I said back in July I was going to take some time off from doing much with the website, especially on social media. Pfft, that lasted about two weeks and I was back at the drawing board.
If you haven't noticed already, there's been some changes made to the site. In an effort to make the site more mobile friendly, I did away with the category tabs that broke up the site according to each township in the county. Well, I didn't do away with them per se, those sections exist, but they're hidden away. Along with that, we won't be offering reports from town and village boards anymore. We only had a small handful of reports coming in to begin with, and they were time consuming. I encourage folks to attend their local municipality council meetings.
With that in mind I broke the news into "World/ National", "Regional/ State" and then "Local" which focuses solely on news within Chemung County. Many people told me they wanted more focus on local news, and that's what we'll try to do. Additionally, we continue to run stories from over the border in PA by Lonny Frost of First News Now.
An idea one of the moderators came up with was "Today's Top Stories", a place that has the hottest news first and easiest to find. After a day or two those stories are relocated to the appropriate sections discussed above and remain open for conversation. Life is busy, so if you want to know the big stories of the day, that's the place to start.
The "ET Weather Center" continues to be popular, ( so long as I remember to update the widget code ) and offers all the weather news you need right at your fingertips.
This Summer I switched the site to a cloud based server which was WAY more affordable than the virtual private server (VPS) we were on, thus ensuring the longevity of the site. Just don't get me going about that "refundable money" on my account that suddenly wasn't refundable once I dropped the money for the cloud. Still, the site was faced with insurmountable costs to continue on the VPS so in the end it was a good thing and we shouldn't need to do any PBS style fundraisers anytime soon.
A couple sections were made "Members Only", available only to those with an account for the site. "Teal's Tavern" is a place for more fun chat, jokes, or just to check in and tell others how your day is going. The "Local History" section has lots of great historical photos from around Chemung County and is also for registered users only. Once again this holiday season "Chemung County Holidays" will reappear with new pictures and content so I encourage every one to sign up for an account, it's free and only takes a minute.
In addition to trying to write more myself, I continue to look for local folks with a knack for writing who want to become part of our "Community Writers" section. I'm happy to say we've recently added a column by my old friend Dan who writes "Cyber Arms Computer Security" and I'd like to add more. If you or someone you know is interested in joining the team, I'd love to hear your ideas !
We may tweak the site logo and header a little bit in the future, but I've been advised to stick with what people are familiar with. We'll see. I'm also living in hopes for the slight, ever so remote chance we may have better access to high speed internet here in the hill someday soon, and am thinking of new ideas for if that day comes. I'm not holding my breath waiting for that to happen though.
I think that's about it, at least the major stuff. As always, I appreciate everyone stopping by and reading or joining the discussion. I also am grateful for the folks who take the time to write and send in a regular column or are willing to help with the upkeep of the site, if only telling me when I'm being a bonehead. LOL It's because of you all that the site is doing so well.