Scott Stanford: A Pilot Web site revolution

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Get ready for big changes to our Web site, steamboatpilot.com.

Next week (Tuesday morning is the target date, barring technical difficulties), we will launch the new and improved steamboatpilot.com. This is not a small tweak; the new site will look nothing like the old.

The changes are for the better.

We have been working on the re-design for months, and we're pretty excited about the new product. Some of the new features include e-mail news, RSS news feeds, a Webcam, blogs, photo galleries and the option for readers to post comments about news stories.

You still will be able to find all of the local content -- news, advertising and classifieds -- from the newspaper, but it will be organized differently. We will constantly update news -- local, state, national and world -- on the site. And as I said, users will be able to react to the news by posting comments that go with stories. Site visitors will be able to see how many comments are posted on each story and go directly to the comments.

RSS will allow users to get updated feeds of headlines about specific topics from our Web site into their RSS readers. Sound complicated? It's really not. RSS is simply a tool that allows you to tailor your Internet news to what you're interested in and get it all in one place.

We will have an integrated calendar that will allow readers to click and find events for specific dates and get information on our "Best Bets." Readers also can submit their events online and search our calendar for specific events.

Our archives will remain, and we're getting a new search mechanism. I promise the new search will be easier to use and more effective than our current archives search.

We again will have a Reader Forum, but it will be created from scratch. That means the existing Reader Forum will cease to exist. Users will have to go through the registration process again. I apologize in advance for any inconvenience this might cause.

Long-term plans for the site include more audio and video, including reader submissions. We will continue to add more services and broaden the depth of the site.

I'm eager for your feedback about the new site. I anticipate some wrinkles, and if you run across a broken link or some other feature that doesn't work properly, let us know and we'll work to get it fixed quickly.

From the Editor appears Thursdays in Steamboat Today. Send questions to Scott Stanford at sstanford@steamboatpilot.com or call him at 871-4221.

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