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Rkstar Message Board : General Discussion :
The state of the local music scene, about the site, whatever.

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Topic:New Metroland website
AuthorMessage
by: Rkstar
Mar. 4, '11 11:01am
A few years ago, whenever a local band came out with a new website, I wrote a mini review of the new site. As time went on, band's websites became less important. They could just use a Myspace or Facebook page and their required internet presence was taken care of.

Last week I noticed our local alternative newsweekly Metroland debuted a fancy new website. It's super important for media/publications to have a good website, so I thought I'd do another quick mini review.

The first thing I noticed is that it looks much better than their old site... which hadn't been updated since early 2002 (right up there with the current Rkstar site). The next thing I noticed is that it's a WordPress site. WordPress is cool in that it does 90% of the coding for you, making the creation of a new site a lot quicker and more about the actual design than the backend (rather than building the whole site from scratch as I'm doing with Rkstar 2.0). The downside is because it's not optimized for any particular site, it doesn't handle traffic well. And if you've gone to the Metroland site in the past day or so, you may have noticed it's super sluggish or often doesn't even load at all. I'm guessing after the original wave of people checking out the new site dies down, it will be much more responsive.

Another technical issue I accidentally found was that the site was meant to use the Arial font, but it's misspelled ("Ariel") so it defaults to Helvetica. Nothing that really affects usability, it would look a little better with Arial. I also noticed several times the site links to "metrolandd.net" (note the two d's?). It's still a valid site, probably used to build the new site while keeping the old one actively online. I was also hoping the site would be more contained, but if you click on Metroland blogs, it brings you to a TypePad site, and if you go to their classifieds, it brings you to Avenews.com.

Everyone goes to the site for something different. For me, it's concert listings and to read the full paper online. It took a while to figure out...but I found you can view concert listings or club listings (smaller concerts), but not both at the same time. I think if I were a local music fan, I'd like to have them in the same list. Either way, it's a huge step up from the previous site. Though if you try to click on a venue to get its listings, you get a 404 error. As far as reading the full paper online, I was excited to see a picture of this week's cover right there on the front page. I clicked it and what do I get? A bigger picture of the cover. Where's the rest of the paper? More specifically- where are all the venue advertisements with their own concert listings? Until that feature comes along, I'll have to stick with the physical paper.

So maybe the site should add a feature with a map of all the places we can find the Metroland. It's frustrating driving around town going from place to place trying to figure out where the paper might be that week.

How 'bout you? Do you have any thoughts on the new Metroland website?
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