MORRIS - Although the Morris Sun Tribune is a weekly newspaper, here in the office we work with a daily newspaper mentality because of our website. Each day, we try to make sure we have new and interesting content to post online, rather than just on Saturdays when the print newspaper comes out.
On a good week, this means getting stories about the city council or school board posted online soon after the meeting, or having photos and a recap from a football game up online well before it appears in the print newspaper.
Often we end up thinking about the website and the print newspaper as different products that require different kinds of content. As a result, what you can find online and what you'll see in the newspaper are a little bit different. For example, more content is posted online than will fit in our print newspaper, and some print stories - like Judy Riley's monthly Sunspots column - don't appear online until a few days after the paper goes to print.
Starting early next week, our online presence is going to look quite different, thanks to a website redesign that will make our site more visually appealing and mobile friendly. There's more detail about this switch in a story on Page 1, so I'll just highlight some of my favorite parts here.
Over the last month, our website received nearly 7,500 visits from mobile devices like the iPad, iPhone, and other smartphones and tablets. The new website will work much better with mobile devices and look great on full-size computer screens. I'm personally excited about the new look, and I hope you will be too.
One of my other favorite features of the new site is the new menus across the top of the page. If you hover your mouse over one of the categories (News, Sports, Obituaries, Celebrations, Opinion, or Farm), you will see a list of the most recent stories in that topic.
You can also find the most recent stories posted as well as trending headlines (similar to our current "Most Read" tab) right near the top of the page. These features should make it much easier to see the new and popular content available on our website.
As we look at switching to the new website, we had the opportunity to make some small changes to how the website organization and navigation works. We've tried to simplify how we organize content and, we hope, make specific stories easier to find by grouping them with stories on similar topics.
We are only the fourth newspaper in the Forum Communications Co. family to switch to this new website design, so there are still some kinks to work out. The programming that makes the site work is as different from our old website as the outside appearance, so there is a learning curve for us to learn how to get content online.
As a staff, we've been working hard behind the scenes to learn how our new website works and head off any bugs or questions that might come up, but I hope you'll be patient with us as we learn a new system too.
If you have any questions about the new website, please don't hesitate to contact me via e-mail - firstname.lastname@example.org - or call our office at (320) 589-2525.