Thanks so much the great response you’ve given us during our new Web site’s first week. Although with a new project there are always tweaks to be made, we’re really pleased with what we’ve got here and glad you are, too. To cap off the first seven days, here’s an overview of how things are coming along, as well as the answers to some frequently asked questions we’ve received this week — including about Classifieds.
As fate would have it, the site we’d been working on for months debuted on a week when people from around the country were seeking out the news from Oxford: Namely, confirmation that author, teacher and mentor Barry Hannah had died. And in the days that followed, how his friends, fans and colleagues here were dealing with the loss.
While we also were dealing with the news — our staff includes both friends and former students of Hannah — we were thankful to be able to share the stories we were gathering in the wake of his loss.
The world’s window on Oxford
During its first five days, this site received just shy of 15,000 visitors from a total of 50 countries. We were as surprised as anyone by the distribution (Nigeria? New Zealand?). Yet by the end of the week, as heavy traffic in the wake of Hannah’s death died down, we were still receiving visits from some two dozen countries a day.
Still, we were glad that the bulk of our visitors came from the area this site is primarily designed to serve — our local community and the surrounding region.
More than half of our visitors came from within the state of Mississippi, representing 97 different cities. The biggest number were from Oxford, of course, followed by Jackson and Tupelo. Rounding out the top 10 were Flowood, Hattiesburg, Water Valley, Batesville, Senatobia, Cleveland and Pontotoc. We were happy to see that visitors from our local area and nearby cities spent more time exploring the site than did some of our far-flung visitors.
Working on the weekend
That idea is nothing new to our staff, of course, but in the past we’ve pretty much had to hold all the stories and photos we were gathering for the Monday afternoon edition. Not anymore.
Our photographer and reporter were on the scene late Saturday night as the iconic old Gin bar-and-restaurant building caught fire and burned, and they were able to post the news and photos right away. With so many former Ole Miss students all over the country still holding fond memories of the place, news of the fire pushed this site’s visits to more than 19,500 by the end of the first seven days.
Now, a look ahead.
One nice thing about the Web is that nothing is ever set in stone. We’re continuing to work on several key features of this site, and will also be able to add new things as we go along.
Our Web-development partner, John Herren, is continuing to work on this site’s new community calendar. Our goal is to make it easy to use, easy to contribute to and easy for us to keep up-to-date. Already folks have been using the form we created to submit events. In the coming weeks you’ll see new search functions and categories of events to choose from, so you can quickly find exactly what you’re looking for.
The new e-edition will also look different in the weeks to come, as we’re working on a customized header for it (orange-and-blue doesn’t go over well in these parts, especially during football season). While a lot of people still prefer to get their news in print, we hope this will be a good option for those who live outside our local circulation area, as well as people here in town who prefer a paper-free format. The e-edition will be free through the month of March, and our $5-per-month online subscription pilot program begins April 1.