Catching Up

It is autumn in New England-my most beloved time of year. Apple fritters, harvest festivals, and all sorts of baked goods covered in cinnamon: These are a few of my favorite things. Outside the EContent office windows the leaves are turning, and inside there's plenty of change afoot. Yep, 2011 has been a year of reimagining for us, and it's all starting to come to fruition.

Every month I sit down to write this column, and since I've never been a fan of "housekeeping" editorials, I rarely talk specifically about the goings-on of our editorial office. The truth is, though, EContent confronts many of the same issues and challenges as our readers. Sometimes we benefit as much from researching the articles we publish as our readers do from consuming the end product. Heck, I've been known to assign articles when I start looking for information to solve a problem and just can't find it.

Still, EContent has struggled with one thing over the years: keeping up with the technology it covers. When you're writing about cutting-edge technology, it can be tough to practice what you preach. For every story we write about the newest tools in the econtent realm, we write one about the challenges facing publishers in light of evolving technology and dwindling revenues. Even in the age of social media, where tools are free and bountiful, we have hustled to make the most of our limited resources in order to stay current.

Months of conference calls, meetings, and emails -- the modern-day equivalent of blood, sweat, and tears -- have been put into figuring out the best path forward for EContent, which has long been an invaluable resource for its subscribers. We went over our strengths (such as well-written, in-depth content that's easy for anyone to understand) and our weaknesses (such as our digital presence) and decided where our time and energy would be best spent.
So it is with a deep sense of relief that I say, nay, exclaim: We're getting a new website!

I'm sure you, dear readers, share my excitement. Anyone who has tried to read our site in recent years has no doubt walked away with a headache and blurry vision. It has vexed me since my first day on the job-truth be told, it confused me before I even came to work here, when I looked at the site in preparation for my interview.

Now, though, EContent will aim to incorporate all the things that it tells other digital publishers are so important. While the general facelift might be the most obvious change, we aim to make our valuable content more shareable and findable. We'll be incorporating more interactivity and more types of media. Most importantly, instead of being a repository for our archived print content, I'll be putting more effort into digital-only content. Look for new columnists, web features, more case studies, and more news. (Hint: You've probably already noticed many of them.)

Digital is no longer an afterthought, but it has become a priority-exactly the way it should be.

Don't get me wrong; we've still got some catching up to do. These days a slick, functional website is only the beginning of a good digital strategy. We know that EContent has to go mobile. Our readers want to check us out on their tablets, smartphones, and e-readers-and we're working on getting there, I promise.

With any luck, we'll learn valuable lessons that we can pass on to you.

Something as complicated as a complete website overhaul takes time-and patience-but what I'm looking forward to most about the new site is the ability to interact more with readers. On the old site, you couldn't even comment on stories, except on the blog. The ability to comment is one of the most basic expectations held by any reader visiting a site, and I hope that as we move forward, loyal EContent readers will take the time to give us feedback on all of the new changes-let us know what you like about our content ... and what you don't like. I hope you'll share your thoughts and expertise and tell us about the challenges you're facing as publishers and how we can shape our coverage to better serve your needs. After all, as excited as I am to be getting "my new website," all this work is really for you -- our readers.