The site features a lot more advertising opportunities to help vendors and others reach SNPA's membership, for example, but we limited ad sizes to just three, two of which use the same proportions to make it easier for the staff to manage sales and create promotional materials.”
Bill Ostendorf, Creative Circle Media Solutions
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SNPA launches redesigned website

New site features many new benefits for members

Posted 6/20/13

Welcome to the new SNPA.org – a website designed to serve the needs of newspaper executives by providing a new source of ideas, solutions, resources and information.

The site was built to be more interactive, useful and practical. It includes lots of new features, including a section that showcases best practices and ideas. We hope you will help us make SNPA.org all it can be by contributing your front pages, ideas, questions and solutions.

Much of the site is open to all, but a significant portion of the content can only be accessed by SNPA members.  Be sure to log in to see the additional features and content. If you have any difficulty, contact the SNPA office at (404) 256-0444.

"The new website offers a lot of opportunities for engagement by SNPA members," said Edward VanHorn, executive director of SNPA.   He cited the simplicity of submitting ideas to share with other newspaper executives, and the abilities to rate and comment on content. 

"We're developing new content sources that SNPA hasn't offered before. That is possible because users can now easily upload, search and view content," he said.

Among the other new features of the site:

  • Look what we made today. Front pages from member newspapers and screenshots of their website home pages, are featured throughout the site. SNPA members will be able to easily upload their front pages, see how other papers handle breaking news and graphic design and comment on the pages. Initially, the site features SNPA-member papers that are uploaded to the Newseum. Going forward, newspapers can easily upload their pages to be added to the site. Web pages for every member publication are scraped each night automatically. You can switch from viewing front pages to home pages or see all publications using links throughout the site.
  • Great ideas. The SNPA staff will collect the best ideas from reader submissions, conferences and roundtables to help you generate new revenue, improve classifieds and content, launch new products and more.
  • Share your work. We can all improve if we have a chance to see the best work of others in our industry. Have you designed a great page, published a unique photo, created a house ad that worked or launched a new product that was well received? Please share it!  
  • Virtual trade show. Designed as a handy resource for members in need of services, the SNPA Virtual Trade Show is a showcase of products and services offered by a wide range of quality R&D partners. Vendors can continuously update their listings to assure that this section of the site is both accurate and up-to-date. You'll find email contacts, website links, product info and more here to help you find the right partners for your operations. 
  • Ask the expert. Members can submit questions they want answered and SNPA will work with member volunteers and R&D partners to find and publish answers on important industry topics. Any member can submit a question. To nominate someone as an expert to respond to questions, email Cindy Durham.
  • My SNPA. We know you are busy, so we created an alternative content sort based upon your work role – publisher, editor, ad director, etc.  Click the appropriate link on the top of the home page to quickly access content that is most relevant to you.
  • Interactive calendar. We are building the industry's most complete calendar of events. Any group or individual can submit information about their program, conferences, webinars or events – and you can sort them by state or by date. SNPA's events are highlighted in the right rail, making them easy to find and reference at any time.
  • Member listings. Our listings of member publications (in print or digital) now feature state-by-state maps, front pages, home pages and key names and contact information.
  • New eBulletin. The eBulletin also has a new look and design that complements the website. The format is tighter, more visual and is directly tied to the website and its content. It is also easy to read on tablets and mobile phones.  Content from previous eBulletins is also accessible on the website for the first time and is searchable using key words.
  • Comments, ratings and profiles. Another new feature allows members to comment and rate many areas of content. Members can also create profiles with photos, bios and lists of their contributions. The Profiles feature makes it possible to meet like-minded and helpful people who work in our industry. Once you log in, you can access your profile through the "Account" link in the upper right-hand corner.

The site also features new branding, first unveiled at the MegaConference earlier this year. The new branding features stronger typography and colors that look great on all kinds of materials – from conference bags to stationery to advertising. It also stresses SNPA's mission and value with the key words "Connect, Learn, Grow."

The new website, eBulletin, branding and printed materials were created by Creative Circle Media Solutions.  The Creative Circle team was led by Bill Ostendorf, founder and president, and Lynn Rognsvoog, the firm's lead designer.  Creative Circle has redesigned more than 500 newspapers and websites, including a number of SNPA member newspapers in Richmond, Va.; Daytona Beach, Fla.; Decatur, Ala.; Stuart, Fla.; and several McClatchy locations.

The website is powered by Creative Circle's custom CMS, mediasiteQ, and features QuickAds, one of its new revenue platforms, which provides the functionality for the new Virtual Trade Show. OpenX, an open source product, is used to manage display advertising.

"Our non-scrolling home page is designed for fast access and impact for both content and advertising," said VanHorn.

"We believe websites should be penetrated, not scrolled," said Ostendorf. "Scrolling is a leftover from the days of the phone modem and slow page loads. Many newspapers feature cluttered home pages that really aren't user-friendly. We wanted SNPA.org to set a new standard. Short pages also work great on mobile devices, often without customization. But short pages can be static over time, so we've created dozens of different layout options for the home page to allow SNPA to reflect the news of the association.

"As we do for many of our clients, we created a lot of customized functionality and programming to implement the new SNPA.org," said Ostendorf. "While many months of discussions, prototyping, consulting and programming went into producing the site you are seeing today, we hope to help SNPA.org grow and change over the coming months and years. We know this isn't where the process stops."

Ostendorf added that there are more features and concepts already on the drawing board, including new contest submission and judging options. "This was a big leap forward for the organization. We needed to balance all the things we could do with what the staff and organization could execute successfully with limited resources. It is not unlike the balancing act all newspapers are going through, but there is even more to come."

"The process of working with Creative Circle went beyond rebranding the association and designing a website," added VanHorn. "It was also about strategy, workloads and tone. We needed a partner who could help us find that balance between doing everything and doing the most important things well."

"The site features a lot more advertising opportunities to help vendors and others reach SNPA's membership, for example, but we limited ad sizes to just three, two of which use the same proportions to make it easier for the staff to manage sales and create promotional materials," said Ostendorf.

Please tell us what you think in the comment section below and via our poll about the site.

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