A new era in local media starts today with the official launch of The Times’ new website.
The new media platform will allow for more stories, photographs and information than ever before available in the North Georgia area, all on a site that is designed for optimal display on a variety of devices, including cellphones, tablets and desktop computers.
“The newly designed website is much more user friendly, and will allow us to do things we have not been able to do in the past. It’s going to be a whole new experience for our audience, especially those who prefer to access us on a mobile device,” said Norman Baggs, general manager of The Times.
Visitors to the site will find a crisper, cleaner design that loads faster than the previous site. They will also find a continuous scroll of stories on the homepage that improves the reading experience.
Fans of The Times’ e-edition, which provides a complete digital version of each day’s printed newspaper, will find easier access in the top level of the menus on both desktop and mobile versions.
For mobile users, there will be access to more news and features than before.
Another new feature of the revamped site is an expanded community and entertainment calendar that has listings from the immediate area as well as throughout the region in a highly visible, easily accessed presentation that allows users to post their own events.
The new site also offers more opportunities for readers to participate in contests and sweepstakes. Thanks to the design of the site, advertisers also will have more options for presenting their message to The Times’ audience than in the past.
For the next week, the new website will be open to anyone at no charge. After that, only subscribers will have full access to all of the elements of the site. Nonsubscribers will be allowed to view two stories per month without a subscription.
Those with established accounts on the old gainesvilletimes.com website will need to log in with an email address rather than their previous user names. New accounts can easily be created by clicking the “log in” button.
Current subscribers to The Times will have full access to the site immediately. Those interested in subscribing can take advantage of an introductory offer of only 99 cents for the first month of access, with an ongoing rate for a digital subscription of less than $10 a month.
“We are frequently asked why we expect users of our website to subscribe for doing so. The answer is simple: We are a private business and cannot afford to give away our work effort. Collecting and disseminating the news is a very expensive process. We work hard to do a better job of it than anyone else, but we can’t do it for free,” Baggs said.
The public has had access to the new website in beta mode for the past week as final tweaks and improvements were being made. The site officially went live Tuesday, and the old platform no longer is available.