The Washington Post debuted its paywall and digital subscription plans last week, with a mix of best and worst practices.The Post’s website served up a banner pencil ad on the homepage advertising the new digital subscriptions, wisely not calling it a paywall or meter (see below).
Clicking on the ad got a visitor to the conversion page. Here, The Post had a mixed design. It employed certain best practices, such as highlighting a subscription plan and getting rid of all distractions from conversion, like navigation bars. But it also used a two-column form, which will likely lead to more instances of incorrect data entry. Plus, the actual conversion button looks like a divider and has boring, un-compelling copy (i.e., “Place Your Order”).
But The Post’s biggest problem may be the unclear placement of its paywall. It’s unclear how many articles a visitor can read for free before hitting a paywall, and by offering free access to various groups (students, teachers, government employees, home subscribers), it’s sometimes unclear if one has to pay.