Old and new websites
Left: The Lewisville Texan Journal's old website. Right: new website.

Staff reports

Regular visitors to The Lewisville Texan Journal’s website will notice a completely new look, now that LTJ has transitioned to a new content management system.

The new site, built using the popular WordPress CMS engine, is meant to be responsive for optimal viewing on computers, tablets, and mobile devices.

“We’ve known for some time that our website was at its limits, and was not serving mobile users very well,” said LTJ publisher Steve Southwell.  “A responsive website should make it easier for our users to read from a variety of devices.”

The old website and its archive of thousands of past stories will remain in place for the time being, so that users can still search the archives.  However, user registrations and commenting will be turned off on the old website.

The new site will display when users navigate to LewisvilleTexan.com.

“It gives us the ability to display our stories in a more visually compelling way, and place our most important stories at the top for greater impact,” said Southwell.  “It also makes it easier for us to get stories and photos posted more quickly, so that we can spend more time researching and writing the news, and less time fighting with an outdated website to get it posted.”

Advertising is another reason for the site upgrade.  The old layout was less able to display ads tailored to mobile users’ screens.  That resulted in reduced revenue.

“Ads are super-important,” said Southwell. “We are committed to keeping both the website and our print edition free for readers, but it costs money to produce, and we need the ads to pay the bills.”

Southwell said he hates the pop-up and content-obscuring ads that other websites use, and would prefer to never have to go that route.  “They are obnoxious, and nobody reads them,” said Southwell, referring to screen takeover ads.

The new website was designed and implemented by local web designer Shannon Laird, with Hands On Web.

The LTJ had been on the old software, Xoops, since it first went online as the WhosPlayin.com blog back in 2004.  It went through several upgrades and revamps over the years, including the name change to The Lewisville Texan Journal, and the launch of our printed weekly newspaper last August.

“We hope our readers will bookmark our site on their mobile devices, and check in often,” said Southwell.