New site launches this week

The latest chapter in our on-line efforts takes flight this week.

Our local designers have worked hard on the project taking it from concept to a usable platform that we are confident will impress visitors. Information will be easier to locate, as will interaction between the digital platform and the printed word. Advertising and News submission will be far easier with this system. It’s all about customer service.

And that, perhaps, is the best place to start the conversation on local media, small business, marketing and how increasingly, the digital divide plays out as an us versus them, rather than another element of the marketing mix.

When we pioneered online News in Wellington County 16 years ago, our own reporters had a great sense of hesitation. The what-ifs and supposing that questions flew like bees from a hive struck by a stick. It was incredible, really. The questions, of course, were about providing free News on-line and free in the paper. How would that work? How could it work? Well, it has worked and become an excellent example in customer service.

Our letters pages are well known, demonstrating an immensely engaged audience full of opinion and interest in what goes on across Wellington County. People are not content living in a bubble, surrounded by like-minded people. They want to think and expand and grow.

The editor’s email is topped off regularly with – “a letter from the website has been received.” Of course, that makes this recipient quite happy, to see people getting involved in causes or ideas. It is also rewarding to see county issues that affect all its inhabitants being understood as the regional issues that they are.

Businesses that invest their advertising dollars with us are much the same, too. They want to be part of a bigger audience, not relegated to a corner of the county, much less a few side streets. One of the larger detractors to a successful shop local movement comes when marketers or even business owners define “local” in its strictest sense. Fact of the matter is any merchant with a good product or business offering a service in need will be sought out. Proof of that is found in our print edition each week. As we move forward there are a few features of interest with our new website.

The archives are still in place for previous articles dating back numerous volumes. Most articles are automatically archived, with the exception of the police beat and driving charges.

Many of the print products we publish are available as digital flipbooks, including our ever popular, Inside Wellington section. Countless readers have enjoyed sending a link or web address to our site so family members and friends elsewhere can read about one of the many interesting people we have interviewed. Those flipbooks are also searchable, so advertisers get the advantage of being found on-line numerous times after being published in print.

Events continue to be posted in aid of local groups and truly non-profit enterprises engaged in community betterment. A submission tool is available to make it easy for those groups to send along their information.

The site is now sortable so residents can quickly review News of interest in their particular municipality, or by subject. That ability to prioritize News will serve readers better, certainly as we add more exciting features that are still in development.

As always, we are interested in feedback from our readers and advertisers. There are numerous other opportunities that we will be announcing soon, on-line and in print.

Even with all of that change, it’s important to note our business ethic remains the same – all about the community – “We cover the county.”