Northcliffe Media is continuing its roll-out of 90 next-generation newspaper websites as part of its regional thisis network, with a further ten sites going live this week.
The wholesale makeover began with the launch of the new-look www.thisisHullandEastRiding.co.uk last month and is due to be completed by the end of September.
The programme combines the evolution of Northcliffe’s existing 55 thisis sites together with a further 35 new, mainly hyperlocal sites.
Those going live this week include www.thisisDerbyshire.co.uk, website of the Derby Evening Telegraph, and www.thisisCornwall.co.uk, the online portal for the Western Morning News.
All the new-look sites incorporate extra elements designed to encourage more user-generated content and improve search engine optimisation.
For example, users will also be able to search the sites by postcode to find the stories of most relevance to their area thanks to the use of new geographical targeting functionality.
Journalists on Northcliffe Media’s regional newspaper titles have already started “geocoding” stories in preparation for the initiative, while they will also be able to add search-engine friendly headlines to web stories distinct from those that appear on the in-print version.
On the commercial front, the new sites will also carry several new ad slots in more prominent positions and a range of innovative formats aimed at maximising advertiser response rates.
Mike Rowley, director of digital for Northcliffe Media, said: “Digital strategy is vital for Northcliffe’s growth.
“Through the new sites we will not only be offering improved content and functionality for end users but also a great opportunity for advertisers to target these growing online communities.
“The recent integration across our local network of our pureplay jobs, motors and property partners now provides an even more compelling service for local audiences wanting to access news and information as well as local classified information.”
“By driving traffic to the sites through increased levels of multimedia content we will help advertisers maximise response rates, which is a crucial element of our strategy moving forward.”