This is the second in a series of interviews with editors on some of Canada’s top magazine websites. (Jennifer Campbell of Fashion was the first.) Know someone I should interview? Let me know!
Tell me about your site.
The newly redesigned CanadianGardening.com is a helpful resource for gardeners of all levels with a wide range of content from practical how-to advice to inspirational garden projects, helpful step-by-step videos to garden gear suggestions.
About 25 percent of the content is original work written by freelancers, including articles, quizzes and video. About 75 percent of the content is repurposed from the magazine.
There are currently two blogs on the site. I write a blog called The Budding Gardener – I’m a complete novice, but I love to garden, so this is a way for me to learn and share my successes and failures with other newbies.
We just ran our first UGC contest where users had to upload their before and after photos of a home or garden makeover. Readers were able to vote and comment on the best entries. The ability to upload articles, photos and video will be developed at a later date.
There is also a biweekly newsletter and RSS feeds.
Web 2.0 features include:
• Commenting on articles and blogs
• “Clip this”, which is the ability to save articles and come back to them later
• Bookmarking – the ability to post a link to Facebook, Delicious and Digg, plus “Share This” currently on blogs
• Voting and commenting on the contest (see above)
• RSS feeds
• Network panel: “My Home & Garden Network” – where you can track account information, newsletters, your clippings, subscriptions, comments, and poll and quiz results, and upload or choose an avatar.
What’s your average traffic, and what part of your site is the most popular?
The average traffic is about 112,000 pageviews a month. We definitely get a lot more traffic in the spring and summer months.
The most popular part of the site is the forums. We have a very active and helpful community of users who help each other with gardening problems, exchange seeds and information, but also talk about a variety of non-gardening topics.
What feature of your site are you proudest of and why?
I’m proud to have been a part of the entire relaunch of CanadianGardening.com, as well as CanadianHomeAndCountry.com (October) and, coming up, CanadianHomeWorkshop.com.
You suddenly have an unlimited budget. What’s the first thing you spend it on?
I would spend it on useful tools for readers: a virtual garden where you can play with different layouts of your yard and gardens; an online garden journal/scrapbook to keep track of all your plant information and photos; a gardening encyclopedia; and more how-to videos and articles.
What websites and social media tools can’t you live without?
I use NetVibes to keep track of all the cool sites and apps I come across and want to check on regularly.
I love the BBC Gardening site, You Grow Girl, plus craft and decor blogs Marie Claire Idées, decor8, Tip Junkie and Martha Stewart. I love to browse Etsy and I subscribe to a ton of magazine and site newsletters – NewYorkTimes.com, Real Simple, Sweetspot.ca, Daily Candy, PaperDoll, Goop, HGTV and the list goes on – and on!
I still use Facebook to keep in touch with friends and run a CanadianGardening.com Facebook group.
Tara Nolan has been web editor for CanadianGardening.com, CanadianHomeAndCountry.com and CanadianHomeWorkshop.com since June. She has also worked at Yahoo Canada as the editor of the Lifestyle channel and has freelanced for a variety of print and online publications, including Style at Home, Homemakers, Parents, Green Living, Microsoft Home Magazine and CanadianLiving.com.