StateCollege.com is an advertiser-supported online portal that provides local news, sports, entertainment, and business information for State College, PA and surrounding communities.
The portal was originally developed and launched in the late 1990’s. It quickly built a large audience and generated substantial annual revenue from advertising sales, paid business directory listings, classified ad sales, and other channels.
How Outdated Technology & SEO Affected Online Ad Operations
The technology behind the original StateCollege.com site was PHP. Over time, due primarily to development staff and technology changes, the site’s performance degraded, and programming costs increased. Freelance developers did what they thought was best to maintain the site, but they lacked buy-in and didn’t share a cohesive vision.
Additionally, the business directory—a popular feature of the site and large source of revenue—became out-of-date, and the portal’s content structure was no longer SEO-friendly. These challenges led to a steady decline in traffic and revenue.
PIC's Role in Developing a Revival Plan
After several years of negative trends in portal traffic and revenue, PIC was brought in to provide strategy and revenue consulting and to develop a new StateCollege.com site. Services provided include website design & development, SEO/SEM management, and strategic business consulting.
Improving Online Ad Operations with Growth-Driven Design
PIC implemented the PIC Process and partnered with StateCollege.com to restore the site’s status as the premium Centre County news source. PIC built the new website on WordPress from top to bottom and continue to use Growth-Driven Design and consulting to drive increased traffic and revenue.
A favorite quote among StateCollege.com leadership is Pearson’s Law: “"When performance is measured, performance improves. When performance is measured and reported back, the rate of improvement accelerates." So, the very first thing they did was track the trends and the sources of the revenue and set clear goals.
Next, PIC researched options for increasing StateCollege.com’s advertising revenue. PIC evaluated a series of vendors and recommended that StateCollege.com subscribe to the services of Adapex. Adapex’s behind-the-scenes solution that automates competitive bidding for StateCollege.com’s remnant advertising space.
The PIC and StateCollege.com teams work together to optimize ad sales through Adapex and Taboola to maximize revenue. As a result, average monthly remnant ad sales have more than doubled since the site’s relaunch.
From Decline to Prominence & 340% Increase in Advertising Revenue
The development of a sound strategy, a smart, flexible site design, and wise operational decisions, have reversed StateCollege.com’s negative trends, and the portal has returned to prominence in its Central Pennsylvania market:
- From May 2020 through Sept 2022, StateCollege.com’s third-party advertising revenue increased from $2,236/month to $9,882/month, a 340% increase.
- During the same period, organic traffic jumped from 137,000 monthly sessions to 253,000, an 85% improvement.
- In November 2022—one year after the relaunch—StateCollege.com received 93% more visits than the area’s second most popular online community news portal, confirming that it’s now back on top.
PIC is grateful for the opportunity to work with the StateCollege.com team and to play a leading role in their portal’s return to the top.