Website redesign getting rave reviews
Published 3:21 pm Thursday, June 16, 2005
I hope you've visited our website since its redesign debuted on June 1. If not, it's worth your time.
We have five websites, one for each of our products at Leader Publications.
I'm enjoying our websites' 60-Second Interviews. Bill Kelly's and Lee Funk's in the Niles Daily Star and John Cureton's in the Dowagiac Daily News were of particular interest to me. The 60-Second Interviews are incentive for you to visit our site daily because they change daily on our daily paper sites, www.nilesstar.com
The interviews are the brainchild of Sue Wills, long-time Leader Publications graphic artist, who was the winner of an employee contest to generate fun and interesting ideas for our website. Sue won a day off with pay for her good idea.
The website redesign sports some creative flags, which were designed by Leader Publications graphic artist Amy Payne. The flag on each newspaper home page includes in the design a recognizable landmark of that community.
The redesign was aimed at making the site easier to use. Navigation bars were moved from down the left side to the top of the page. And there are easy links to each of our Leader Publication home pages, as well as to our Reader Forum. There's always an interesting debate going on in that forum.
You can also order photos from our printed edition right on our website through the Dotphoto.com link. And, if you want to pick up an extra printed edition, our rack and dealer locations for each of our products are listed under the "General Info" tool on the navigation bar.
We're also excited about work we're doing right now to make placing a classified ad online an easier process. We're working with a company called "Place My Ad" to streamline the classified ad placement product.
When it goes online, which we're expecting to happen at the end of June, you'll be able to design your ad online, even download photos of items, like automobiles, you want to sell. You'll get to see online exactly what your ad will look like and will be able to choose among a number of features to get your classified ad notices.
The online ad placement experience will even offer you suggestions for wording and other prompts that will help you sell your unwanted items.
We're pretty proud of our website redesign and your response to it. Our webstats for page views, which were very healthy to begin with, have increased dramatically.
Check out our website. I'd love to hear what you think about it. Post a message online on our Reader Forum or drop me an email. My email address is at the bottom of this column.
Little Nikki Cooper has graduated from high school. Nikki, the daughter of Dennis and Mary Cooper of Niles, has been our newsroom assistant during her senior year at Brandywine High School. She has worked as a co-op student and been responsible for typing in obituaries, Lou Liebetrau's weekly column and other information submitted to us by our readers. Nikki has also happily handled a myriad of other tasks for a number of other departments here.
While she will continue to work through the summer, we're going to miss her when she goes to school this fall at Grand Rapids Community College, where she will be a scholarship athlete on the college's volleyball team.
Dennis and Mary have raised-are raising-some great kids. They have five, all pretty close in age. Mary, until very recently, worked with us here.
Now, she's venturing out on her own, plans to create a Christian newspaper aimed at serving the churches in Southwestern Michigan and Northern Indiana.
We wish Nikki - and Mary - all our best.