One of the web’s oldest online magazines, Blogcritics.org, is set to get a makeover Tuesday. The long list of text links to blog posts on the site’s front page has been replaced by an airy, photo-filled layout. It’s the first big change at the site since Technorati purchased it late last summer as part of a push by the company to move beyond its traditional blog search engine business.
In the aftermath of the Technorati acquisition, traffic increased, but has since flattened, founder and publisher Eric Olsen said in an interview. Compete.com says that Blogcritics brought in about 350,000 unique visitors last month, up from roughly 300,000 a year ago. For now, Olsen said, Blogcritics continues to operate mostly apart from Technorati. “I had no idea what to expect — there was some doubt if Blogcritics was going to remain its own entity,” he said. “But the decision was made firmly that Blogcritics would remain its own brand.” However, Blogcritics is now providing the basic content to populate all of the tag pages on Technorati.
Olsen said that with the redesign, Blogcritics, known mostly for its arts and culture reviews, hopes to attract additional advertisers and visitors. “The one thing we’ve always lacked is design help,” Olsen said. “The entire site was built, maintained by one person … so to have the resources of Technorati behind us, specifically their design professionals, it’s a dream come true.” He also hopes that the redesign will bolster the site’s relationship with writers, who contribute their work for free. In exchange, the site provides them with a built-in audience. Blogcritcs’ 15 editors edit all posts before they are posted on the site. It’s a compromise between the heavily edited content on newspaper sites and the unedited posts on most blogs. With the makeover, writers’ profiles will now get more attention, with longer biographies and soon links to social media sites.