Up Front: May 2007

Reweaving our Web site

Arthur Murray suffers from an especially irritating type of insomnia. He has no problem nodding off, but he frequently wakes up in the wee hours and can’t get back to sleep. The latest task we’ve assigned our managing editor for special projects turns that affliction into an asset. He’s up and at his home computer long before dawn each weekday, surfing the Internet in search of business and political news breaking across the state. Well before most of our readers leave for work, he’ll have posted a digest of those stories on our new and improved Web site.

“Each digest item will be linked to the full account on the Web site where it originated,” he explains. “Some digest items will have multiple links to provide different takes on topics from different newspapers and other sources.” What this means is that Arthur’s lost sleep will gain busy executives precious time they would otherwise have to spend searching dozens of different sites to get a statewide report of the day’s business news.

“We plan to make BusinessNC.com indispensible for people who want to keep up with what’s going on daily,” he says. And it’s only one of many improvements we have in store for the magazine Web site. In fact, that description will no longer apply.

“BusinessNC.com will be much more than just the electronic version of our print product,” Publisher Ben Kinney says. “We want to be the source for business news on a daily, monthly and even historical basis, because we’ll also be categorizing our data and archives to make them accessible to those who want to research almost any industry and aspect of business in our state. Basically, we will be utilizing the magazine and its content in a totally different way. It’s pretty exciting.”

Making all this happen is Circulation Manager Marc Elmo. And what does a circulation manager’s job have to do with being a webmaster? It’s simple: Marc’s mission is to make sure the magazine each month reaches its readers, and the Web site is just another way we’re delivering that content — and more — faster and more frequently. “The vision for the Web site,” he says, “is that BusinessNC.com will be a natural extension of the magazine, complementing it without being a direct reproduction — a step forward in the evolution of our brand.”

And it will be the first of many steps. A great Web site, which we want to have, is a dynamic thing. What it looks like, how it works, what it does this month doesn’t necessarily mean that’s how it should be the next. Or will be the one after that. The first and only true measure of its success will be how useful readers find it. So we want and need your feedback to keep making it better. Send it to webmaster@businessnc.com.

As Ben says, it’s exciting, even for a Gutenberg dinosaur like myself.