After 20 years on the web, About.com was showing its age. Big Medium helped the company reinvent its product strategy and design process—and created some mighty good-looking and profitable sites along the way.
At the start of 2016, About.com was still the 40th-largest site on the web in page views, but the network was seeing punishing drops in page views. The network’s massive collection of general-interest content, once its greatest asset, was now seen by search engines as a content farm. Its design was generic and conservative, and the pages were choked with ads and pay-per-click links in a desperate attempt to keep revenue level. Audience and advertisers were turning elsewhere.
Big Medium worked with About.com to develop a new vertical strategy, carving out the content from the main network into branded premium experiences. Big Medium designed the health vertical Verywell and the finance vertical The Balance, giving both a warm, humane feel that was missing from About.com. The results were beyond expectations:
- The new verticals have more than doubled engagement in every metric.
- With far fewer ads, ad visibility and engagement are way up, along with ad revenue.
- About.com’s verticals Verywell, The Balance, and Lifewire are all in Comscore’s top ten in their categories .
Along the way, Big Medium also overhauled the company’s entire approach to web development. Josh Clark, Brad Frost, and Dan Mall embedded with the Verywell team’s leadership and introduced:
- A newly collaborative design process
- “Designing and deciding” in the browser
- The atomic design methodology
- A tight focus on the mobile experience