If You Like Our New Site, Tell Your Friends. (If You Don’t, Tell Us.)

How you can use social media to help people connect to the all new BlackEnterprise.com.

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An important part of our strategy for driving the success of the new BlackEnterprise.com is to harness the power of social networking sites to extend the reach of our content and attract (as opposed to traditional marketing, which aims to drive) traffic. I have personally been encouraged and inspired by the example of the campaign of President-Elect Barack Obama, which used social networking to historic effect to win the White House, as we detailed in the TechWatch article “The Politics of Web Strategy” in the November 2008 issue of Black Enterprise. As the editor-in-chief of BlackEnterprise.com, I am more determined than ever to apply some of the lessons of that article to our efforts to make our web site one of the top web destinations on the Internet.

Our site has been built with a number of tools and features that make it easier than ever for people to find our content and share it with others in their networks. I’ve put together a brief list of things that everyone who believes in the Black Enterprise mission of wealth creation and financial empowerment for African Americans–especially those who are already on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Linked-In, etc.–can do to draw traffic to our site. The Black Enterprise Interactive team would appreciate you taking some time to do the following:

Click on the “Share This” link, which you’ll find at the end of every article and blog posted at dev.blackenterprise.com. You’ll have the option of e-mailing a link to the articles for others to click, which will bring them to the site to read the item. Better yet, you can post the article on your Facebook, MySpace or other social network profile page or blog. That way, all of your friends can click and read, or may even be inspired to repost it or send it to their friends, who can send it to theirs, and so on. This works really well with Facebook, where you can post articles to walls or e-mail them to your network of friends.

BlackEnterprise.com is a member of NetworkedBlogs via Facebook. If you are already on Facebook, go to http://www.networkedblogs.com/blog/blackenterprise.com and follow instructions to join our network. Once you join the group, you can invite up to 20 of your friends to join every day. So far, after only a month or so, we have more than 260 people in our network and counting. If everybody in the Black Enterprise audience who is on Facebook did the same, we should be able to reach more than a thousand people,

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  • Alfred,
    The site is good; but needs work on the margins and spacing of widgets and editorial stories. You dont want the page look too overcrowded and you dont want a web page to look like a page from The Wall Street Journal-lol.

    I am sure you have a great webmaster to work out the kinks-lol, if not look me up.

    Thanks for the working link. See you on facebook

    Sakai S’Roman

  • Michelle

    I do not like the look and feel of this new site. It looks too much like Facebook! The older BE site had a more professional and refined look that matched the look and feel of the magazine. I see a lot of business magazine Web sites are being re-designed to look more like Facebook, not a good idea in my opinion. The content on BE.com is great, but the layout is lacking. Stick to your brand essence. The homepage appears to load slowly (this could be my broadband connection, not sure).

  • Mrs. L.

    I echo Alfred’s sentiment exactly. It looks generic and not very welcoming. The older version was user friendly and had a bit more style that set this site apart from the rest. It reminds me of the new AOL BlackVoices and I stopped using that site because it looks boring. Unfortunately your site has made the same mistake. I think I’ll stick with the paper magazine and less on the generic white background and beta version. Bottom line, it’s horrid.

  • Alfred, if BE were a new company this site would be OK. But this is not up to your standards. Everything about BE has been first class: the magazine, events, etc. But not this Website. The older version needed improvement too but it was much more professional than this.

  • Thank all of you so much for the honest feedback you’ve provided! It is so very appreciated. The test of any product is whether or not it meets and exceeds the expectations of the users, so it is critical now, and will be in the future, for us to constantly seek candid assessments of what works for you and what does not. If I can ask one favor of those who have commented thus far, as well as others who will provide feedback: It would be extremely helpful if you can provide specific changes in both the aesthetics and utilities/functions of the site that you’d like to see, it would give us a solid “wish list” from which to work as we decide on what changes and improvements to implement. Sakai’s comments on the “margins and spacing of widgets” are a great example of a specific change that she’d like to see. It is much more helpful to us than more calls for the cite to look more “professional”, which, while a standard we are striving to meet, is subjective and hard to boil down into a specific set of desired changes to consider. Keep the feedback coming, y’all! We won’t rest until we get it right! Thanks, again.

  • 4U2NV

    The site does not look good at all. Too much white makes everything run together. Please consider changing immediately so I can once again enjoy BE.com. BTW, did you perform focus groups?

  • Cicely

    This is my first time actually visiting the Black Enterprise site. I feel that too much information is presented on the page. While it is helpful information, the layout is a bit overwhelming. Also, I’m a 20 year old college student, and I feel that not much on the page caters to me. Such as the “Top Schools for Blacks” list, well, why are these school tops? Could we get feedback from the students? Overall, the site is informative. I just find it hard to be able to concentrate on one article, when there is so much going on in the margin. I hope this helps!

  • J. Johnson


    The new website is quite nice. However I am continually disappointed that content on “The Black Enterprise Business Report link” is constantly out of date. This comes across as lacking in professionalism. I am a ten year subscriber of Black Enterprise magazine and enjoy it thoroughly but I am concerned that your online presence is not delivering an up to date product.

    Here’s to seeing changes in 2009.

  • This is really great feedback! Keep it coming…


  • J. Johnson, the Black Enterprise Business Report is currently on hiatus, so the November 2008 content is the most recent original show. We go back to shooting original shows, so please stay tuned for new content with the next month. In fact, once the show airs on network syndication, the BlackEnterprise.com audience will see it first thing Monday morning, before the episode reairs on TV One the following weekend.

    Again, thanks for the feedback!

  • @Alfred,

    OK Alfred, since you asked.

    Overall design. There is no doubt in my mind that this site was put together by a Web developer (a techie who knows the software and coding) and not a Web designer. Those are two different skill sets and the two talents should work together with the designer taking the lead.

    The page edge. The top bar (under ad) just stops..no left or right margin. Either encase your design or run it across the screen (encasing it gives the page a cleaner finish).

    Space fillers. It looks like everywhere you had a blank space, you just stuck something there…again, you need a designer to lay out every page just as you would your magazine.

    Individual page design. Pages aren’t consistent throughout the site…too many different things going on, too many different designs, colors, and typefaces. As I move through the site, I can’t tell that I’m on the same one. Your designer/developer should use stylesheets to ensure consistency throughout.

    Photos and other graphics. Photos/graphics look like someone forced them to fit instead of resizing them. And some of the artwork doesn’t have good resolution so it’s not sharp (e.g., on the homepage, look at the buttons: ORDER THE PRINT MAGAZINE, etc.).

    Copyright date. Change to 2009.

    Alfred, you need to start over. I don’t think you can fix this. Perhaps purchase a template that has been professionally designed then work with a designer to massage it to fit your needs (templatemonster.com or 4templates.com, etc.). The designer should take the lead on the site with the developer following their lead with Flash, etc. (Don’t overdo the Flash since you want all the search engines to easily index the site.)

    Sorry, but we hold BE to a higher standard and this site isn’t cutting it. The Web is too important not to dress it in your finest.

    Hope this helps.


  • Peggy, This definitely helps! Thanks for the specifics and attention to detail with regard to your recommendations.

    Please continue to share your thoughts and requests, everyone. We know that you have high standards, and our goal is to exceed them. Thanks again!

  • DjenaG

    I do not like the new site. I cannot find the BE 100 lists at all. And it is moving very slow. And the navigation is cumbersome. For example, the navigation bar will not allow me to move to Politics if I have scrolled over News. Also, it needs more color and visual interest. Please consider making these improvements

  • The functionality seems off somewhat as links do not work at times. The site is professional however it does not project as much class as before. I think adding weather content regarding business travel would be an asset as well. Everyone is affected by weather and it causes readers to stay longer and offers revenue opportunities

  • Oooohh…weather forecast! That’s a GREAT idea…Thanks, Michael!
    This is great stuff, everyone…keep it coming!

  • Alfred, this is off topic but related to driving BE traffic. On Twitter, you have BE magazine in background, but your tweets are personal. I’d promote BE with links to articles, great resources, queries (e.g., Careers editor looking for people who make their living full-time as a speaker), your events (e.g., We’re giving away a free ticket to conference, teleseminars, Webinars, etc.).

    Then perhaps get a different Twitter account for your personal stuff.

  • Janice

    I don’t like the new website, the older version was easier to navigate and there was more content for the business report, which I am a fan.

  • @Peggy Duncan,

    Actually, Twitter works most effectively, in terms of attracting followers, when there is a mix of both personal communication and marketing and promoting our content, events, etc. Too much of the latter is consider a major violation of Twitter etiquette, and can cause an exodus of followers. So my tweets generally are a mix of personal interaction and useful links to resources and articles, including (but not limited to) our company’s content and events. However, we also have a second Twitter account, Black Enterprise, which automatically feeds posts to the site as well as the kind of promotional tweets that you describe. That account is managed by our Interactive Editorial Director Deborah Skinner. In any case, I think your feedback will help us tweet more effectively from both accounts. Peggy, thank you so much for devoting so much time and attention to sharing your ideas on how to improve the site. I know your time is valuable, and I do not take your generous level of engagement for granted.

  • Victoria Onyeabor

    Hi Alfred!

    I’m not super website savvy but I can offer you a layman’s perspective. Overall I liked the site.

    -I agree that the navi bar dropdown is frustrating when I want to select an item in the second row.
    -The videos should have mouseover summaries. As a viewer I want to know exactly what the title, purpose, and content are in 1 sentence, before choosing what to watch
    -i really like the “top 5 stories” section and i think it should be on the home page. Consider putting something similar on the other pages, specific to their topics (e.g. only career-related top three on career page)
    -the “further reading” and “recently by abcd author” has messy looking wordwrap. maybe pad lines btw titles or add bullet points. And “recently by abcd author” should have the same format as “further reading” and “sections.” This is just one example of inconsistent formatting on the site.
    -Regarding professionalism, I didn’t feel a bedrock presence upon loading the homepage, but it was hard for me to specify WHY. So the first magazine I thought of was TIME. I’m sure you’ve already benchmarked sites of other well established magazines, but I want to point out some things I like about the TIME site:
    -Upon loading, the branded logo immediately grabs attention at the center of the page, with no distractions (and no header ads).
    -The page has a TON of content, and yet the various elements are clearly compartmentalized and separated.
    -The red outlines bring unity to the separate compartments and give the whole page a solid feel. The page is capped at both the top and bottom with an unassuming but clear navi bar. There are no ads on the home page, and everything fits the same geometry (the BE page has banner ads that dont traverse the entire page, detracting from its ‘solidity’)
    -One thing I’d change about the TIME site is that I’d arrange the compartments in a way that guides the eye in a clear path, the way an art teacher says to do in a painting. I think the BE site does an pretty good job of guiding the eye.
    -Note that the TIME site uses line padding, numbering, and bullets in different places to overcome messy word wrap.

    in fact, now having looked at everything so critically, i think peggy is probably right that this was not made by a designer. the lack of attention to aesthetics and organization is not super-obvious, but definitely clear to the critical eye. and it would be felt subconsciously by every viewer.

    i tried to be detailed–i hope this helps! I’m so happy with the new ‘digital direction’ BE is taking and I’m excited to see where we’ll be once we’ve overcome the learning curve. Thank you for the hard work and good luck 🙂


  • Nay

    I think the new BE website needs a lot of work.
    Black Enterprise is a very prestigious company, but this website undermines its outstanding credibility.

    1. The site lacks professionalism. The color contrast is dull and uninviting. There is a way to be professional w/out looking like a page of the NY Times. add a splash of color keep the black and white, with a bright, welcoming color. Maybe a deep, bold purple.

    2. The navigation bar needs some work, and some text features would help site visitors notice detail, rather than instantly leaving the site because it just looks like a million words rushed together. Organization is key!! Work on attraction, and expose feature stories and updates.

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