Editor’s Note: The new c-ville.com

Or how we learned to love WordPress

Editor’s Note: The new c-ville.com

We launched a new website today. People are launching new websites every day, but it’s a big deal for us as a print-focused media company that’s been on the same online platform since 2006. I arrived at the paper last year from a digital startup in a small market that used WordPress and harnessed community-sourced news. I wanted to do the same thing at C-VILLE, but it’s a totally different proposition to embrace digital media trends with a successful print weekly to run. Frank Dubec, our publisher, and I have been working on this site redevelopment since last September, so we’re very excited about today. We hope you will be too. To invoke The Specials, it’s the dawning of a new era.

If you’ve ever been frustrated with our website, you’re in good company. Our staff has been, too. When we decided to redevelop, we thought it would be easy. Copy someone who’s doing it well and don’t spend too much money. Not so fast, my friend. Who exactly has done media site development well? The Village Voice overspent and never made its money back. The national aggregation sites (Gawker, HuffPo, etc.) don’t have to deal with print (or reporting for that matter). The New York Times has 11,000 more employees than we do. The free weeklies of our size have better or worse versions of the same basic design, namely a home page carved up into a gajillion windows that lead to mysterious bits of content (see clatl.com). Add to that landscape the fact that we got price quotes for the build ranging from $7,000 to $65,000. Your sandwich will be either 15 cents or 20 bucks, sir. Hokay. Now slap on top of all that the reality that while readers are moving to the Web for information, print media companies (see newspapers) only make between 4 and 20 percent of their annual revenue through online ad sales.

Ryan DeRose and his company Vibethink—a one-man team when we signed them up, and a five-person shop on the Downtown Mall now—built the new version of c-ville.com. Ryan and Matt Clark, who also worked closely with us, attended Western Albemarle and Nelson County high schools, respectively, so we kept things local. What really sold us on their team was that they shared our ideas about what makes a good local media site, and they cared about our paper’s role in the community. We wanted to make something that was easy to use (for us and for you); we wanted to strip away unnecessary distractions from the content; and we wanted to create a platform that we could constantly modify and improve as things changed. We wanted a site that would show up well on all your devices, that integrated social media seamlessly, and that showcased our photographers and writers.

Mostly though, we wanted something that our readers would love to use. Best Of C-VILLE 2012 is all about the love. Consider the new website our long overdue institutional love letter to you, and please help us make it better by sending your ideas and suggestions.

  • http://www.facebook.com/PeteArmetta Pete Armetta

    Looks terrific, it POPS! 🙂 Best of luck to you.

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  • JimT

    Your new website looks fresh. One glaring omission, however, is a dateline on the stories. A terrible oversight for a news site. No way to tell if it was written this week or a year ago.

  • gileser

    Thanks Jim T. We’re on it.

  • Ruby

    It does look great! Much cleaner, easier to read. Great job! Found a couple little things here that I commented on: http://www.c-ville.com/events/happy-new-ears/

  • Ruby

    One more thing: the Events page loads fine in Chrome, but in Firefox all the events pile up on top of each other on the right side so you can’t actually read or click on anything. FYI.

  • Bill T

    Fresh site. So far, so good. Kudos. Love the new, and MUCH improved way to leave comments. I think it’ll really do wonders to up your site traffic and the conversation between your readers.

  • Jen

    I find it difficult to read on my IPhone .

    • gileser

      Hmmm, Jen. Any specific post? It’s looking good on mine right now…

  • John W.

    The new site is terrific!


  • Cal

    Maybe its, me, but I think something’s wrong with the calendar. When I click on a day in the upper right hand corner of the site, nothing happens.

  • FR

    The new layout is an improvement………BUT here is the dilemma: I can’t email a story. So you may tell me I’m from the dark ages but I choose to not have Facebook andI don’t have Twitter, nor do I have Google+ and I am not on Linked In or Disqus. I do however have Gmail! But with the new Cville.com I cannot, as far as I can tell, send a story via email. This is very frustrating. I am trying to save paper by not picking up a hard copy of the paper every week. Can someone tell me what I might be overlooking on the site or are you telling readers that they MUST be signed up to Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Link’d? If that is the case, it’s a big mistake. I hope this can be fixed. In the meantime, great job.

    • gileser

      FR, we’re on it. Had a conversation about that with the developers yesterday and we’ll get an email button hooked up. In the meantime, best bet is just to the copy the link and send it along. Thanks for your feedback.

  • LarryB

    Kudos, Giles — looks good! Easy to navigate / easy to read. Look forward to addition of past stories and coverage on site when you guys get there, too. Nice job.

    • http://c-ville.com/ Giles Morris

      Thanks Dr. Banner. We will be working hard on cleaning up our 301 redirects and getting our whole content archive back up. The import was a little messy.

  • crozetian

    hmm – can anyone else get to the Classifieds? cuz i cannot….

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