Our reader survey last year revealed rather troubling news: that out of 813 readers who answered the question, 54% didn’t know we had a Web site.
We’ve taken some steps to remedy this, although we have a long way to go. We’ve updated the organizational information on the site, www.streetsense.org, and reactivated our blog, where we’ll be posting fresh content, including videos, anecdotes and newsy tidbits, about three times a week. Check it out at www.streetsenseoffice.blogspot.com or visit www.streetsense.org and click on the nifty little application that streams our blog entries straight to the main page. It’s called a blidget in geekspeak, I believe.
We’ve also begun to track our site traffic for the first time, so that we can better monitor the popularity of individual pages and better understand our online readership. So if you visit, we’ll be watching you.
We’ve also taken some first steps toward improving our online outreach. We’ve beefed up our Wikipedia entry, so that readers of the online encyclopedia will leave better informed. And we’re exploring ways to use social networking sites like Facebook to market our events and products, like our annual reception and silent auction on Sept. 27. And soon, we’ll be offering readers the ability to sign up for paper subscriptions online.
I’ll be the first to admit we could be using our site, www.streetsense.org, a lot more to develop vendors’ voices, tell stories in multimedia, encourage reader interactivity, build a subscriber base and provide a comprehensive newspaper archive. We hope to completely revamp it to do all these things. But we need your help.
We need feedback on how we can make www.streetsense.org easier to use and navigate, and how to make its content meaningful to regular readers of the paper. We’d eventually like to redesign it and move to a content management system that would allow users with no HTML skills to make updates.
Until then, I and volunteer Jake Geissinger will continue to update the site by coding each page by hand – and continue to curse the bug in our server that lets us upload an updated page only once every 24 hours. Sometimes, as a result, we have to live with mistakes or broken links on the site for an entire day because of this bug. It’s not an ideal situation here at www.streetsense.org.
If you were counting, you’d see I used our Web site address no less than five times in this little space. It’s a catchy little url. Please visit it and tell us how we can do better.
We welcome your e-mails at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-- Koki Smith