We were tipped off to the changes by the more prominently located commenting box underneath its articles, so we caught up with online managing editor Amy DiTullio to find out what had changed.
Since unveiling an updated site last year, WWD.com has implemented a number of small changes, DiTullio said. Most recently, on September 9, the site introduced some “design tweaks” that made it easier for users to see and access commenting. “One of the things we were seeing was that because it took a couple of steps to register, we weren’t getting the number of comments we wanted,” she said.
A simple update that put the comment registration on the same page as the articles and noted the number of comments under the headlines has bumped commenting up from less than 50 a week to about 250 a week, DiTullio said.
Another recent redesign unveiled earlier this month came out just in time for the spring 2010 collections. The “fashion shows” section got a facelift making it easier to navigate, and a spring ready-to-wear special microsite offers up-to-the-minute updates about fashion shows around the world. “This was something that was my personal mission to do,” DiTullio said of the fashion shows section’s revamp. “I’m very happy with the way it came out. It’s become more of a utility for users.”
Although much of the content on WWD.com is subscription only, fashion scoops, lifestyle content and WWD‘s media column “Memo Pad” are always available for free, along with specially selected breaking news and other traffic-driving content, like today’s Giorgio Armani feature. The spring 2010 microsite is also outside of the paywall, and will remain so until a couple of weeks after the last shows in Tokyo roll up their runways, DiTullio said.
The site’s updates have not gone unnoticed by its fashionable audience. In addition to increased commenting, the site’s subscriptions have grown to more than 20,000 — increasing last summer’s 12,000 subscriptions by about two thirds. And subs continue to increase month over month, so much so that they will likely break 21,000 by the end of September, DiTullio said. DiTullio’s team also runs the pub’s Twitter feed, which has logged more than 1.2 million followers.
Meanwhile, paid circulation of the trade paper have held steady at 35,000. “There are more paper subscribers for sure,” DiTullio said. “But online subscriptions are growing pretty fast. Our traffic and sub rate is really great online. And our collection coverage this season is blowing last season out of the water.”