Friday, January 20, 2006

What's missing from

What do you look for in a web site? In particular, what do you look for on the Capital Press web site? And most importantly, are you finding it?

Tens of thousands of people come to the Capital Press web site every month at least once, and many come back more than once. We can tell what some of the people are looking at from the pages that get the most views. But what I’m curious about is what isn’t here that should be. Or maybe some things people are looking for are here, but they are just too hard to find. has all of the same farm and ranch stories and advertisements that can be found in our print additions. Some of that material can only be accessed by subscribers, while other information is free to anyone who stops by. But (or depending on how you want to look at it) is really a distinctive thing from our print editions.

People use computers and web sites differently than a printed newspaper gets used. And they are built differently too.

One advantage we have at, is that we can literally publish 24-hours a day, 7-days a week here if we want to do so. Our printed newspaper only comes out once a week. One deadline per week. One chance to get something in print. And if that deadline is missed, it takes 7 more days before we get a chance to print it again.

In some cases, waiting 7 days is just too long. The agricultural world and the rural lifestyle may be intertwined with the growing seasons, and may have a tradition of a slower pace to life, but today most, if not all, farmers and ranchers and those they do business with are connected to the world with a vast array of technology. Farmers use satellites to see what weather is coming their way or to guide their tractors through their fields. They also use other blessed/cursed modern devices like cell phones, computers, fax machines, TVs, radios, etc., that make the spread of communication and information virtually instantaneous with the next farm over or people on the other side of the globe.

At we are certainly making a concerted effort to ensure that we are keeping people up to date with major developments affecting West Coast agriculture throughout the week, not just once a week. But we can certainly do better. The question is: Where should our time and energy be spent to provide you with a useful website?

So if you have some ideas for things you would like to see on this Web site, please let us know. We are constantly evaluating what we do and where we want to go. If we know what would make this site more useful and engaging for you, we have a much greater chance of being able to provide it for you. If you don’t tell us what you want and like, we are left to guess or rely on our own predilections. I may want Southern California concert information and Oregon State Beavers scores on the home page. But this site isn’t about me or for me. It’s for you. It’s for people who farm and ranch or want information about agriculture in Idaho, Oregon, Washington and California.

So, write to me at gwest[at]capitalpress[dot]com and tell us what you like and what you would like to see that you don’t know. And visit us at to see how we are doing at implementing your suggestions.

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