Demand Media has launched a redesign of eHow.com. The company says it's putting more focus on better quality content.
A Demand Media representative tells WebPoNews, "With the site overhaul, eHow.com is growing to be more than just a 'how-to' site to a place which provides much more educational content including new feature-length articles produced by in-house studio writers as well as new high-definition video series."
I probably don't have to tell you that there is a fair amount of controversy surrounding the eHow brand, particularly among enthusiasts of the search world. eHow often dominates Google's search results for a vast range of queries. It is often labeled a "content farm," and many expected it to get hit hard by Google's Panda (some call it "Farmer") algorithm update. eHow, however, was not hit hard by the update, and actually gained while a plethora of other sites saw their rankings and traffic plunge.
Still, Demand Media has stressed recently that it is not completely reliant on Google for traffic, and is putting more and more focus on social media to decrease said dependence even more. It probably helps that Demand Media continues to expand its offerings in social media in general. Much of the media attention DM gets is on its content side of things, but it also has a social platform (which it is currently expanding more into Facebook itself via a partnership with Buddy Media), a variety of branded social apps, etc. among other things.
Social is a big part of the eHow redesign too. For one, the new design features Facebook's new comments system, which should instantly insert more eHow visibility into users' Facebook news feeds.
“eHow.com has evolved into an indispensable resource that millions of people rely on,” said Gregory Boudewijn, general manager at eHow. “People know and trust the eHow brand and we felt a responsibility to evolve the consumer experience. The new design is focused on making it easier for visitors to find the solutions they seek. At the same time, we created unique destination channels for the categories where our audience is most passionate and we’ll continue to deliver new features and quality content for these audiences.”
The new eHow has six primary content channels: Home, Money, Style, Health, Family, and Food. Everything else falls into "more".
Also added, is that "curation layer" that the company has referred to several times recently. This is an important part, as it is one of the ways Demand Media will work to improve and maintain quality of content. It (at least in part) comes in the form of a "Helpful?" button that users can use to provide feedback. The button remains at the side of the article as the reader scrolls, so it is always visible on the page. It offers simple yes/no options.
If you click yes, it brings up a box with a message like, "Thanks for helping us to make eHow better for everyone," and includes a Facebook "like" button. If you click no, it asks, "Why not?" and gives options that the user can check, including:
- Too general/no useful information
- Information is out of date
- Information is inaccurate
- Article needs more photos
- Article is offensive
- Wasn't what I was looking for
The feedback from these buttons, which appear on every article and video, are funneled directly to the editorial team, so they can monitor and improve the content. They will look at content that gets negative feedback, and determine whether it's worth improving, or just getting rid of entirely.
Along with the redesign, eHow is debuting a new hi-def video series called Curbside Eats today for its Food category. Demand Media also launched its Tyra Banks-branded Type F site the other night, and the company says it will continue to look for similar celebrity partnerships to bring authoritative brands to its content.