Yeah, yeah. We redesigned the website. We made it completely different than it was before. Funny thing is, we’ve been itching to do this for more than a year, we just had to wait for our back-end content management system (CMS) to be rebuilt by the propeller-heads out in Arizona. Finally, they’ve delivered a system that’s nimble enough for our needs and offers plenty of usability. Some features to look out for:
The Latest: We used to have a list of “the latest” headlines on the front page. We still do, they’re just organized by section now. Want to see the latest cuisine stuff without going to that page? Mouse over “Food + Drink” on the top navigation bar and a window will open with a list of the latest headlines. Same for Music + Clubs, Arts + Movies, News + Opinion, and Calendar + Scene.
Searching for Stuff to Do: Click on the event calendar and staff picks for events happening that week in Music + Clubs, food + drink, and arts will pop up. Clicking on restaurants will also bring up staff picks. Once you’re in the search area, you can use the navigation on the left to drill down and find exactly what you’re looking for whether it’s by date, venue, or neighborhood.
Sticky Topics: In each section, you’ll find lists of hot topics, enabling you to find all the stories on say, Local Bands, or Local Chefs, quick and easy like.
Comments: People have been spouting off for years on this website, which is great. We love it. We want you to talk more. We want you to write about events after they happen and offer your own take on performances and shows. Who knows? We might be able to find some future contributors to the paper through the comments on our website.
Favorites: Tag and save events so you can remember them. Have them sent via text to your phone or via iCal to your iPhone. Ask for reminders. Tag favorite businesses, venues, and restaurants. Let others know what shows you’re planning to attend. Facebook has maybe 1/4 of all the events that go on in this town, and they’re usually submitted by PR people. But what about live music at the clubs or wine dinners at your favorite restaurant? Those rarely make it to Facebook, but they’re always on our site. Why? Because we have a staff of people who are constantly updating our calendar so it’s got everything that’s going on in this town.
Reader reviews: You’ve been able to review restaurants and pretty much any business that’s in our location database for years, but now you can add stars to those reviews. And you can become a de facto contributor to the Charleston City Paper. People will begin to seek out your reviews and see what you have to say about something. Yelp and Urbanspoon are useful, but because they’re run by out-of-towners, they rely on the bots of Google to find the information. We’re locals. We live and work in this town, not in San Francisco. We make it our business to keep our website up to date. So, when a restaurant closes, we know because we drove by it that morning. We don’t have to rely on the anonymous ‘user’ to keep us relevant.
Custom Lists: Not only can you tag and review stuff, but you can also create your own content. Are you a burger connoisseur? How about a list of your favorite burger joints. Love martinis? Let everyone know where they can get the best ones with a list that you create.
Share: With one click, you can add an article to Facebook, Digg, del.icio.us, Newsvine, and Reddit. You can also save it to your own profile, so you can locate it again the next time you return.
Please leave your feedback. What do you like? What did we forget? What would you like back?