In the online world, outgrowing your current website is a good problem to have. That’s what has happened to speedonthewater.com in the last several years. Our platform became inadequate for the volume of content we produce.
Five years ago, we started with a site that was designed to showcase one or two new stories per day. The last thing we wanted to do was create a content site with “empty buckets”—links to headings and subjects that take visitors nowhere—or buckets with stale content. Both are cardinal sins in the online world, where the freshness date on content is severely limited.
So we started with a site we knew we could handle filling. But along the way, we began producing more and more daily content, as many as six new stories a day. Given the constraints of our original platform, that meant a story that went live in the morning could be completely off the home page that night, and that under-served the content. Not every visitor hits speedonthewater.com from morning to night, and what we learned through visitor feedback was that our stories actually were cycling too quickly—again a good problem to have—off our home page.
Enter speedonthewater.com “2.0,” which after considerable time, effort and expense (big shout out to our longtime web guy, David McCreary, who I worked with at boats.com in early 2000) went live today. While the news slideshow you’ve come to know from the first site remains—in a bigger and more active version—the rest of the format has changed completely.
The modular design, each module with its own subject heading, of the site doesn’t just make it easier to find content by category and hold that content on the home page longer, it makes the site so friendly to tablets and smart phones that there’s no need for a speedonthewater.com “app.” We’ve also added a few new content categories including People, Racing, Latest Photos and Video. We definitely welcome your (PG-13 max, please) submissions in the latter two categories. We realize we need to bolster those departments as soon as possible.
Bottom line: We hope you like the speedonthewater.com 2.0. We know you’ll find bugs and glitches as you work your way through it and we look forward to your feedback—Jason Johnson and I are both reachable through the site.
Of course, there will be a Speedonthewater.com 3.0 someday. But at least for now, we’re in no danger of outgrowing our new platform.