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07/08/2013

What can the Mail Online teach us about web success?

Mail Online is astonishingly successful.

According to the Audit Bureau of Circulations, in May it averaged more than 8 million daily browsers for the first time – a monthly increase of five per cent. Monthly users increased even more by nearly eight per cent to 130 million.

That makes it the world’s most popular newspaper website and it’s now reportedly preparing to open new offices overseas, from where it gets a hefty 60 per cent of its audience.

Mail Online: in May it averaged more than 8 million daily browsers for the first time Mail Online: in May it averaged more than 8 million daily browsers for the first time

What’s the visual secret of that wide-ranging success? And what can we learn about delivering such web-friendly content?

A quick scan of Mail Online reveals a sea of recognisable, expressive faces amid large and bright photos. The layout is deceptively unsophisticated – a smorgasbord of gossip, sensation and news just corralled into a subtle framework.

It’s overwhelmingly visual and big, with handfuls of pictures and headlines that don’t so much tempt the reader as explain the entire story in great detail before you’ve even read the intro. Each article is more like an extended picture caption.

Here’s one: “Horror as swarm of 30,000 bees attack couple and kill two horses and five hens in North Texas”. As you read on, more and bigger images drag the eye down the page.

Short of time? Just skim through the pictures and read the headlines. The frequently refreshed homepage soon brings new content to graze on. It’s like information tapas compared to the traditional three courses offered by its increasingly distant paper cousin.

Eye-catching and unashamed to pander to the flitting eye of internet surfers, Mail Online is really making waves.

● Remarkable Group is an award-winning public relations, communications and marketing agency based in Winchester, Hampshire. It boasts a full range of services in PR and public affairs, such as consultations and crisis communications. NÜKO Agency is Remarkable Group’s digital and creative division whose offering includes marketing, web and print design, and video.

Creative Design, Digital Marketing, Remarkable Content