At long last, we have a new website.
Beginning about 11 a.m. today, the new PostBulletin.com is scheduled to go live. If you're reading this in the print edition, hopefully you can go to the website right now and find the lights on and everything ready to go.
We've been working on this for months and hoping for it (in the newsroom) for years. We're overdue for a remake of the site -- half the battle with new media is to keep the look and functionality constantly fresh -- and with a ton of work by Small Newspaper Group's DIG unit and a lot of people here, we're ready to go.
This isn't just a redesign of the website -- it's a new site from the ground up. From the back end to the front, we've rebuilt it with TownNews.com to create a fresh and improved experience for Post-Bulletin customers.
Here's what you'll find:
A bright, updated look, patterned after metro news websites: The new PostBulletin.com looks somewhat like websites for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Voice of San Diego, the Iowa State Daily and many other news websites around the web, also designed by TownNews.
Easier navigation: From the drop-down menus at the top of the page to the tools at the bottom of the screen, the site is intended to be easy to use, with less clutter and more intuitive design.
Improved security: TownNews.com's BLOX content management system is cloud-based and used by several hundred publications around the country. It's robust and secure because the infrastructure is hosted in multiple locations and uses the latest Internet security.
Improved search and archives: OK, the proof is in the searching, but the search engine and the new processing for archives should make the content you're looking for easier to find.
New reader comment system: Until today, users had to register to comment on stories, and then we previewed comments, which often resulted in delays. Now, you'll log into the comment system through Facebook, your identity will be authenticated, and you can comment without delay. This process may require some fine-tuning in the weeks ahead, but many news websites, including the Los Angeles Times website, use Facebook authentication. We think it'll result in better, faster comments online.
Fresh look on mobile and tablets: If you're accustomed to looking at PB.com on your smartphone or tablet, the new website should load easily and quickly. Again, it will have a new look with improved functionality.
We're eager to hear what you think, and to get your suggestions on how to improve. Send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. If you have any problems using the site, call customer service at 285-7676.
Thanks in advance for your patience with any features that aren't quite ready to go. We had a brief beta period last week, and issues always come up when you take the training wheels off. But we're confident that you'll find the new Post-Bulletin.com an even better place for local and regional news, multimedia, opinions, news-to-use, obituaries and decades of archived content.
There are a million websites out there, but no site on earth has the vast amount of Rochester and Southeast Minnesota content that we have — and as of today, it's more attractive and accessible than ever.