd rather read the print version: I think it only costs a quarter.

Maybe that's what they're trying to encourage?

5:20 am on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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It has to be about content, NYTIMES has required free registration for years now, and as annoying as it is, most people go for it.

Of course it's inspired such "tools" as this as well: [robertgraham.com...]


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