How the Web Orchard came to Love Shrewsbury

This article is the first in a series from Information Solutions Limited/The Web Orchard, about the development of the Love Shrewsbury website.

We love running the Love Shrewsbury site and through a series articles we'd like to give you an insider look into as to why we came together with Severn magazine to build Love Shrewsbury, demonstrate the technologies involved and how what we hope for in the future. We'd also love to hear your feedback on how you find the site and any features you'd like to see.

How it all began

Following on from a  glowing recommendation Michael Tinkler, Editor and Director of the Severn Magazine, apporached us to build a website for his new venture. He wanted a clean and simple site, keen not to detract from the printed version, but a place that anyone could view the magazine online. During this time we saw the first copy of the magazine and were very impressed to say the least. In house we got quite excited about it, even in the first issue it was showing us things we didn't know about the town and events that were happening. 

Over the following months Michael grew the circualtion of the magazine with a spectacular boost coming from Sainsbury's. They had recognised the positve nature of the magazine and wanted to help be part of it. They offered to place copies of the magazine by their check-outs which gave an ever growing boost to the magazine's circulation. With this came a wave of interest and requests for local news and articles to be included. He identified that a lot of the content came just in time or was time sesitive and these articles would often be out of date before the magazine was published. With all this great quality content hitting his mailbox Michael wanted a way to bring this to his audience, but how?

We had all kept in touch over these months and were very supportive of each others successes and it didn't take long for us to agree to partner in loveshrewsbury.com. We have a lot of love for the town, one of the reasons we chose to keep our offices in the centre at the Pump House on Coton Hill and not to move out. We also think this positivity is what helped win us a Mayor of Shrewsbury award for outstanding contribution to the community. In short, if we can do anything to help promote the town, not only does it help us but little by little it helps make Shrewsbury a better place for us all.

So Love Shrewsbury was born. It's a pleasure to work on and we're all cretainly more informed becasue of it. There is so much going on and so much energy in the town we created the Pulse and What's On sections to show case it. We'll talk more about these sections and our plans for them in a future atricle. Needless to say they will be as good as you help make them.

Love Shrewsbury

So, without further ado, we'd like to talk about the features of the website and the ideas behind them. 

Galleries

When we were first conceptualising the Love Shrewsbury site we wanted to make imagery key to what we did, we made a bold decision that every article will have an associated image, this would then be automatically resized for the article header and thumbnail.

We also made the decision that every article would have the ability to have an image gallery, we developed this so authors could simply drag and drop images into the site making it as easy and as quick as possible to create rich image galleries.

This great feature was taken advantage of when covering events such as the Flower Show and Minsterley Show.

 

Categories/Tagging

The site's category structure allowed us to categorise content (either Business, Community, Pulse, Tourism, What’s On) while the tagging system allows us to relate content together in a less rigid fashion.

For instance we can tag content based on location, such as Shrewsbury Sixth Form College, or by campaign, such as our Campaign for Live Music. We also relate content for competitions or events such as the Flower Show.

Trending Data

Knowing which articles people are visiting on the website at a given time gives a great insight into what’s popular. This data then forms the basis of the weekly newsletter and helps decide which events we should cover.

 

Infinity Scroll

Small usability enhancements such as infinity scroll as used on sites such as Facebook and Twitter make a big difference to how people browse the site. When someone gets to the bottom of a page it will automatically load new entries saving the user an additional click to the next page - hence they are able to scroll for infinity.

Social Media

Love Shrewsbury gets over 40% of its traffic from Social Media, when we launched the site we made it a priority to grow our Facebook and Twitter feeds as fast as possible. With Facebook we invested in ads to attract people in Shrewsbury to the Facebook page.

 

Like any of the features and interested in finding out more? Visit Information Solutions' web company The Web Orchard or call 01743 343411

 

Section:

Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on petejwhite.com

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