Why the new design of Gizmodo and Lifehacker caused Traffic Collapse?

Gizmodo and Lifehacker are popular names in Gadgets and Technology media on web. They are owned by Gawker media, a well known online media company with blogs network serving millions of pageviews a month. Few days ago, the company redesigned almost all the sites owned by them including Gizmodo and Lifehacker and it seems that the new design caused traffic collapse on these sites. Other online reports are also highlighting the same thing about traffic decrease on these sites.

gizmodo-lifehacker-traffic-downAlexa rank of Gizmodo came to 2,000 (for yesterday) from 547 (for 3 months) and the traffic graph is also showing collapse in traffic. Here is the screenshot of Alexa page of Gizmodo US. You can see the drop in traffic from search as well that means, the new design is not working well in terms of search engine optimization. These sites used to get huge traffic from Facebook, but after the design changes, people are not able to share the posts on Facebook. When you will try to do so, you will get an error saying “The message could not be posted to this wall”. I think it is happening because of the hash tag appearing in the middle of the URL of any post on these sites. So their traffic from social network like Facebook is definitely at low.

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gizmodo-traffic

Similarly, Lifehacker’s Alexa came to 1,500 from 615 (for 3 months). Lifehacker is no doubt having thousands of good posts related to technology, software, tips, lifestyle etc. but their traffic went down because of the design changes.

lifehacker-traffic

What went wrong with Gizmodo and Lifehacker? Why their traffic collapsed after design changes? Is this happening because of redesign or something else is causing this pain?

[ad id=’9′ style=’float:left;margin:10px 10px 10px 0′]These questions are very important for designers as well as online media company owners and bloggers. I think this traffic collapse is happening because of the design changes only, as they are not facing any penalty from search engines or they didn’t do something wrong in terms of their content update. In the new design, they have provided option to scroll down and read more content by using mouse scroll in different static boxes. their design is such that, if you are scrolling mouse in left side, only content will scroll and the right sidebar will remain static. And when you will scroll mouse on right sidebar, then content in left sidebar will remain static. This kind of static scroll may cause issue with the visitors and they may find problem in reading more content on the same page.

The previous design of these sites were bit simple and visitors used to find more content while scrolling the page. It was easier to find related content and tags as well. That’s why it seems that Gizmodo, Lifehacker and other Gawker’s sites are facing less views/visits and that’s why this traffic collapse is happening on these sites.

Gawker founder Nick Denton is seeing this traffic decrease as transition time when visitors are getting used to the new design, but it seems that they are not comfortable with this new design at all. What is your take on their new design and layout? Share your views through comments.

Sanjeev Mishra is a professional blogger and an Internet Marketing Consultant based in India. He has built the Internet Techies to provide you updates in technology and web application area.
  • David William Johnk

    It’s all design. I used to go there 3 or 4 times daily. Its painful now. They better switch back quick or they will lose many of their loyal fans.

  • Steve

    completely 100% a design issue. I used to go there like David all the time, now I barely go there simply because it’s very difficult to find anything. I used to go there on my iphone A LOT but now, if i see a link on google, or any other site and I click it, it takes me to the home page of lifehacker and not the links, so the new design isn’t intelligent enough to recognize that I’m using a mobile phone and to convert the referring link to a mobile link of the actual link. Instead I’m relegated to scrolling through page after page just to try to find the post I was looking for. And forget about sharing something on Facebook…I’ve tried bookmarklets, I’ve tried tried a facebook toolbar for Firefox, and all the posts come up “no title” with no thumbnails….horrendous job they did. Whoever designed it, and whoever approved the design change should be looking for new jobs.