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Be your community’s Wikipedia

July 14, 2009

Following on the sheer laziness detailed in my last post, here’s a story about a job well done.

If you haven’t been living under a rock for the last month, you’re probably aware that the MLB All-Star Game is tonight. It takes place in St. Louis this year and like any year, tons of people are pouring into the host city. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had plenty of time to plan for the festivities and capitalized on it by setting a personal record for single-day Web traffic—2.7 million page views yesterday, according to Editor & Publisher.

I don’t know exactly how they did it—and the E&P story doesn’t shed light on hard numbers or traffic sources—but we can speculate. Check out their home page as of this afternoon:

Not perfect, but apparently effective.

Not perfect, but apparently effective.

I gotta be honest, the page actually looks God-awful to me, but even by that judgment, it’s the Drudge Report of major metro newspaper Web sites, which I’m sure the other major metros would love to be. Like any site, though, it really doesn’t matter what it looks like, it matters what it does. If I’m an out-of-towner, I’ve got everything I need: schedule of events, traffic advisories, a map….

The only thing lacking is something like this on the site, on a regular basis. Sure, the city’s population is going to balloon by several thousand (maybe that’s a gross underestimation) during the All-Star break, but you’ve still got tourists funneling in throughout the year and their collective traffic to your site is bound to add up. Adding some kind of “Visit STL” wiki, or even a non-wiki page, would go a long way toward documenting the ins-and-outs of the community and providing a quick reference for people (think how easy it would be to charge $0.99 for an iPhone app).

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