The aim of the new sites is to build on the recent impressive growth of Scotsman.com by emphasising the historic well-known brands, and also give The Edinburgh Evening News dedicated digital platforms, including its own mobile site. Previously the Evening News pages were within the Scotsman site.
The sites feature many of the benefits of the templates already rolled out to over 60 other Johnston Press websites, plus some additional changes to reflect the depth of content and the ongoing importance of links between the two.
The new sites were warmly received when presented to an invited audience of clients and advertisers in Edinburgh earlier this month, attended by Johnston Press chief executive Ashley Highfield and group commercial & marketing director Neil Jones.
Scotland publishing unit MD Stuart Birkett said: “Everyone is very excited about these fantastic new launches. The development of separate sites for The Scotsman and Edinburgh Evening News allows us to really build on the distinctive identity of each title. Additionally, we are now even better placed to meet the needs of our readers and advertisers and take a much more relevant offering to market across Scotland and its capital. We all look forward to seeing further growth in the months ahead.”
Early signs in terms of traffic and feedback have been encouraging and there has been a noticeable boost in referrals to related channels like WOW247 and its recently-launched Edinburgh Festivals microsite.
Figures from launch day last Monday showed like-for-like unique users were up 16% week-on-week, page views 22% (the highest for the year so far), while responses to our user survey has seen similarly positive reaction to that from other sites which have relaunched. A total of 87% so far think the new Scotsman site is an improvement on the old one and 77% gave the new Edinburgh site a mark of 7/10 or higher.
Senior product manager Liz Brown said: “It’s really reassuring to see the audience engaging with the new sites and we’ll closely monitor the analytics and user behaviour to ensure they continue to come back and interact on both the desktop and mobile sites. We'll be rolling out more updates to the sites on a regular basis over the coming months.”
The relaunches mean 63 websites across the Group now have the new look, those websites accounting for close to 90% of our digital audience. The plan and timeline for switching over all remaining sites is now being finalised.