New website offers more than just a sharper look

| September 22, 2010 | 3 Comments

If you’ve visited TheCatholicSpirit.com since Sept. 10, you’ve likely noticed it received a makeover.

It features larger photos, more easily readable fonts and a slicker overall image, thanks to The Catholic Spirit’s website coordinator, Craig Berry.

It was time for a change, said Berry, who has worked in the information technology and Internet field for more than 13 years.

The website’s open source content management system  (CMS) had grown obsolete, and TheCatholicSpirit.com needed to update or move to a new system. It chose a new system that is better designed to meet the heavy content demands of a newspaper website, Berry said.

New look, technologies

Techie talk aside, the website was due for a fresh face.

“It’s common for websites to ‘reboot’ with a new design every two to three years, and not just for reasons of aesthetics,” Berry said. “New web technologies are being developed constantly, and a website has to take advantage of them to stay current and meet the visitors’ expectations.”

TheCatholicSpirit.com receives an average of 20,000 to 30,000 visitors a month — up significantly from three years ago, when the average was 5,000 a month.

Regular visitors might notice three main changes, Berry said:

» A warmer and more pleasing color scheme.

» Better ‘readability’ through judicious use of white space and line spacing.

» Faster load time. In other words, the website will appear in your browser more quickly.

Another new feature — and one that Berry is particularly excited about — will allow readers to read the current print edition online.

“You can virtually flip pages, zoom in or view it in full screen mode,” he said. “It is the print version, but optimized for reading on a computer.”

The new website display is also op­timized for smartphones, like the iPhone and Droid, Berry added.

Using social media

Social media like Facebook and Twitter play a big part in TheCatholicSpirit.com.

“For any website that aspires to be relevant to today’s ‘Internet generation,’ it’s imperative that it has a social-media strategy,” Berry said. “Over the past two years, we’ve built up a decent presence on Facebook and Twitter, and our new website leverages that.”

In addition to following content via Facebook, Twitter, e-mail and RSS feeds, TheCatholicSpirit.com visitors can easily share stories and video on all of the major social networks.

Berry

“It’s about the right media for the job,” Berry said. “With everyone con­nected to the web — whether at home or work, or maybe via Wi-Fi at your favorite coffee shop — and the proliferation of smartphones, you can now access our content just about anywhere at any time.”

Love the tech world?

Read Craig Berry’s blog, “Tech Bites,”.

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Category: Local News, Spotlight