GoErie: One Month Later

Since my controversial post, A Brief GoErie Web 2.0 Evaluation, the GoErie website has changed slightly, adding new Web 2.0 aspects, but forgetting the importance of their web layout. It is not enough to have the most gadgets or widgets…users have to know these options are available to them in order to be used. I decided to illustrate this concept so you can judge for yourself if the website design and layout is the most efficient. Below is a screen shot of the above the fold portion of the site, as displayed on my personal laptop. Feel free to click the image to view more detail of the site.

GoErie Homepage

I decided to highlight the Web 2.0 ish applications that I found on this above the fold portion of the site. This can be seen below. Again, feel free to click the image for more detail.

Homepage Parts

As you can see, the interactive applications are scattered throughout the page, almost lost within the basic, typical content of the website. RSS Feeds, featured on one of the top navigation menus, or menu bars, are an incredibly simple way to increase traffic to your site. In this example, the RSS Feeds link goes directly to a page that allows people to subscribe for several different GoErie feeds. For example, “Top Stories,” “Teens” and “Sports” are GoErie feeds that are an option to subscribe to. However, the RSS links are more effective when they’re placed beside an aspect of the site that they’d like to follow. For example, “The Latest” section on the left side of the main site would be an ideal location for one of these RSS Feed links, along with the recognizable XML logo.Text Alerts

Text Alerts (SMS) are a type of mobile marketing, and another innovative and new application that would gain attention and increase the visitors of the site if leveraged correctly. This feature should be advertised more than a simple “Text Alerts” link in a navigation menu, and small banner in the below the fold portion of the website, as seen at the right.

The image highlighted in the website screen capture above is part of a dynamic slide show displaying photos regarding recent or current news in the local area. This is the most strategic placement of a Web 2.0 application on the GoErie website. Visit the GoErie homepage to view this dynamic slide show in action.

The last interactive link on this above the fold portion of the website is the DigErie– local search banner. This link takes you to a site that boasts a search feature that displays results from the Erie area websites. Although I am not familiar with this site, and am not sure how accurate the search engine is in turning back relevant and the widest range of results possible, it seems like an extremely useful feature, and I would encourage readers to try it here and report back their opinions!

These are only the Web 2.0 applications that are displayed in the above the fold portion of the GoErie website. It is important to point out that there ARE more. However, we’ll leave the evaluation of the placement and use of these for another post. If I missed anything key in these posts, please correct me, as I do not intend to misrepresent the GoErie website in anyway.

Remember, keep an eye out for the evaluation of Camtasia, Captivate, and Articulate software! Also, keep in mind that IEmail2 am always available as a professional resource. I would be happy to act as your consultant, optimizing your website and search engine results, or taking advantage of many of my other services. Feel free to email me with any matters you would like to discuss.

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3 thoughts on “GoErie: One Month Later

  1. Hey Erica:

    Thank you for your comments. As Interactive Brand Manager of CyberInk and manager of GoErie.com, I appreciate all comments and suggestions regardless of their nature. I’m pleased whenever someone mentions the site because even a negative comment can be helpful and it’s great whenever someone cares enough to speak up. I don’t bother to comment on something that doesn’t affect me. So I appreciate your thoughts in this evaluation.

    I’m very proud of our web site. I have 10 years of hard work invested and feel a sense of ownership over the product. I personally devote a lot of time on the site, and although my position includes several non-GoErie.com responsibilities, constant improvements to GoErie.com is my primary mission. Obviously we can agree there’s room for improvement.

    I won’t make excuses for anywhere we’ve fallen short, because I hold the site to even more stringent standards than any site visitor possibly could imagine. I could probably list (but won’t!) lots of shortcomings a visitor or consultant would never even notice. But it’s a work in progress and our goal is to keep building on what is essentially a great web site and work hard to make it better. And I’m confident it keeps getting better.

    Some of the suggestions you mention here are already on my tick list, and some others are worth adding now.

    Thanks again for your evaluation. Feel free to contact me directly if you’d like.

  2. Without a doubt, this is your best post yet, Erica.
    GoErie would do well to put you on a retainer.

    And speaking of retainer, richardz has passed the bar exam.
    In all seriousness, he is to be congratulated for a job well done. These are tough times to be a dad, husband, friend (to Dennis), son, student, graduate, fellow employee, and more, simultaneously. He has done em all.
    Regardless of differing opinions, I salute this victory by richardz.
    Best regards, (richardz and Erica)
    Danny Lucas

  3. Danny, It’s ok to comment on my blog. I won’t bite. And thank you for your kind words.

    Erica, nice post. I’ve been wanting to discuss the status of GoErie’s website for quite a while now but haven’t (for a variety of reasons). I would venture to guess that a lot of the issues you raise can be pin-pointed to a single issue: the staff of GoErie have yet to tame the template monster of the Publicus software they use. The site has a “stitched together” feel to it. Although I commend them for adding some new features recently, the site is still sorely lacking in all areas. Maybe this issue deserves a forum or a series of blog posts addressing issue by issue what needs to be resolved and/or changed.

    As opposed to ErieBlogs which is run by three guys in their spare time, GoErie/Times is a professional outfit with resources to do things right. They’ve got a long way to go. When life isn’t so hectic, maybe I’ll start a series tackling the issue at ErieBlogs.com.

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