National Web Portal by sdsdfqw21


									                                                          National Web Portal

2007/08 was a year of growth and development for the national web portal, www., culminating in the launch of a completely restructured, redesigned
website and a corresponding extension/ shift in its communication strategy.

The past six years have seen the establishment of (SAinfo) as an
authoritative online country reference tool and powerful showcase of Brand South
Africa. Mixing consistently high-quality website content with savvy e-marketing, the
national web portal has evolved to the point where:

   It is generating the kind of traffic volumes normally associated
   with full-blown commercial media websites.
   It is leaving its local competitors for dead when it comes to the
   all-important internet search result placements.
   It is unique among international country web portals for the
   range of its content and the frequency with which it is updated.

It is from this position of strength that SAinfo – while maintaining its
foundation in quality content – is implementing a significant strategy
extension/ shift, to create a more interactive website that builds
community around Brand SA by encouraging audience participation
in Brand SA projects.

The National Gateway                       RSS feed (+60%) and the creation of        with which it updates that information.
Redesigned                                 a new feed for mobile/ cellphones.
A completely redesigned SAinfo has                                                    Content Updating and
been launched, drastically improving       Building the Brand South Africa            Maintenance
and modernising the look and feel as       Community                                  SAinfo maintained its high-quality
well as the structure of the national      SAinfo’s Community page pulls              content offering during 2007/2008,
gateway. The redesign has achieved         together Brand marketing and               publishing 100-150 new articles
a number of key objectives, all            participation initiatives, including the   a month at an average of 5-7
geared to radically shifting and           newly launched Your SA Story, which        per day. The site now runs to 68
strengthening the marketing of             provides a platform for ordinary           section/ subsection pages and
Brand South Africa.                        South Africans to tell the world their     carries, at any one time, over 2 000
                                           side of the South African story.           articles. Considerable work goes
Traffic Growth                                                                        into producing, presenting and
SAinfo met both of its key monthly         International Best Practice Survey         managing this content effectively for
traffic targets for 2007/08, reaching      While an analysis of 13 other              the web medium – and ensuring that
3 000 000 page impressions and             country portals helped inform              it speaks the language and spreads
300 000 unique users a month. The          SAinfo’s redesign, one thing was           the message of Brand South Africa
site also broke the 27-million mark        clear: SAinfo remains unique among         to investors, tourists, citizens and
for monthly “hits”.                        country portals, both in its breadth       the South African Diaspora.
                                           of information and in the frequency
Internet Search Result
Across a widening range of searches
involving the keywords “south africa”,
SAinfo pages are among the first to
greet the virtual visitor to SA. For the
great majority of strategic Google
searches involving “south africa”
(such as “investment opportunities
south africa” and “black economic
empowerment”), SAinfo comes
well within the top 3 search results,
completely outperforming any of its

2007/08 saw increased uptake of
SAinfo’s e-newsletters (+46%) and

In the last week of March 2008, almost six years since first went live, a completely redesigned
SAinfo was launched – the culmination of months of conceptualisation, consultation and implementation. The
redesign has achieved a number of key objectives, all geared to radically shifting and strengthening the marketing
and promotion of Brand South Africa.

                                                                                    The old...and the new

Improved Structure, Modernised              considerably easier to make sense of.   Africa Blog. The new SAinfo has also
Look                                       The organisation and layout of content   been designed to facilitate a significant
Both the look and feel and the is simpler and more intuitive, and a                 shift in website strategy: towards a far
structure of the site have been streamlined menu structure – starting               more interactive website that builds
drastically improved and modernised. with a much shortened “top tier” menu          community around Brand South Africa
                                           – makes for quicker, more effective      by encouraging audience participation
A brand new masthead banner – that navigation.                                      in Brand South Africa projects. (See
subtly changes each time a new page                                                 below: Building the Brand South Africa
of the site is visited – uses the colours Brand Continuity                          Community)
and patterns of South Africa’s flag, The main elements of the design – the
and the Alive with Possibility stamp, top banner, lead image slideshow,
to establish the Brand in a simple yet basic three-column structure and
striking manner.                            overall “clean”, uncluttered layout –
                                            are being carried across Brand South
A slideshow of automatically changing Africa’s other websites, allowing the
images – each accompanying a Brand identity to translate seamlessly
different lead article – provides a strong from SAinfo to the Brand South Africa
visual “anchor” for the front page, while corporate website, the soon to be
enhancing both the impact and the launched Media Club South Africa
sense of life/ movement of the page.        and the forthcoming Brand South

Less clutter, quicker navigation
Gone is the clutter of the previous
design. The new SAinfo is slightly wider,
requires minimal down-scrolling, and is

SAinfo continued on its strong upward growth path in 2007/08. The site met both of its key monthly traffic targets, reaching
3-million page impressions and 300 000 unique users a month – and also breaking the 27-million mark for monthly “hits”. By
31 March 2008, compared to 31 March 2007:

•	 SAinfo’s	monthly	page impressions grew by 25% to 3 144 432 (March 2007: 2 505 202).
•	 SAinfo’s	monthly	unique users increased by 21% to 300 016 (March 2007: 247 283).
•	 SAinfo’s	monthly	hits grew by 21% to 27 887 946 (March 2007: 22 984 136).

                    SAINFO AUDIENCE AT A GLANCE                                Percentage increase
                    March 2008                                                 over March 2007
                    Page views        Pages         3.1-million                         25%
                    Unique users      People        300 000                             21%
                    Hits              http calls    27.8-million                        21%

Competing with Commercial Publishers
For a non-commercial, public information website, this kind of traffic is extraordinary. To put it into perspective: the Online
Publishers Association (OPA), which represents South Africa’s 28 biggest internet publishers and 57 biggest websites, issued
its latest quarterly readership figures in December 2007.

If one ranks sites primarily by monthly unique users, as the OPA does, then SAinfo’s fourth-quarter figures would have
put it in 16th place among the top commercial websites in the country – beating the likes of,,, and

TABLE: Online Publishers Association statistics, top 25 SA websites (Oct-Dec 2007)

                                                                                                  Average monthly
  Ranking                 Website                              Publisher
                                                                                                  unique users
   1                                  Media24                                 1 576 674
   2                                   Independent Online                      1 038 980
   3               MSN                                    MSN                                     846 278
   4                                  M-Web                                   710 727
   5               Hotmail                                MSN                                     652 680
   6                               Interface                               636 236
   7                                      Media24                                 605 281
   8                              Media24                                 538 545
   9                            Auto Trader                             538 490
   10                                   Mail & Guardian Online                  435 605
   11                                                   403 777
   12                             Avusa                                   374 505
   13                                Media24                                 339 536
   14                           SuperSport Zone                         333 424
   15                       CareerJunction                          287 589
   16                           International Marketing                 263 570
                                                          Council of South Africa
   17                          Yellow Pages South Africa               259 918
   18                               Ananzi (Pty) Ltd                        257 389
   19                             Media24                                 250 747
   20                                Media24                                 245 051
   21                                         204 597
   22                             Independent Online                      199 751
   23                              Independent Online                      194 201
   24                      Private Property                        168 522
   25                               Independent Online                      166 101
   26                             Media24                                 157 819

Further analysis of SAinfo’s traffic statistics reveals that:
   At least 50% of SAinfo’s audience comes from abroad.
   SAinfo’s visitors come from all over the world: 178 country domains were counted in March 2007, with the US, UK,
   Australia, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, France, Brazil and India leading the pack.
Underlying SAinfo’s readership growth is the site’s simply       This is especially true when it comes to topics of interest
phenomenal performance on internet search engines. It is         to potential investors, as well as issues crucial to foreign
when one looks at SAinfo’s search result placements – a          perceptions of South Africa, such as HIV/Aids and black
key indicator of website success – that one appreciates the      economic empowerment.
extent to which the portal has established itself as South
Africa’s leading online country information resource.            The table below charts SAinfo’s performance on the
                                                                 world’s most popular search engine. Google searches were
Across an increasingly wide range of searches involving the      conducted for a selected list of 30 strategic keywords or
keywords “south africa”, SAinfo pages are among the first to     phrases – a list to which any website that sought to market
greet the virtual visitor to the country. Across the spectrum    South Africa would have to answer.
of topics – from bird watching to exporting, music to
conferences, languages to telecoms infrastructure – SAinfo       In each case, the search result placement was compared
has positioned itself as one of the first-choice sources of      with SAinfo’s five closest “competitors” – the websites most
information about the country.                                   closely resembling SAinfo in terms of type of information,
                                                                 message and target audience:

                                                            sites – any website ending with, including
                                                                     the sites of bodies such as the Reserve Bank, Airports
                                                                     Company South Africa, CSIR, and so on, as well as any
                                                                     South Africa embassy website.
                                                                     South African Tourism –
                                                                     South Africa The Good News –
                                                                     Mbendi – –

                                                          Google has long placed www.southafrica.
                                                          info/2010/ first for “2010 fifa world cup”
                                                          and related internet searches. The same
                                                          goes for a wide range of other strategic
                                                          search phrases – see the table below.

TABLE: Google search results, SAinfo versus five competitors (March 2008)

                                                                                        Search result placement for …

                                                                                                     SA The   MBendi
              SEARCH KEYWORDS                                      SAinfo              sites         Good     and
                                                                                                                     News     Polity1
   south africa                                                        6                  7                     2
   official guide south africa                                         2                  4                     1
   guide to south africa                                               6                                        2
   south africa facts                                                  1                  29
   south africa map                                                    1
   2010 world cup south africa                                         1                  7                                    22 (p)
   fifa world cup 2010                                                 4                  5
   world cup south africa                                              1                  9
   government south africa                                             2                  1                                    8 (p)
   south africa economy                                                3                  5
   investment south africa                                             1                  2                           21       16 (m)
   investment opportunities south africa                               1                  4
   south africa commerce                                               1                                                       13 (m)
   south africa trade                                                  3                  1                     10             3 (m)
   exporting south africa                                              1                  16                                   3 (m)
   importing south africa                                              1                  10                                   24 (p)
   black economic empowerment                                          1                  4
   aids south africa                                                   3                  11
   south africa companies                                              3                  5
   south africa telecommunications                                     1                  3                                    20 (m)
   south africa manufacturing                                          1                  6                                    23 (p)
   financial sector south africa                                       1                  10                                   26 (p)
   call centres south africa                                           2                                              5        30
   biotechnology south africa                                          5                  7
   south african innovations                                           1                  4                           25
   education south africa                                              1                  3
   south africa healthcare                                             1                  20
   south africa press                                                  2
   political parties south africa                                      1                  27                                   30 (p)
   democracy south africa                                              1

1For purposes of comparison, these two independent, but in some respects similar, websites are treated as one
Only the first three pages of Google results were counted in      The importance of this achievement cannot be overstated.
each case, hence a blank in the table means the site failed       When it comes to marketing South Africa to investors,
to come up within the first 30 search results. “1” is the best    tourists and South Africans abroad via the internet medium,
possible result.                                         is leaving its competition for dead.

•	 SAinfo’s	average	search	result	placement	for	the	30		
   searches: 1.96!

SAinfo not only “pulls” its audience        business newsletter for distribution to a   in an email-like format, providing an
via search engines. It also “pushes”        JSE-supplied list of users.                 invaluable service to anyone looking for
its content to its target audience via a                                                the most convenient way to keep track
number of e-marketing features. These          SAinfo’s voluntary subscribers           of updating content across a number of
enjoyed continued strong uptake                (weekly newsletter) grew by 46% to       sites.
over the course of 2007/08, and were           5 362 by 31 March 2008 (March
bolstered by a new arrival:                    2007: 3 664).                            •	 SAinfo’s	monthly	traffic	via	its	RSS	
                                                                                           feeds increased by 27% to 197 137
SAinfo Mobile                               RSS Feed                                       page impressions by 31 March
Users can now get the latest SAinfo         SAinfo’s RSS feed delivers the site’s          2008 (March 2007: 154 820).
updates on their cellphone, using a         content to news-reading programmes
free mobile service that looks for new
stories as they are posted on SAinfo,
automatically “pushes” this content
to their phone, and notifies them of

E-mail Newsletters
SAinfo’s weekly e-newsletter goes out to
a growing list of voluntary subscribers.
The newsletter is also supplied to
the IMC for distribution to its own
subscriber list, along with a fortnightly


SAinfo’s new Community page pulls
together existing and new Brand
marketing and Brand participation
elements of the site. These include:

Your South African Story
Launched by SAinfo as part of its
redesign, Your South African Story
provides a platform for ordinary South
Africans to tell their side of the South
African story – their own success
stories, inspirational stories, travel
stories, or stories that otherwise
capture their experience of the country    Alive with Possibility Stories             website – the online arm of the IMC’s
and its people. A monthly prize for        Part of the above campaign, these case     initiative to mobilise the South African
the best story has been introduced to      studies, sourced by the IMC, aim to        Diaspora, to build a network of South
encourage participation – starting with    inspire South Africans to become active    African talent abroad and connect it
a Canon S5 digital camera valued at        citizens by giving real-life examples of   to where it can make a difference at
over R4 000.                               individuals and organisations that are     home.
                                           living the Brand – that are helping to
Brand Champions Programme                  build a South Africa that is Alive with    Brand South Africa Marketing
Information and links on the IMC’s         Possibility.                               Material
multi-faceted campaign – including                                                    Links to a range of resources provided
both direct training and mass media        Global South Africans                      by the IMC to help individuals and
components – to build “Brand               A prominent link to the IMC’s Global       organisations promote South Africa,
Ambassadors” for South Africa.             South Africans blog – precursor to the     both internally and to the rest of the
                                           forthcoming Global South Africans          world.
Factored into SAinfo’s redesign were          a “hard sell” of a country’s attractions:   change in style acknowledges that web
the results of a survey of 13 different       sites gave prominence to dramatic           users are better persuaded by credible
country     portals.    Conducted      in     imagery and animation effects. Today’s      information than by “puffery”. It also
September 2007, the survey revealed a         sites are more “sober”, emphasising         vindicates SAinfo, which adopted this
significant shift from SAinfo’s previous      depth of information and ease of            approach from the start.
study of international best practice.         navigation and presenting content in
The emphasis three years ago was on           a more matter-of-fact fashion. This

                    Country portals surveyed September 2007

   New Zealand       
   United Kingdom    

None of the international portals             contrast, covers a broad sweep of           updates. Many similar sites lack the
surveyed are truly equivalent to SAinfo,      national information, including both        daily news and feature updates that
which is unique in its breadth of             the public and private spheres, culture,    keep SAinfo fresh and that attract so
information. Other national sites tend        the economy, development and more.          many visitors.
to focus narrowly on either tourism  also stands out among
or government services. SAinfo, by            country portals for the frequency of its

Features that were factored into SAinfo’s redesign:
   Focused, strong but not overwhelming, visual impact                 The voices of ordinary citizens
   Three-column page layout                                            Greater use of multimedia content
   Simpler navigation structure                                        Content feeds for mobile

The core task for is that of maintaining, updating and expanding one of the world’s most comprehensive
country information portals.

                                                                                    68 section pages, over 2 000 articles
     NEW CONTENT PRODUCED FOR SAINFO IN 2007/08                                     SAinfo is a constantly evolving website,
                                                                                    now running to 68 section/subsection
    Overview articles                                          34                   pages and carrying, at any one time,
    Feature articles                                          230                   over 2 000 articles. Between 100 and
    News articles                                           1 358                   150 new articles are published on the
    Total articles                                          1 622                   site every month, at an average of 5-7
    Average articles per working day                           6.6                  per working day.

                                                                                     The site is bursting with well written,
stunningly presented articles on trade and investment, international successes for South Africa and Africa, “second economy”
initiatives, tourism successes, innovations, developments in job creation, anti-corruption and more.

In the background, introductory overview material covers subjects ranging from work permits to investor guidelines, golf
courses to taxation, the education system to whale watching – complete with links to all the important related websites for
those who wish to follow up or find out more.

                                                              South Africa Interactive Map
                                                              This is given an extra dimension by a web-based mapping
                                                              search engine that is SAinfo’s strongest interactive tool, a
                                                              powerful drawcard for the portal, and a major generator of
                                                              traffic in its own right.

                                                              Number one on Google (for the search “south africa map”),
                                                              SAinfo’s map is a sophisticated, quick-loading interactive
                                                              facility that allows users to go from national to provincial to
                                                              local level in searching for route directions, street addresses,
                                                              and entities ranging from accommodation to restaurants to
                                                              hospitals to police stations.

                                                                  Traffic generated by SAinfo’s interactive map increased
                                                                  by 25% year-on-year to 1 063 890 page impressions at
                                                                  31 March 2008 (March 2007: 848 600).
Updating, site maintenance
Considerable work goes into producing, presenting and            Great care is also taken over maintaining this offering:
managing this content effectively for the web medium –           checking and updating it for accuracy, closing information
and ensuring that it speaks the language and spreads the         gaps, adding and correcting links – and always making sure
message of Brand South Africa to investors, tourists, citizens   that the site remains easily navigable.
and the South African Diaspora.

Special focus events/ issues
Events and issues that received special/ intensive coverage in       Women’s Month 2007
2007/08 included:                                                    Heritage Month 2007
                                                                     Inaugural Twenty20 Cricket World Championship
   African Union Summit 2007                                         Rugby World Cup 2007
   Freedom Day 2007                                                  2010 World Cup Preliminary Draw
   Youth Day 2007                                                    Medium Term Budget 2007
   World Economic Forum on Africa 2007                               16 Days of Activism campaign 2007
   World Association of Newspapers (WAN) Congress 2007               World Aids Day 2007
   National Arts Festival 2007                                       World Economic Forum, Davos 2008
   Crime statistics 2006/07                                          State of the Nation Address 2008
   Nelson Mandela 89th birthday                                      National Budget 2008
   2010 National Communication Partnership                           African Nations Cup 2008
   Conference 2007                                                   National electricity supply

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