Friday, November 28, 2014


We've added some improvements to elkharttruth.com over the past three months. Have a question? Contact Ryan Martin, digital content director, at rmartin@elkharttruth.com.
Updates to elkharttruth.com: commenting page, top stories, community blogs and more
Posted on April 30, 2014 at 7:28 a.m.

A lot has changed in the three months since we launched the redesigned elkharttruth.com. Please allow me to share some updates on what’s new around here.

THE BORING STUFF

As a journalist, I try not to lead with the boring stuff, but I think it’s actually appropriate here. We learned a lot in the days and weeks following our relaunch of elkharttruth.com. Many of our links were broken, which meant readers couldn’t access older stories. The site took a long time to load, which kept many people away. Even the mobile site lacked some functionality that it definitely shouldn’t have lacked. It was a very busy February for us as we dealt with these issues, but we feel much better about the new elkharttruth.com. I think you should too, and here’s why.

COMMENTS PAGE

Whether you’re an active voice or you simply enjoy watching the conversations unfold, we all know how popular our comments are. That’s why I loved the addition of our Comments page. You can quickly see recent comments as well as discover which stories have received the most comments. And while you’re on the page, I’d love if you could briefly review our Commenting Rules of Engagement. It’s a better experience for everyone when we all play by those rules.

MORE ORGANIZED HOME PAGE

Our home page sometimes lacked the most interesting or relevant news of the day, which created a confusing and inconsistent experience for many visitors to elkharttruth.com. We heard this concern a lot. We’ve addressed this issue through some visual adjustments on the front end and some functionality tweaks on the back end.

TOP STORIES

Visitors to the desktop/tablet version of our site now will see a Top Stories list on the right side of most pages on the website (including the home page). We originally placed this list elsewhere on the site, but a lot of folks requested that we make it more visible and easier to access — so we did.

COMMUNITY BLOGS

Our Community Blogs section has grown significantly since the relaunch of elkharttruth.com. Check out some of our newest bloggers:

We’re continuing to expand this platform. If you’re interested in starting your own blog, we’d love to talk! Just contact Ann Elise Taylor at ataylor@elkharttruth.com.

BREAKING NEWS ALERTS

This feature isn’t really that new, but it wasn’t working correctly until recently. Folks who subscribe to breaking news alerts now will receive them by email and/or text, depending on what they’ve signed up for. You can sign up for breaking news texts on the Text Alerts page and for breaking news emails in your profile.

GARAGE SALES

Before you head out for sales this weekend, make sure you visit our newly launched garage sales page. It includes easy-to-read listings and a helpful map (and it works on your smartphone).

MORE CONTENT

Telling and sharing local stories remains our passion, but we also have added several automatic Associated Press feeds to our website:

FORMS FOR SPORTS SUBMISSIONS

Have a bowling league score to share? Or some notes from a Little League game? We added forms to make the process much easier. You can find the links here or on the Sports page.

WHAT’S NEXT

We have more work to do. And while we have plenty of ideas, I’m hoping to hear from many of you first. Do you have a good idea for the website? Is there something missing that you’d like to see added? If you can spare a few moments, I’d love to hear from you in the comments below. I’m also available at rmartin@elkharttruth.com, @ryanmartin87 and Facebook.

Ryan Martin is the digital content director at The Elkhart Truth. He's available at rmartin@elkharttruth.com and on Twitter @ryanmartin87.