If you are a regular visitor to our website — www.thedailynews.cc — you’re going to notice a difference today.
A huge difference.
If you haven’t visited our site much in the past, this holiday weekend would be a great time to check it out as the tryptophan takes over and one football game runs into the next.
Today marks the unveiling of a completely new online experience for The Daily News.
“The most important element of our new Daily News website is interactivity for our readers,” Stafford Media Solutions General Manager Phil Tower said. “They’ll find it much easier to leave comments on stories, view news photos, watch our videos and interact with our reporters. Another big change is that anything on our website can be immediately shared on any given reader’s Facebook page or Twitter feeds. We built this site with the intention of making contributions from readers and sharing of content on the site super easy.”
Since August of 1999 The Daily News has offered some of its content online. We started with the address www.staffordgroup.com and posted our top two stories of the day, plus one photo and had a few administrative options.
Humble beginnings, for sure.
As our online needs grew and our Internet audience evolved, we switched to www.thedailynews.cc, added more content and features, allowed readers to comment on stories and began a presence on social media websites.
We’ve never had much control over the design and how the content was organized because an outside vendor has hosted, designed and maintained our website for us. We also have had little flexibility to respond to the rapid changes in the online world.
With some assistance from Daily News and Stafford Media Solutions staff members, web developer Andy Kraft, a Greenville High School graduate, has spent several months building our new website. We plan on managing it ourselves and populating it with 100 percent local content.
“This website was a great opportunity to show off some local power,” Kraft said. “Teaming up with Stafford Media Solutions to create an awesome platform is something I am truly proud of. My hope is that people will see the website more as a local communication hub and will take advantage of the improved localized interaction.”
What you see today is our first effort. Our goal is to evolve from this point by responding to our users’ desires, to our staff’s needs and to the rapidly moving media world. A few of our new features include:
• Signup and log in: Many features, including commenting, requires users to be signed into the website. Click “Sign up” in the upper right corner of the home page to get started.
• Hyperlocal organization: While our home page is a great place to get started, the real depth of the new website is in its community pages. Each of the main areas we cover has its own site without our website. Belding, Carson City, Greenville, Lakeview, Stanton, the Panhandle and Edmore all have news organized specifically for their areas. Stories that affect multiple communities may be posted in multiple sections.
• Larger photos, videos and slideshows: Users often had to strain to see photos on our former site. But that was the template our host provided and we couldn’t change it. Our photos and videos are now much easier to view and if we have a lot of photos from an event, we can attach a gallery to any article.
• Social sharing features: Share our content on Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets
• Author’s box: Connect with our writers with links to email, Facebook and Twitter at the end of each article.
• Submit news: Click on “Submit News” and send a story, photo or a tip to our editors.
We’re also working on an events calendar, community forums, a better blog page and much more. We’ve been posting content on the beta version of this new site since August so there will be a lot to discover and rediscover.
Find our story and video of Montabella football’s first playoff win in the Edmore section. Share the video of Belding’s marching band preparing for the state finals on your Facebook page. Tweet the story of Carson City hunters who film for a television show. View our slideshow of the West Michigan Healing Field.
Rate a few articles. Make a constructive comment. Place a classified ad. Click on the “Feedback” button and tell us what you think.
“This project will never be marked completed,” Stafford Media Solutions Information Technology Manager Chris Simpson said. “We plan to grow and to change as your needs change. Your feedback during these first few weeks is very welcome so please let us know what you think.”
We realize many people don’t like change, but our goal is to evolve from here and use a hyperlocal focus to become on online hub for the communities we serve.