Topics pages is a concept of combining site content with background information on a subject, seen on larger news sites like TimesOnline.co.uk and NYTimes.com, but equally important for other content driven sites like blogs or search portals like Kosmix. Focus could be on the people, the organizations involved, events in time, geographical regions or any other field of knowledge. Although topic pages can appear as increment improvements on sub section of news sites, they could very well be the future way of navigating and organizing site content. Topic pages have several advantages in regards to content re-use and are optimal pages for search engines, serving users a welcoming landing page, relevant to their query.
Increasing content life span
Large news sites publish several stories by the hour, both costly to produce and short lived as they are moved down the front pages. Content only a few days old leave for obscurity by the grace of site search and search engines.
Topic pages can be a step to maximize re-use and thus increase the life span of the content produced; through the creation of landing pages that can act as a second home for articles after leaving the front page spotlight.
Basic components of topic pages
Topic pages usually start out with an introductory abstract and a region of related news stories, brought to life through search. Attention can be captured by related materials like pictures and media clips. A community aspect through a forum or visible thread could show interest, build a community around the topic and work as a social proof for future readers.
Users will quickly see through fully automated pages that try to disguise search results as a topic pages. Good topic pages needs a human touch and special care when considering what articles are relevant and not.
Why they are important
An optimal topic pages give users important background on news stories, crucial when reading outside ones field of knowledge. Topic pages solve some informational needs directly on your site, and may keep users from having to cross-read through other sites.
Journalist pressed for time can not elaborate on the basics in every article, nor should they have to. By relating and linking back from the articles to the topic pages, readers can brush up on the basics in between news reading. Thus making news content more accessible and pedagogic in nature.
Check back later for follow ups to this story!
- How to capture search traffic using topic pages
- Creating communities using topic pages and creating topic pages using communities
Let us hear your opinions on topic pages!