Our Website Evolves With Community
In an effort to keep up with the ever-changing dynamics of the Internet, thepilot.com launched a redesigned website about 17 months ago.
Over the course of that time, the use of the site has also grown dynamically, going from zero to slightly more than 9,000 registered users. Visits to the website have also swelled over the period, going from around 6,000 visitors a day to an average of close to 11,000.
The content of the website also continues to grow and change. Back in January 2010, the website basically was a replication of The Pilot newspaper. The site still provides most of the content found in the print version of the paper, but it supplements that content with photo galleries, videos and additional information on the subject matter.
The site continues to evolve in other ways by offering many new features. One of the more popular features that's been added is the pet section, which includes a lost-and-found aspect that was suggested by one of the site's users.
Just recently, when storms have rolled through the county, the site has experienced a deluge of missing-dog reports. After a weekend storm, three of the lost animals had been reunited with their owners by Monday, thanks to the information posted on the website. It's almost like one-stop shopping, with the information supplied by the user immediately being shared with 11 agencies in the county, ranging from police departments to animal advocate groups.
Speaking of one-stop shopping: Several months ago, the site started highlighting a two-day deal that focuses on the local market. Every two days, the site provides a new deal, featuring a local business that offers a discount, usually at least 50 percent, on its product.
Restaurants, doctors, auto supply stores and other businesses have taken part in the two-day deal. It's an opportunity for residents of the community to support their local businesses while also getting a bargain to boot.
Another aspect of the site that is growing is MooCo Marketplace, a search engine for local businesses. Think beefed-up Yellow Pages, with listings for almost every business in the area available online. Interactivity again plays a part, with the users of the site able to post reviews, giving feedback on experiences with the various businesses listed.
Taking advantage of social networking, thepilot.com has a page on Facebook. Users of the website are encouraged to friend us and share their favorite stories, photos and videos with their fellow Facebook users. (To find thepilot.com on Facebook, search for The-Pilot-Newspaper.)
The newest addition to the site is the answers to the Suduko puzzles found in the print edition of the paper. (Go to the home page, click on "Features" in the brown navigation bar, and scroll down until you see Suduko answers.)
While you are exploring the navigation bar, take a minute when you are there to check out "Your News." That is the guts of the community interactivity of the site. There the user will find the ability to submit letters to the editor, photos, story ideas and events.
The use of those options has grown with the site, but the wish is that more users would take advantage of it, mainly in the area of submitted events going on in the community. It is a great resource for the user to get information out to the public about that upcoming fundraiser, reunion or club meeting.
Several local organizations use the ability to blog on the website to get information out to the public. Animal Advocates of Moore County and Drug Free Moore County are two such organizations using the blogs consistently to get their message out to the community.
Those are just a few of the things the site has provided over the course of the past 17 months. It has stayed true to reporting the news, while constantly evolving and offering new features. But thepilot.com is nowhere near what the site hopes to become. There are several other changes and additions to the site currently under development, and they will be rolled out over the next several months.
The last 17 months have seen the site steadily grow in both what is offered there and the number of people using the site as a glimpse into their community. Stay tuned and stay involved. And as the community grows and changes, thepilot.com plans to grow and evolve along with it.
Contact Hunter Chase at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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