I first heard about the prospects of adding a new website for The Monroe Times in November of 2016. Now, nearly two years later, it's ready for the public.
The website launches as the live online portal for The Monroe Times on Wednesday, Sept. 5. We've had the site available to the public for the last two weeks at www.themonroetimes.net. After we "go live," both www.themonroetimes.com and www.themonroetimes.net will take our readers to the new website.
The website is created on Morris Technology's "Anvil" platform. It allows for readers to see updated news by scrolling down the page or by clicking on areas of the menu. The scrolling method, called "infinite scroll," is similar to what readers see when using Facebook or Twitter.
Changing to our new website has been quite a project for us here at Morris Media of Monroe. We're upgrading technology by about three generations in one fell swoop. Readers will have to register for our new website when they first visit it. This means they will have to input the e-mail address they first used when creating their online accounts with us. We're preparing to receive phone calls from online readers who do not remember that account or have since changed e-mail accounts. The Monroe Times wants the launch of its new website to go as smoothly as possible. Even though we've put a lot of effort into this happening, it doesn't mean that it will work perfectly for everyone on the first try. Please bear with us during this transition and thank you for your patience.
We have discovered that people like our new website. Positive reaction to the website is coming in at a 9-out-of-10 rate. Not everyone agrees. I had a reader write me a note to say all of the changes that have occurred at The Monroe Times have been an "udder disaster." And, cow jokes aside, I can see how people are unhappy with change. Some people dislike change, period. And some people prefer old methods vs. new. When it comes to technology, due to changes in how computers operate and how programs are updated for future use, there's no way to maintain the status quo. As time passes, technology must be upgraded or they will no longer function.
Our publications are entities that are seen by the public and for that reason they are open for criticism from a wide range of people. Newspapers aren't just pin cushions for unhappy people. We are blessed to receive our share of positive commentary, too. We've had much of that since switching the content of the newspaper to virtually all-local stories, photos and other information. If there wasn't good with the bad, I doubt anyone would work in journalism.
We most often get treated to the kindness of our readers and can feel their appreciation for the work we do, which isn't always easy as we often handle some heartbreaking topics.
Bringing people the news is our job. Our motto is "strong local news and excellent customer service." By installing our new website, we're helping to improve both sharing news and providing customer service.
Our new website will operate more quickly and provide news for every platform equally well -- from smart phones to laptops.
We will be able to help advertisers grow their business as they can access our readers in new and exciting ways that enhance everything from a businesses' website to its Facebook page. We will have analytics that show advertisers how many people viewed their advertisement on our platform and how many people visited their website due to accessing it through our website. This is important for local businesses, who want to maintain and grow their connection to our local economy and the overall community. Buying "online" advertising from non-local companies has become a part of big business. One thing we can assure advertisers is if they want local people to view their online advertising, we can share with them the best local captive audience.
In the last two years we've made many changes to improve the newspaper and make in a viable business in the community. In some areas, we've had to scale back. In other areas, we've made great investment in the future.
We hope readers find our new website useful. The price for an online-only subscription is $6 a month or $72 a year. We've the price inexpensive as a way to retain and grow readership.
We're doing our best to give the community a great all-around newspaper. We appreciate every reader who understands that we have to change with the times. Thank you for reading The Monroe Times and supporting your community newspaper.