Last year we identified a major roadblock in the growth of Mainstreet Daily News: Our website was too slow.
This may seem like simply an annoyance, but it was more than that. Google rewards speed, so when a website loads too slowly, it drops down in Google search results. Way down.
In addition, we saw evidence that those without high-speed internet were clicking stories and giving up after waiting on pages to load. This led to a higher than expected bounce rate.
There were many other technical difficulties—the details of which I won’t bore you—but the slow speed and bounce rate told us we were not reaching a chunk of our intended audience.
So after months of planning and execution, today we are pleased to unveil the new mainstreetdailynews.com. In many ways, it’s similar to the old one, but I want to point out a few key features that will enhance your experience:
- Speed: The new website will perform up to three times faster than the old one, which should be particularly noticeable to our rural readers.
- Mobile-first: More than half of Mainstreet readers see our stories on their phones, so we’ve made this view our first priority, not the desktop view.
- Improved searches: Whether you’re searching the site for a term or scrolling through a category, you’ll notice better, more comprehensive results.
- Events tool: With the new site we’re launching a slick events tool that you’ll notice is on the top taskbar and on the lower sidebar of each page. Please check it out. You’ll see it lists all the events in the area, along with the time, date and distance—all of which you can edit to get the search results you want. For organizers, you can also boost your event to give it more visibility.
As with any website migration, this one came with some tradeoffs. Most notably, the comments from our old site did not transfer, so if you notice yours is missing, don’t panic—no one is trying to censor you. Feel free to re-post any comments you wish.
If you find any bugs, please use our contact page to let us know.
These improvements are just a few of the ways we’re working to become the go-to source for news and information in North Central Florida. Next week, we will introduce our new obituaries section — as we also publish our very first print edition. Stay tuned!