Louisiana Baptist Message pay-to-read Web launched (skids)
The Louisiana Baptist Message’s new pay-to-read Web site apparently skidded on launch. They have rolled out a lurid red, top-heavy, new Web design which combines mostly subscriber-only content, some of which is free elsewhere, with incomplete sections (Plan of Salvation, Focus, Image Archive, Links of Interest).
A Southern Baptist official state newspaper with an empty Salvation section?
It is too early to draw lasting conclusions, but the early returns are not encouraging, for them.
We greeted as suicidal their announcement last year of pay-wall plans. And they’re not disappointing us. The Missouri Word & Way saw a slight decline (-8.18%) in Web traffic while the North Carolina Biblical Recorder saw a sharp increase (+160.7%) during the period of sharp Louisiana Baptist Message decline(-55.9%). The yearly change percentages are +428.77% for Word & Way, +105.84% for the Biblical Recorder and -19.02% for the Baptist Message.
The Baptist Message changes also disrupted existing links to its earlier content. For example, their redesign broke the links to a Louisiana Baptist Messenger Editor Kelly Boggs editorial in CounterFactual Kelly Boggs.
The combined effects of putting up a pay wall, redesign/launch errors and uninspiring content are likely to keep the Baptist Message in the Web readership basement. Or below. Where their print circulation, and that of the other Baptist state newspapers, was already going.
For this redesign and broken launch, however, they may deserve a nomination to Web Pages That Suck.
We will follow their experiment with flagging interest.
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