A Quick Review of the New Site!
We just launched the largest upgrade in the 18-year history of this site. It's been an ongoing project for the last year, and really intensified in October 2013 through today, July 8th, 2014, when at 2pm AST, we finally flipped the switch. Here is a summary of the changes:
The site is known in the outdoors community by several names, and probably will be for some time to come. But we need to position ourselves for future growth in addition to making the name consistent throughout the site. So we are now known as the "Alaska Outdoors Supersite". At the same time, we have a new logo, a compass pointing to the northwest, to our beloved state of Alaska.
About 20% of our users are experiencing the site through smartphones and tablets (mostly iPhones and iPads). Rather than forcing them to shop the store, visit the directory or read our main pages by scrolling back and forth on a page on the site, we wanted to make the experience engaging and pleasant. So we went to a system that automatically formats the pages to fit whatever device you are using at the time. We think our mobile users are going to love it and it's going to make it so much easier for them to experience the Directory and the Store while they're on the road. We are looking at a similar system for the forums, but the product for our forums is not ready yet. So for now, our mobile users can continue to use Tapatalk if they prefer a mobile-friendly forum experience.
Most of the site features beautiful photos from around the state, courtesy of Our Photographers. Check out their page if you'd like to see their online portfolios, and possibly purchase some top-quality artwork for your home or office. The slideshows at the top of our pages are unique to each section of the site, and most of them can be clicked to access certain pages.
For the first time, we are linking directly to all of our social networking sites from every page in the site. Most of our social icons are in the header area, but the rest are in our Publications area. Here's a quick rundown of our social sites and what we do with them:
- Facebook: Site news, upgrades, enhancements, traffic info and so on. Friend us, and interact with our staff!
- Twitter: We have a Twitter page, and are using it somewhat sparingly. Anyone want to tweet for us? Send us a note and let's talk!
- YouTube: This is the parking lot for our videos, which include instructional material, product reviews and location reports from around the state. Most of these videos are embedded in relevant pages on the site, but if you're in the mood for a YouTube binge, have at it!
- Google+: We have the page, but honestly we aren't sure we need or want it. Ideas?
- Blogger (Alaska Fishing News): This is where our hot fishing news items are posted; mostly regulatory stuff, but other items too.
- Blogger (Alaska Hunting News): Hot hunting news and tips that don't have a home on the site. Check it out!
The Directory has always been a key pillar of the site, and now you can experience it on your mobile device! This is where you will find commercial operators, gear rental companies, charter boats, hunting guides and lodges, air charters, transporters, fishing tackle stores and tons more, all organized by type of business and location. Bookmark the Directory for your trip planning process.
The Store is one of the ways we support the site, but it's much more than that to us. We have grown it into what we believe to be the largest online collection of books, DVDs and maps focused on the Alaska outdoors. And now you can shop and purchase items directly from your mobile device! The new store is beautiful, and you will find it much easier to find products than before.
NEW SITE NAVIGATION & CONTENT
We've not only made it easier to find the content on our site, we've added tons of new pages! Check out our new Ketchikan Fishing Pages for a preview of where we're headed. This is the kind of information you need when you're putting your trip together and we are going to continue adding this level of content site-wide. Prince of Wales is up next, and we will announce it on our Facebook page when it is ready for viewing.
The old timers here will remember the many articles that used to live on the old site. You might be surprised to find that they're all still there! We have created an Article Archives area, where each one is categorized and linked out to the old site. We will be moving these articles over to the new site as we have time, and at that point we will sever those links. Nothing will be lost, but if you want to read those old articles, many of which are still as entertaining and informative as they always were, you have direct access to them.
We hope you enjoy the new site, and that you will refer your friends to us as well. The site is growing like crazy (traffic has doubled in the last four years), and we are constantly looking for ways to make it even better.
If you are interested in writing for us, by all means, drop a line and let's talk.
In your wanderings around the site, by all means let us know if you find a broken link, or something that doesn't look right. We have created a sticky note in Forum Tips, where you can post the links to damaged pages, along with whatever is wrong with it. We appreciate your help in identifying these issues.
Finally, you can help us by becoming familiar with the main site pages outside the forums, and referring folks out to those whenever questions come up that are answered by that content. Thanks!
Really digging the new site. It's refreshing!