Building a niche swine flu site with mainstream power

April 29th, 2009

As it became clear over the weekend that the swine flu was becoming a major national and international story, Statesman VP for Internet Tim Lott went hunting for domain names. The Statesman has been wanting to try to build a nimble niche aggregation site for a while as an experiment, and the swine flu seemed like a good topic for a test.

On Monday, Lott instructed one of our developers to build a niche site using an CMS outside of the main newspaper’s site. By lunchtime Tuesday, our swine flu information site was live.

It’s a full aggregation site, with a national and international focus. Everything links off the site except for the “About” page and a page for a Google mashup.

Aggregation is hand-picked by an editor (me), who is scouring the Web for interesting flu-related stories from trusted sources. Our hook is that you can trust what I’m choosing to be reliable.

We also added several resource links and a Twitter stream from Juitter.

We built this in a separate CMS for a few reasons:

1. We wanted to build this quickly. Obviously, if we waited too long, we’d miss the opportunity.

2. The CMS we used for the niche site (WordPress) is nimble and flexible. Our newspaper’s site is not as flexible.

3. We wanted it to be divorced from our site as much as possible. It’s from the Statesman, but we don’t want it to be the Statesman.

This is an experiment, but it’s fun, challenging and, hopefully, useful for readers.

What do you think?

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Entry Filed under: New Tricks

  • http://friendfeed.com/mathewingram mathew ingram

    As it became clear over the weekend that the swine flu was becoming a major national and international story, Statesman VP for Internet Tim Lott went hunting for domain names. The Statesman has been wanting to try to build a nimble niche aggregation site for a while as an experiment, and the swine flu seemed like a good topic for a test.

    This comment was originally posted on FriendFeed

  • http://patrickbeeson.com Patrick Beeson

    What was the resulting traffic and SEO?

  • http://patrickbeeson.com Patrick Beeson

    Also, why are there no display ads? This seems like a missed opportunity to catch at least remnant ad revenue.

  • http://www.teleclip.com geof sloan

    This seems to me to have been very quickly done and looks professional to me – would be interested in how you did this with some more details. thanks geof sloan

  • http://www.twitter.com/simon_baptist simonbaptist

    Really exciting to see this kind of innovation mixed up with the authority of journalistic responsibility.

  • http://oldmedianewtricks.com Robert Quigley

    Just launched yesterday afternoon, so nothing really yet. Statesman wasn't even linking to it until mid-day today. I'll update when we get some results. Thanks!

  • http://oldmedianewtricks.com Robert Quigley

    We were just concerned with getting it done and done right first. Next step is to get some ads going…

  • http://oldmedianewtricks.com Robert Quigley

    Thanks! Really appreciate that.

  • http://postjockey.com Ken

    Very well done. Covering the site at PostJockey.com.

  • @pattipdx

    Great way to innovate!

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  • http://www.jeffbeckham.com/ Jeff Beckham

    Looks great, good content, and a smart move to build it on WordPress for speed and flexibility.

    Robert, as you choose the links, are you using any tools to help you find the best stuff? From what I've seen out there, it seems that something like Publish2 or OneSpot would be an effective way of doing that.

  • http://oldmedianewtricks.com Robert Quigley

    I considered Publish2, but the way we have this set up might not work. I'll keep looking. Haven't tried OneSpot before. I'll check it out. Posting the links isn't very hard, though.

    Thanks for the compliments.

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  • http://www.greaterfalls.com david

    This is great — a perfect example of how the web can be used in near-real time using a simple, flexible CMS.

    Now why can't MSM/big newsers do this with their MAIN sites? I'm still baffled by that.

  • http://swineflumasks.co.cc/ Swine Flu Mask

    Yes, why not displaying ads?

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  • Pingback: Building a niche swine flu site with mainstream power | Old Media, New Tricks | Tom Altman’s Wedia Conversation

  • http://www.dolphinsutures.com/ Sutures

    Hope that, as humans are often exposed to forms of H1N1 through seasonal flu, our immune systems may have something of a head start in fighting infection.

  • http://www.profitbysearch.com/ seo company India

    Great article,Thanks for the tips! Can you give me more info about that…..traffic and SEO?

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    the best site flipping guide ( site flip ) ebook, flippingspark, with this ebook, you can make money online easily, go to flippingspark for details

  • http://www.bingotime.co.uk online bingo

    interesting

  • http://www.forex-info.com/ Forex News

    What were you able to accomplish? I would love to hear the results of this!

    Thank you.

  • http://www.rifle-scope-guide.com cyclops99

    While I applaud your creativity, this topic was one I decided to pass on in terms of revenue. I have an ethical dilemma trying to make money off a pandemic. I work in the office supply industry and had the opportunity to stock up on commonly used Swine Flu protection devices like hand sanitizer and masks. A number of our competitors took this approach and not only bought all the stock that they could, but also doubled the price based on supply and demand. Although I'm sure they made an excellent profit, I elected to pass on this approach. Good luck on your venture.

  • kamruddin

    yes, its an alarming situation now..
    swine flu is increasing rapidly..

    more info:
    http://healthytalk.net/guidelines-for-preventio

  • http://www.komikgaleri.com/ Komik Videolar

    Thanks all.

  • shaadynet

    good info .. thanks

  • http://healthcampus.net Health_Campus

    Great post, really help me alot. Thanks.

    Cheers
    good-jobs.org , jewelryreview.net
    sain-web.com

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