Monday, April 26, 2010

Monitor's new website: Lookin' good

The newly revamped Concord Monitor website launched earlier today and it is clearly an improvement over the previous site: ["Concord Monitor"].
The site looks more like a blog, and is a lot airier than the previous site. It also has broader entry points with drop down categories just below the site header.
There are some things that can be improved though.
The weather should be just below the site header, not way down, below ads. That is probably one of the most important things people want to know from a local website. Next should be photo extra, which puts a photo "above the fold" of the site and not just classifieds. This would increase the visuals of the site instead of just seeing text. After that, they could mix it up with ads, most popular, etc.
Missing, which would have been good, is a carousel of feature stories on the front. Our company unveiled this a number of years ago and people love them because it keeps the serious stories with photos up on the front of the page for more than one day (I also publish courtesy stuff up there too, just to mix it up).
They also added the actual numbers of people who have read certain stories and commented on them, which is really great. For example, this morning, one of the top stories had 15 comments. When I got done posting a comment, it was up to 23. The top story views went from single digits into the hundreds. For data geeks like me, this is a cool feature.
Personally, I don't like the color scheme. I think the blue should be darker, more serious. This is the negative side of looking more like a blog site. The newspaper's first impressions answers also has three negative answers; one positive answer. That doesn't seem fair. It's almost as if you are expecting people to hate it. I'm answering "Love it!" but I would really like to answer "I like it, it is better than before," a medium positive answer, because it is better but there are some tweaks that need to be made.
All in all, it looks good and is a real improvement over the previous site.

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