New website off to a strong start

May 10, 2011

 

Our webmaster, Don Rogers, is working hard in preparing our e-edition for launch. This means that you will be able to see the entire Grand Haven Tribune online — for a nominal fee. This should be especially appealing for our “snowbirds,” who want to keep up with the news from Northwest Ottawa County while they’re wintering in warmer climes.

One of the complaints I used to receive on a regular basis was how slow mail delivery of the Tribune was to their destinations down South. They also wouldn’t get the paper in the order it was published.

That will all change with the e-edition. We’ll provide you with more information as we move closer to the launch date.

So why did the Tribune change its website? We had no choice. The older site was cumbersome and prone to crashes. This was especially so right after the paper hit the presses at 11 a.m. Our visitors were flocking to our site at that time to find out what was going on in their neighborhoods.

The new website is much easier for our staff to post stories, photos, videos and update. In the past, there were numerous steps that had to be taken before an item could be posted on the web.

A new feature that is now on our website is the ability for our readers to post comments on stories. We hope you take advantage of this feature. It’s rather easy to use. At the end of each story, you see a place in which you can write comments. All you have to do is register your e-mail account.

We already have some readers who are posting comments on a regular basis. We appreciate those comments, but we ask that you refrain from using inappropriate language, making racist comments, making personal attacks or making libelous comments.

But this is a great and easy way of giving us feedback on our stories. Believe me, we do read the comments.

We have had to make some decisions that haven’t been as popular. We are no longer posting obituaries online, unless a small fee ($25) is paid. This was a business decision that we chose to make.

We’re also posting just a portion of most stories that are published in the newspaper. Each day, we choose a top story that is put on the web in its entirety.

When newspapers first began to develop websites, most of them gave away their content. The idea was to generate enough traffic to their websites, which in turn would entice more advertisers.

Now the trend is shifting. Newspapers have learned that they need to be fair to their subscribers who pay for their product, and they are looking at their websites as potential sources of income.

The fact is, the print product is in trouble. Many of the larger newspapers are experiencing huge drops in circulation — and that translates into loss of advertising dollars.

When our e-edition is launched in the near future, you’ll be able to see all the stories and photos that appeared in the printed product.

The newspaper business is changing and we’re trying to change with it.

As always, we would appreciate your comments. You can e-mail me at lpainter@grandhaventribune.com or call me at 842-6400, ext. 232.

 

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