About.com launches first standalone health site Verywell

“We wanted to highlight and hone in on our voice as a trusted friend who is a doctor/trainer/nurse/caregiver," said About.com CEO Neil Vogel.

About.com, known as an online resource with topic sites ranging from money to style, has launched its first standalone site for health.  Replacing About.com/health, Verywell.com features a broad spectrum of physician-reviewed health and wellness content, including information about chronic conditions, fitness, nutrition, pregnancy, and health insurance.

“As the world has evolved, we don't think that general-interest websites are where people want to get important health information,” said Neil Vogel, CEO of About.com. “It turns out that as part of About.com, we're the third to fourth largest website around health. This great content was getting lost in the overall About.com ecosystem.”

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Compared to other health websites on the market, Verywell.com aims to take a human approach that is “kinder, gentler but not dumbing everything down,” said Vogel.  “We wanted to highlight and hone in on our voice as a trusted friend who is a doctor/trainer/nurse/caregiver. It's like talking to your friend, as opposed to going through some scary medical situation.”

All articles are produced by Verywell's more than 120 health experts, including doctors, nurses, trainers, and dietitians. A board of 12 physicians reviews and approves the content, said Rachel Berman, senior director of content.

The company also brought in its first medical advisor: Dr. David Katz, who is a founding director of Yale University's Yale-Griffin Prevention Research Center and the founder of the True Health Initiative. “Dr. Katz is helping us set our course and strategy,” said Vogel.

The new site has a responsive and clean design with little advertising on each page. “What we have found in our work is that you can put a little less advertising on the page, and it is incredibly effective because it's the only ad on the page,” said Vogel. “It's a very clear experience for our users. We let them experience the content and we let them experience the ads if they want.”

Vogel said he hopes Verywell will become a cross-generational platform like The Atlantic or The New York Times that reaches millennials and those who are more Internet-savvy. “It's an opportunity to reach a whole new generation seeking advice and to grab their loyalty,” he said.

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Vogel said The About Group plans to roll out additional standalone sites throughout the year,  but that final plans have not been determined.

“We will learn a lot from the launch of Verywell as to how to have a thriving vertical brand,” said Vogel. “We will likely focus on topics like personal finance, travel, tech, style – areas we have scale and real expertise, and a point of view.”