SHERIDAN — Our website has been in the ditch, as the saying goes. Under repair.
We messed up, we know it and we are in the process of remedy. Today, we launch again – a new website, what we call www.thesheridanpress.com, version 2.0.
This is an apology for all the hassles, a timeline of events, an explanation of what happened and what’s ahead as we move forward.
In late 2011, The Sheridan Press decided to upgrade its first-ever website. The old one was a bit of a clunker and wasn’t flexible to the demands of an ever-growing online readership. We went from a basic online presence, to a site that was designed, hosted and supported by an Illinois-based company, TownNews. That website upgrade gave the Press the ability to post photo galleries, provide breaking news, video reporting and many other features. It was a step forward.
As time passed, however, we became frustrated with customer service issues, communication difficulties and we wanted to “go local” with our online media. Ptolemy Data Systems, our technology vendor since 2010, has done a terrific job with us and we will expand our relationship with them as our host.
The web site design component of the project, which dated back to late last year, was the part of the equation that didn’t work out. Newspaper web sites, given the expansive content of stories, photos, videos, submission forms for advertising and news releases, have a lot of moving parts. The day we launched our redesigned web site, March 4, was a disaster. The website was dysfunctional and incomplete. To ease the collective online pain, we removed our “pay wall,” putting all content online free of charge.
Since March 4, we have moved forward.
The Sheridan Press contracted with Henry Lopez of Santa Fe. His company, Lopez Webworks, is one that’s plugged into the digital world of newspapers nationally. Lopez is a respected designer and consultant. He dropped what he was doing, rode to our rescue, taking residence in one of our small offices and began the rebuild from scratch. Lopez accomplished much in a short period with competence, grace and humor. The end result is what we launch today. It is a new website that is efficient, attractive; it’s easy to use and one that will serve our subscribers, advertisers and the greater Sheridan community. The Press’ digital media will continue to be a part of the greater package of print and online media, the leading source of local news and marketing.
Let us know what you think.
We have expanded our national content with The Associated Press to include Digital AP, a program that features more national and regional news, more sports and videos from the NFL, college sports and Major League Baseball, all of it updating itself. This is a big deal and we’re the only local news source that has this feature.
Another unique feature is what’s called “responsive design.” This is a reasonably new development in online media — a design that compels our website to the shape of the device from which the reader is using it — desktop computer, laptop, tablet or smartphone.
Too, we have new online features coming soon that will further expand our content. More about that later. Today, the launch.
For the next few weeks, all content will remain free of charge to familiarize readers with the new website. To be fair, those subscribers who were with us when it fell apart March 4 and stayed with us, you’ll have your online subscription extended.
As always, we thank you for reading The Sheridan Press.