Technorati Gives Blog Network Blogcritics A Much Needed Facelift

Technorati has fully redesigned Blogcritics, a seven-year old blog network that the media company acquired last August, in an effort to drive more traffic to the site. We originally wrote about Blogcritics in 2005. Blogcritics currently is a community of 3,300 writers who have published more than 84,000 articles, providing bloggers an entry point to publish their content to a more widely-visited site. The content on the site hasn’t changed much; it’s will simply be packaged in a sleeker, more user-friendly interface. Currently, the site’s design and interface is bland and features very little in terms of images.

The new design, which will be rolled out at 1 AM PST tonight, features a new logo, a more colorful interface, and is well-organized. The site contains a new feature “ObamaNation,” that will analyze the impact President Obama is having on pop culture. It also allows users to follow their favorite writers by listing all of the content a writer has created both on and off the Blogcritics platform. All in all, it is a big improvement in terms of the way the site looks and feels.

Blogcritics, which is similar to Salon’s Open Salon, draws about 1 million unique monthly visitors, according to Google Analytics. The site hasn’t increased traffic since its acquisition last summer—the site had about 1 million monthly uniques at that point as well, so this is clearly an effort to spruce up the blog community to drive more traffic. The site currently runs ads completely through Technorati’s ad network.

Technorati Media has been through several acquisitions and redefining changes under CEO Richard Jalichandra, who joined the company in October 2007. Last June, the company launched Technorati Media, a blog advertising network. Prior to launching the ad network, Technorati raised $7.3 million in a fourth round of financing through Draper Fisher Jurvetson, Mobius Venture Capital and FG Incubation.

Last fall, Technorati acquired AdEngage to join the company’s newly formed blog advertising network. And most recently, Technorati launched a new directory of ‘tag’ pages, offering brief overviews of a variety of tech-related topics.

Unfortunately, Technorati hasn’t been immune to layoffs during the current economic climate. A few weeks ago, the company let go 10 percent of its staff, or 4 employees, and also suffered through an earlier round of layoffs last September and also implemented pay cuts for remaining staff.

But Jalichandra told us that that the blog search engine is growing and layoffs were necessary to “fine tune” its business model to eventually become profitable. Jalichandra has also said that while the timing of launching an ad network a few months before the market crashed wasn’t optimal, quarterly ad revenue has grown by 6.5 times since the launch of Technorati Media last June, when presumably its revenues were negligible.

Here’s a look at the old homepage: