Believe it or not, in just two months we’ll be marking the second anniversary of the major re-design of this website! Folks visiting today will notice that the chairs on the front page have been shuffled around a little bit to reflect the way that the average user spends time on the site.
The most notable change is the elevation of a “trending ads” box toward the top as a way to give a window into the most recently posted ads that are getting the most attention. Classifieds make up such a large percentage of the way that local folks use eBrandon and with hundreds of ads posted daily and thousands monthly it only seems natural to provide a more prominent window into the current hottest ads that are getting a lot of interest. I’m already finding it to be fun to check this box a few times a day to see what’s grabbing users’ attention… sometimes some pretty unique and oddball stuff!
Further down the page you will also see a list of a few of the most recently posted ads as well as recently posted job and home ads.
From there, there are of course also links into the classifieds section to expand your search into all of the active ads that are on the site.
Discussion threads remain fairly close to the top no matter what screen size you’re browsing on. Based on the view count on threads, readers enjoy seeing what others in the community are talking about and so it’s important that currently active threads continue to be in a visible spot.
The other change is the moving of featured ‘buzz’ posts to the right (or further down the screen on mobile devices) and reducing the amount of front page space that it takes up. Some may have noticed that I’ve been making a few less posts in this section over the past several weeks. I’ve found that while posts in this section can be interesting, I was investing just a little too much time in them relative to ways that I can truly add value to the site. In a world with short news cycles, so many of the posts I was making would qualify as ‘clickbait’… generating a ton of interest in the initial few hours after posting and then really falling off from there.
I’ll still be making some ‘buzz’ posts with unique content, but I’ll be picking my spots a little better with content that I feel will have lasting value (eg photo galleries, 360 degree tours or special features... spoiler alert, the biggest 360 tour yet is on the way later this week!). Expect to see one or two of these posts per week as opposed to the one or two per day of previous, hence why they’re still in a visible spot on the front page but not taking up quite as prime of real estate.
That will mean less of a focus on ‘breaking news’ kind of stuff that someone like the Brandon Sun does so well. For those looking for a further window into new breaking stuff I’d invite you to check out the discussion forum posts, start a forum post of your own or check out the Twitter box that’s on the front page. If you’re on social media yourself I’d also recommend directly following the social media for some of our local newsmakers such as Brandon Police Service, City of Brandon, Brandon School Division, Province of Manitoba. Each of those sources will via their social media share breaking announcements directly with you… with true media like the Sun so often following up with the kind of objective, in-depth stories that media plays such an important role with.
As the site continues to evolve, I feel insanely fortunate that it continues to be a leading local information site when it comes to traffic as per Alexa.com rankings (when it comes to local media and media-ish sites, only the Sun ranks in the same overall range in worldwide traffic). Thanks as always to everyone that’s been a part of growing the site over the past 15 years to where it is today… I look forward to seeing how the new layout connects you with the content that you come to eBrandon expecting to see!