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What’s new at has changed. We’ve changed what we publish, we’ve changed the way we publish and we’re busy changing what people expect from a consumer tech website, writes editor, Kieran Alger.

By Kieran Alger

Gadgets are cool. They now touch every part of our lives and we’re rapidly learning to love them. The days of fighting the VCR and battling the magnolia box on your desk are over - almost.

The big players like Mark Zuckerberg are now rock stars and tech brands are involved at all levels across major sporting events, concerts and global showpieces. While there are plenty of websites catering for high turnover tech news – the nuts and bolts of the industry - there isn’t a site that takes consumer tech and makes it lifestyle, desirable and premium. The rewards for delivering this are greater than ever.

The old T3

The previous incarnation of was almost 3 years old. I joined T3 just after that last version went live.

In that time, the internet has moved on and T3’s site technology struggled to keep up with the demands. The commercial emphasis shifted and we quite simply needed to be better placed to capitalise on opportunities. Meanwhile, the brand evolved through a number of magazine redesigns, and the arrival of the T3 iPad edition took T3 to a whole new level of style and sophistication. lacked this.

That’s not to say we weren’t achieving. In those three years, the team produced four-fold traffic growth and transferred this effectively into increased revenue.

In 2008, was averaging 1.2m global page views per month, by 2011 we’d broken the 5m mark. We’d taken our newsletter subs from 8,000 to 60,000 and built a combined social network of more than 60,000 followers.

A brilliant base, but we recognised that to truly achieve its potential needed to change.

Building one team

Change started with the team. Out went the old school magazine vs web, duplication of effort, complicated communication flows and wasted effort. In came a unified approach, with single section editors working cross-platform and a team that is sharing ideas, inspiration and content, maximising resources and reinvigorating the team.

Then we got to work on the site.

Curation vs automation: You can have both

In recent web publishing history, we’ve seen a shift towards the reliance on blog-roll style automated feeds where the time stamp dictates what appears on the homepage.

In the new, I wanted to turn that off-the-shelf Wordpress approach on its head and go back to putting curation above automation. is now about tailored packages of content, it’s about the skill of editing and having confidence to deliver what our audience wants on any given day.

We’re not ignoring the benefits of automation, after all there are increasing pressures on resources industry-wide, but we’ve created a smart site that lets editors have both. We can tailor the important high ranking pages and add value for our users that you only get from bespoke content. However, when resources or events dictate a need for speed, we’ve built in enough automation to allow content to flow into the right areas in seconds.

Modular, flexible and re-usable

The entire ethos for the new T3 was to create a site that is flexible, re-usable and agile. From locking down a style guide so we can create on-brand creative solutions without reinventing the wheel each time, to the modules that make up our pages which can be swapped in and out across all sections of the site via the CMS, everything is designed to enable simple and speedy innovation and creativity. We can now change the site in days and that means no more 12-monthly costly overhauls.

Key assets like an iPhone 4S gallery can be cloned and added to multiple articles in seconds. The homepage can be overhauled to add in new technology (think Google+) in hours rather than weeks.

Homepages can be scheduled to change out of office hours making our site work harder 24-7 and increasing engagement and traffic.

Front end innovation to drive engagement

BBC sets a benchmark that everyone has to live up to. BBC News users demand the same high standard when they arrive on – no excuses. We spent long hours focusing on what makes using a website a joy. For a brand like T3, the web experience had to offer more than a churn of stories.

We created the Buzzwall with this in mind. It’s a serendipitous single destination where users can explore the latest trending topics through a really rich and intriguing visual display.

Stunning 16 x 9 images and video are front and centre – it’s all about the confidence to deliver that showcase feel. We enabled videos to play from the carousel rather than clicking through to articles.

In addition, we’ve offered up what we call a super gallery – an ad-free larger visual experience that’s all about stand out for the user. Smart search makes it easier for users to find our great content while the addition of new gadget buying guides has created a brilliant new destination for people to be inspired.

Integrated advertising to give us the edge

While we’re busy delivering a rich user experience, we’ve also taken care to cater for the changing commercial market. We’ve taken integrated advertising to the next level with sponsored story placements, even on the Buzzwall, new super reskins and paid slots within our buying guides. The suite of ad solutions T3 now offers is already winning clients.

We’re already seeing the benefits. UK and global traffic records have already been smashed in October, two weeks after launch while the site went live with an impressive heavyweight sponsor in LG. Now the real work begins…