By: E&P Staff
The Orange County Register in Santa Ana, Calif., launched its redesigned, local community-oriented Web site on Monday. The redesign gives users the opportunity to personalize the site by adding or minimizing content, editing settings, or rearranging the site within sections on the homepage, www.ocregister.com.
New to the site are hyperlocal community pages that readers can personalize, including business directories, school ratings, events, photos, videos, restaurant listings, discussion forums, traffic and crime maps, community-generated content and a new Deal of the Day advertisement.
The redesign comes after more than a year of development and testing, including months of reader assessment and feedback. The Register released a public beta version of the redesigned site on Oct. 26 to gain additional feedback. Beta sites for three local communities (Laguna Hills, Mission Viejo and Lake Forest) were launched in March, and in the three months following the launch, the OC Register reported in a statement that its Web traffic nearly doubled.
?The ability to access information from multiple sources through ocregister.com represents the most significant upgrade to our site since launching ocregister.com in 1996,? Terry Horne, president of Orange County Register Communications and publisher of the Orange County Register, said in a statement.
The site also includes more targeted advertising and multimedia/interactive features, such as videos, graphics and community level Wikis. A community Flickr group gives users the chance to share photos, while a crime map displays calls made to the local sheriff’s department in the last 24 hours.
The new site also gives advertisers the chance to decide if they want a higher level of advertising through an ?Upgrade Your Business? option, with packages ranging from a $19/month deal that gives businesses a chance to add photos or logos to their listing, to a $299/month listing that gives advertisers the ability to host their own Web site on the Register’s servers and gives them access to a management team.
?Thousands of smaller Orange County businesses either do not have a Web site or want more visibility online,? Kyla Rodriguez, director of Interactive Sales at Orange County Register Communications, said in a statement. ?The enhanced directory listing options, especially when coupled with our pay-per-click and search engine optimization services, provide local advertisers with stronger points of entry locally on the Web and must-have presence on search engines.?
After signing in to the site, instructions, FAQs and videos are available to help readers start to personalize their own ocregister.com home page. The new site also allows readers to display RSS feeds from outside sites on their personalized Register homepage.
Check it out, here.