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Introducing the New PRWeb Web site

This past Friday at midnight, we rolled out a brand new PRWeb.com.  This launch was the result of countless hours of effort logged by a wide variety of individuals – from developers, to designers, to writers and more, this was truly a collaborative effort that spanned the company.

Also worth noting is that the launch is a mashup of several different projects that have been on our roadmap for a while now.  Some changes will be immediately obvious, such as the updated look and feel of the site and the new press release template.  Other changes on the other hand, will reveal their impact over time – but more on this in a bit.  What is common throughout all the updates is our intention to better serve our customers – from providing them with more tools to get started to ensuring that the releases perform more effectively online, this launch was all about continuing to offer industry leading visibility to our customers.

As with all significant changes, there are sure to be questions that arise.  We want to take this opportunity to address some of the more significant changes you may notice with the new PRWeb.com:

1. We are no longer listing all $140+ releases on the home page

Back when PRWeb was a free service and publishing a far more limited volume of releases, front page placement was a benefit granted to certain customers willing to make a financial contribution to the company.  At this time there were more tangible benefits to front page placement in terms of readership and SEO.  Over time, the volume of releases published daily has swelled to a much larger number and we have ended up with a home page that can contain too many articles at times.  This has made the home page less than optimal for both users as well as search engines.

Our solution to this challenge has been to evolve from an architecture that focuses on one front page to one that has multiple front pages (from a search perspective). Tactically, we have done this by creating a section of our domain completely devoted to customer news releases, organized around industry verticals (i.e. arts & entertainment, technology, etc.).  This technique is one that is used by many sites with a large volume of content and is a generally accepted method for creating value in certain silos within the hierarchy of a Web site and passing value to the pages located within these silos (customer news releases).

As a result, we fully expect this new architecture to increase the volume of traffic to your release as well as your site.

2. We have made some major changes to the news release template

The PRWeb news release has undergone some significant changes.

First, you’ll notice that there is far more room being given to multimedia elements like video, images, and file attachments.  In the last several years we have gained a lot of empirical knowledge about the way that people consume news online.  Our own research into the effects of multimedia on news consumption showed that the presence of relevant images and video increased the average time users spent on news releases.  There is also notable research that has proven the correlation between multimedia and action.

Then again, all it takes is a quick look at the home page of CNN.com to see how multimedia is beginning to dominate the visual real estate of news sites today.

The second major change we have made is to place links to various actions such as sharing, further inline with the news content.  These days, news releases are not just about getting people to read a story; they are also about getting the reader to take some form of measurable action: to share on Facebook, e-mail to friends, and more.  Subsequently, we have optimized the placement of these links to make our news more action-able.

The final change we’ve made to the release is behind the scenes.  After years of adding code, the time had come for us to step back and optimize the code behind the release to make sure it was optimized for faster load times and better performance in search.  Speed is not only important for users, but leading certain search engines have been very vocal about the growing importance of speed when it comes to performance in search.

3.  We have introduced a dedicated learning center

Over the past few years, we have been consistently investing more time and resources into customer education.  We realize that although there are some folks who have been sending out press releases for years, the practice of creating and distributing online news releases is still relatively new.

What’s more, the varying backgrounds of our customers has created a need for a range of different types of content.  We have PR folks who want to learn more about SEO, and SEO folks who want to learn more about PR.  We have small business owners who want to move from sending out one release each year, to a more ongoing cycle of communication that results in the long term development of online visibility for their brand and their business.

So in response to the ongoing demand for educational resources, we are launching a dedicated learning center that will serve as a hub for all the various articles, webinars, and white papers we have put together.

Hopefully these points address some of the more glaring questions you might have.  If you have others (and I’m sure some of you will), please post them to the comments section of this article and we will make sure to address them as quickly as possible.

We’re looking forward to the conversation.

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