All about our homepage

Our homepage is dynamically populated and ordered based on the popularity of our content, meaning that the more popular content will feature higher on the page, regardless of its age.

We’ve done this for several reasons:

  1. It’s fun to play around with different concepts.
  2. Given the nature of us and our visitors, there’s a high chance that you’re here for the same reasons other people have been here, so this allows us to serve the right content more often without any intrusive tracking or ‘personalisation’.
  3. We’re very interested in the currency of information, and doing this is a great test bed for putting data presentation in the ‘now’.

There are some problems with this approach, of course. Firstly, how do you get new content in front of people if old content, purely through its age, will be ‘more popular’ and thus higher up the list?

Secondly, How do you ensure that old content that was popular doesn’t dominate the homepage long after it’s ceased to be relevant?

This is where it gets interesting to us, because it means we have to put an algorithm in place. In this case, quite a simple one…but it’s still fun to play around.

Every time a page or post is visited on our site, it is given a hit count which is then turned into points, and the posts with the most points come first…but there are rules:

  1. For the first week, every hit is worth one (1) point
  2. In the second week, each hit adds just a tenth (0.1) of a point
  3. After week four, each hit will add a hundredth (0.01) of a point
  4. Once a week from week 5 onwards, any pages or posts in the top twenty percent (20%) of popular records will have five percent (5%) of its total points.
  5. For the first 24 hours after being published, every post and page will be given ten thousand (10,000) points to ensure that it features well on the homepage. These points will be automatically deducted after 24 hours and the post will have to fend for itself.

This approach ensures that every new bit of content gets a chance to be seen, and that the older a post gets, the harder it will have to work to remain popular. Those which are perpetually popular will remain so simply through virtue of generating more points than they have removed, and those which fall out of favour will naturally start to fall down the rankings.

We must say, this is a total work in progress, and we’ll be monitoring the movement of our content, and tweaking the algorithm, to ensure that things do actually work as we expect them to. We’ll blog about it when we start to see results 🙂

Contact us

tel: 0161 762 1121