Tribune unveils new website
By Tribune Staff
With over 1.2 million articles read online in the last 13 months and rapidly increasing traffic, The Trussville Tribune staff realized the online version of the newspaper was both a blessing and a curse. Rapid growth and dramatic increases in online traffic led to the change of servers and the website redesign for the newspaper’s online home, www.trussvilletribune.com.
“It’s really interesting when you stop and think about,” Tribune publisher Scott Buttram said. “The Internet has been the primary reason offered for cutbacks in the newspaper industry across the country, but for a community weekly like The Tribune, the Internet has been a huge opportunity. The Tribune’s online edition allows us to break news up to the minute. Our readers don’t have to wait for the print version to know what is happening in Trussville, Clay and Pinson.”
The Trussville Tribune rolled out the new website last week without much fanfare in what could be described as a “soft” opening. Hans Lemons of Ferretnet was contracted for the conversion and worked for several weeks behind the scenes in preparation of the launch. Lemons oversaw the creation of the new format and moved the domain to a dedicated scalable server to handle the increased traffic. The new website offers a cleaner look and is much easier to navigate.
“Our old website and servers simply couldn’t handle the traffic any longer,” Buttram said. “We knew there was a problem and our readers knew there was a problem. Popular stories took forever to open and it was frustrating for everyone. We actually cut back on our online content during the move to help curtail the traffic and we still had thousands of readers every day. We have a fiercely loyal and supportive reader base in our three cities. If the biggest problem we have is too many readers, I’ll take that problem any day and figure out how to accommodate them.”
Focusing on the cities of Trussville, Clay and Pinson, The Tribune covers all city council meetings of each city, crime, school news, events and sports. The Tribune is the only weekly newspaper exclusively reporting on the three cities. The newspaper goes to press every Wednesday and is distributed free at over 100 locations each week.
Growth in Northeast Jefferson county has strongly impacted The Tribune’s popularity. “According to the 2010 U.S. Census, Clay and Trussville were the fastest growing cities in Jefferson county, respectively,” Buttram said. “Add in Pinson, which has also shown extensive growth, and we have a market area of about 40,000 people before you even consider another 150,000 in the immediate surrounding areas. What happens in one city greatly effects readers in a neighboring city. Watching The Tribune become the central hub of news and communication for the area has been gratifying and is a testament to the hard work of our very dedicated staff.”
Tribune readers will see even more multimedia growth in the future. “We have plans to include more video to accompany stories,” Buttram explained. “There are several other interactive elements that we hope to fold into the website in the near future. This is a changing media. We can’t sit back and think we have reached a pinnacle because everything could change tomorrow. It is imperative that we remain fluid and flexible in this industry. There is nothing that The New York Times is doing that we can’t do on the local level. In fact, because of our small size, there are quite a few things that we can do better.”
The Tribune’s Facebook page has over 8,500 fans and trussvilletribune.com averages just over 24,000 articles downloaded each week. Currently, 873 people follow The Tribune through Twitter. Most stories are linked on Facebook and then tweeted out to readers.