Two years ago, we launched this experiment with a handful of blogs not knowing quite what to expect or what the response would be.
In that time, we’ve had nearly 100,000 posts from our bloggers read tens of millions of times and our readers have written a half million comments. As of today we’ve got hundreds of Chicagoans blogging about sports, fitness, food, sex, politics and tens of thousands of regular users.
So today we’re launching a new site that we believe will give us more room to grow and make it easier for you to enjoy your favorite blogs and (hopefully) find some new ones.
Basically, we’ve outgrown our first home. For the techies among you, our first home was hosted on Movable Type and built by developer extraordinaire Byrne Reese. Our new home is built on top of the best-in-class blog platform WordPress and was developed exclusively by our internal staff, namely Ryan Mark and Ryan Nagle (you can call them the Ryan’s).
Why WordPress? It’s becoming more and more of a web standard, and we felt we could offer our bloggers the best blogging tools the web has to offer while allowing us take advantage of all the great work going on every day in the WordPress development community.
Here are a few improvements that you’ll notice immediately:
• You can now log in using your Facebook account.
• ChicagoNow is now much more mobile friendly and far easier to read on an iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, etc.
• Comments can be published directly to Facebook.
• Our blog search will now suggest blogs to match your query.
• Blog categorization is vastly improved.
• New bloggers can have a blog up and running much more quickly than before (once you make your pitch to us)
• Blogs show related posts from bloggers writing on similar topics.
• The design is more attractive and less cluttered.
Throughout the summer we’re going to be adding more features for our readers, including the ability for you to “follow” your favorite blogs and also contribute your own blog posts.
One immediate difference you’ll notice is we’ve eliminated user profiles, and with them user pics. Not to worry, we’ll have those back soon and in the meantime you can add a user pic by logging in through Facebook or by going to gravatar.com and uploading an image that will sync up with the email address associated with your ChicagoNow account.
This is an exciting time here at ChicagoNow, for our staff and our bloggers. We hope it will be for you as well. In the meantime we hope you’ll sign up for an account (if you don’t already have one) read some new blogs, write some comments to the bloggers and start making your voice heard!
And please let us know what you think about the new site by sending us feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org. We look forward to hearing from you!
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