Making new headlines
Back in the summer we discussed me coming on to this blog roughly once per month to update on what the BBC Sport website was up to, and what our plans would be for the coming period.
I missed October, although my bosses, Ben Gallop and Barbara Slater, both blogged, so hopefully that got me off the hook! But I'm back now, with a few things to mention.
Firstly, you will start to see some headlines on our website that look slightly different, and probably longer, than the ones you are used to. This is because of a thing called Search Engine Optimisation, which ourselves and BBC News are entering into. Steve Herrmann, the Editor of the BBC News website, blogged about this last week, and at the risk of repeating slightly what he wrote, this is basically about making our content more easy to find on search engines.
In the case of sport, you can quite easily see why traditional headlines do not help the audience find those stories on search engines. Down the years, users of newspapers and then websites got used to seeing Liverpool referred to as the Reds, for instance, but I doubt many Liverpool fans out there search online for Reds very often. You would presumably type in Liverpool. Equally, Gerrard is not as good as Steven Gerrard if you are trying to help people find a story about that particular player.
The headlines on both the News and the Sport websites have been a set length (between 31 and 33 characters) for around seven years now, because the same stories have been used on Ceefax as well as online. Ceefax's maximum headline length is 33, and we decided that editorially anything less than 31 was too short on that platform. But although this restriction came about because of the platform, rather than for editorial reasons, we found that 31-33 characters allowed you to sum up just about any story perfectly adequately.
For this reason - and because Ceefax will survive for a few more years yet - we are keeping this length of headlines on our front page, and sport-by-sport pages (we call them indexes, or indices for the pedants in the office). But when you click through to the actual story itself, you will generally see a more expansive headline with more information to help those using search engines.
Apart from that change, it's been a quieter period for sports news recently, or it was until Thierry Henry's handball last week, which prompted a flood of interest and coverage, and saw a surge of visitors to our website.
Our live coverage of the reaction to Thierry Henry's handball
The day after the handball, last Thursday, we carried a rolling, live, text blog of the reaction to what happened. There was so much to cover, coming in thick and fast, that we felt this was the best way to present it, and it also allowed us to use contributions from our audience, via 606, Twitter and text.
If you saw this rolling text coverage on Thursday, I would be interested to know what you thought about it as a way of covering live, updating sports news. Generally, we only use it to cover actual live sport, rather than reaction to live sport!
We will roll out the first version of our Winter Olympics site in December, to coincide with the return to TV screens of a new series of Ski Sunday. The full version of the site will come in time for the start of the event itself, which takes place in Vancouver from February 12-28.
By the time we get to the event, our site will have live streaming of all the TV coverage (for UK users only) plus catch-up video for those that find the time difference (Vancouver is eight hours behind GMT) difficult.
There will be live text commentary, Tweets and blogs from reporters including Sir Matthew Pinsent and Lizzie Greenwood-Hughes, schedule, results and medals tables, reports and photo galleries, venue guides, sport-by-sport guides, athlete profiles, and more.
The next big date for the World Cup is the draw in Johannesburg on 4 December. Again, we will have some brand new content in time for that, with much more to follow when the tournament gets a little nearer (it's 11 June to 11 July).
Plans for the World Cup are a little less advanced than for Vancouver, but I will keep returning here to update, and it's definitely worth checking the site around the day of the draw for some content that ought to really whet the appetite ahead of football's greatest event, which is now a mouth-watering six-and-a-bit months away!
Lewis Wiltshire is the Editor of the BBC Sport website.