I’ve learned two things over the last few months about launching a new Web site: Don’t do it unless you’re committed. The process promotes gray hair.
Last year, probably during the summer — it’s a blur now — a few of us at the paper got to thinking. That’s generally a dangerous undertaking, more so when the topic is technology, which we in the print medium have embraced like children embrace vaccinations — we’re told it’s good for us, it probably is, maybe, but damn.
The decision to give theind.com an overhaul — I would have said face lift, but that’s far too light a word; this is more akin to a lobotomy — grew from a mishmash of concerns: The Web site can and should be more user-friendly; it should encourage the user to explore and be engaged without getting lost; too little content is displayed on the home page; those drop down menus are infuriating; the staff isn’t sufficiently stressed out. And certainly not least of all is the realization that, our 20th century sentiments notwithstanding, some day in the not too distant future most print media will be mostly digital, and if we don’t begin moving in that direction, we’re screwed.
The caveat dangling like a modifier over this paradigm shift is that few newspapers have figured out how to make their digital component profitable. But figure it out we must. The Pandora’s Box — free content — was thrown open long ago, and I doubt even the mighty New York Times, which plans to begin charging for content soon, can close it.
At the new ind.com you’ll still see the print edition’s content on the home page: the cover story, lead news and Pooyie! in rotation at the top; the rest of the content is on the left rail under the header “Also This Week.” Below the cover story is the new and improved blogs section. Each header — INDreporter (politics and news), Acadiana Business, A&E, EATS (cooking, dining, drinking and restaurant news), INDextra (sports and anything else that needs a home) and What’s INDStore (yes, even our ad reps are now blogging) — links to zones on the site devoted exclusively to that specific type of content. The most recent blogs in those zones are displayed on the home page as well. Soon we’ll be bringing on more bloggers to add to and diversify our content, especially in EATS, which we all know is a central aspect of life in Lafayette.
Thanks go out to Chad Theriot and especially Blake Judice, our point men at CBM Technology, who led us through the process with patience, or who only cursed our technological ignorance when we weren’t in earshot. We didn’t know what a widget was and they didn’t know what a byline was, but somehow we bridged the communication gulf and arrived at a site we think is better.
It is a given, however, that no small number of you will not like it and will be happy to register your displeasure (and already have — the site went live last Thursday night). It is a significant change. One of the joys of my job is that I get notifications in my in-box every time someone posts a comment on our Web site — all the bile and bane. I’m sure by the time you’re reading this in print, I will have been adequately napalmed by the nabobs.
But we’re confident that most Ind readers will enjoy their experience. We won’t float ads across the screen or use pop-ups (not for now, anyway), or require a log-in for access to content. But we do want you to wander around theind.com, to explore and, especially, to join in the running dialogue about our community.
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Three bedroom Sunset Victorian or three bedroom Opelousas Acadian home
Louisiana designer commissioned for NYC Awards gift
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Business First Bank has announced plans for a Baton Rouge market expansion through a merger deal with American Gateway Financial Corp.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
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Advocate columnist and Jindal shill Quin Hillyer has been against the New Orleans levee board lawsuit from day one, but a recent piece targeting author/activist John Barry prompted the perfect rebuttal from the board’s former vice-president, who takes Hillyer to task on just about every distorted claim he’s made on the issue.
Thursday's Blogs from the Bog!
INDEats and EatLafayette want to give one lucky foodie and friends the most memorable meal — here’s how you can win
Pat Bowlen steps down; typhoon caused Taiwan plane crash; Arizona execution botched and more national and international news for Thursday, July 24, 2014.
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Three bedroom traditional Lafayette home or three bedroom Breaux Bridge home
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Acadiana's nightlife guide.
Louisiana fell one spot in an annual national ranking of child well-being that looks at poverty, education and health access.
A federal judge has decided he doesn't need to hear more arguments in the case of a gay couple who want a Louisiana marriage license.
Saints again bring playoff aspirations into 2014 campaign.
New details in the case against the man arrested for last week’s bomb threat and bank robbery has surfaced, including a MidSouth Bank surveillance video showing the alleged suspect attempt an early-morning bank robbery.
Citing conflicting witness accounts, the city prosecutor will not pursue Tehmi Chassion’s allegation of simple battery against Superintendent Pat Cooper.
Smoked meat, fresh sides and the best boudin around
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers opens on Johnston.
Cirque du Soleil effortlessly combines circus art with beloved Michael Jackson hits.
Kelly Guidry Open House
Parents and teachers who support the Common Core education standards sued Gov. Bobby Jindal Tuesday over his actions against the multi-state standards, accusing him of illegally meddling in education policy.
Acadiana's nightlife guide.
An arrest was announced this morning in connection with last week’s bomb scare at UL Lafayette.
Attorneys, judges and others interviewed by LaPolitics expect 15 to 20 district judge races this year.