From Editordude’s Desk: Some Props and Some Feedback Needed

by on August 5, 2015 · 11 comments

in Media, Ocean Beach

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OB Rag editordude’s desk.

Do You Use Our Calendar Section or Classified Ad Section? Take our survey below.

Wanted to check in with our readers, and let folks know about some goings-on, plus wanted to get some feedback from you about our monthly calendar and our classified section.

First up, google notified the OB Rag recently that we are no longer suitable for mobile devices, after nearly 8 years of online publishing. For about a week, our daily statistics dropped. But they’re creeping back up. You can help. Check in with us everyday, multiple times a day – let’s show google.

Our colleagues over at San Diego Free Press – our “kid” who just turned 3 – were recognized with a number of awards  for excellent writing by the San Diego chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists at their annual get-together. Congrats to all those freepers and contributors whose online blogging has been given some needed props.

Later, some illness swept through some of the crowd who ate the food at the Bail Hai event – 61 people were affected with noro virus; at least one of our freepers was sick with food poisoning. Talk about getting some bad press!

Don’t forget to attend the birthday bash for our “kid” – the Galaextravacaniversy this Saturday, August 8th at the Border X Brewing in Barrio Logan. It’s from 5 to 9 – Councilman David Alvarez and I are both speaking.

Ever since the first OB Rag began publishing in the Fall of 1970, it has been a proponent of marijuana. Repulsed by the hypocrisy of an alcohol-swilling society that jailed people found with pot joints in the 1970s, the OB Rag writers have supported efforts over the years to make it legal. Today, we’re proud to display an advertisement on our homepage for the very first licensed medical marijuana dispensary in the Ocean Beach area (Midway District) – the Point Loma Patients Consumer Cooperative. How times have changed – and remained the same. Check them out if you have your card or letter.

Speaking about advertisements, you know, that those businesses who advertise on the OB Rag are in the front lines of those who support us, who support our ability to continue publishing local news and progressive views about Ocean Beach and beyond. So, they deserve your support, dear reader. Check out their ad and their website. And if you utilize their products or services, make sure you tell them you saw their ad on the OB Rag.

Also, if you would like to share  your talents and skills in writing, poetry or photos, contact us at our official email address: obragblog@gmail.com . If you would like to attend a workshop on the Basics of Citizen Journalism, get in touch.

We need your feedback on something. Actually 2 things.

As you can guess, the OB Rag has limited resources and time.

So, what do you think about our Monthly Calendar – the “Events” page on our navigation bar at the top of the home page – and our Classified Section with listings for housing, jobs and things to sell or trade?

It does take energy and time to maintain these services on the OB Rag for our readers. But if no one actually uses them,  then why?

So, please take the following poll and give us some feedback on what you think about them.

[yop_poll id=”22″]

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

Marc Snelling Marc Snelling August 5, 2015 at 7:50 pm

Google is probably not saying that because of traffic, but because font sizes are too small to navigate easily on a 3″ screen. The drop in traffic could be from google search result changes for mobile devices.

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie August 6, 2015 at 10:16 am

Exactly.

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Marc Snelling Marc Snelling August 10, 2015 at 8:33 am

I’d look at the OBRag stats to see what percentage of visitors are using smart phones and tablets to view the site. If it is low I wouldn’t bother making any changes to suit Google. If it is relatively high than you might want to consider expanding text size and decreasing columns. (For example one site I work on averages 3-5% mobile traffic – not enough to justify big changes)

This can be a lot of work though, and it is hard to find a balance. Some mainstream newspapers have switched to a more mobile-friendly format that IMO makes the site less usable for people reading on computers. I have no problem using OBRag on my 3″ screen, but it is difficult to put comments in that way.

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patty jones August 11, 2015 at 5:10 pm

Here I sit tapping in this comment on my Droid screen…

Thanks for the feedback, Marc. Yeah, the balance. I did a lot of work to make the Free Press mobile friendly while trying to keep the overall look as much the same as possible. But the Freep is different because there are no ads to deal with. When it folds in on itself and pushes content into a single column there are no problems with ad placement.

Google knows what device you’re using and seems to push mobile friendly if that’s what your device needs. I can do the same search from my phone and desktop from the same IP address and get different results.

I should have paid more attention to the percentage of mobile users before their matrix changed. Meh.

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Dave Rice August 6, 2015 at 12:19 am

I liked the classifieds when they launched, but never found enough traffic to make them worthwhile – as far as the calendar, I’ve never visited, though I check articles daily. That said, I still voted to keep them both – perhaps someday they’ll catch on. But if it’s in any way a hassle for Patty to maintain, I’d give them the axe, as they’re not the heart of the site by any means…

– Dave, former/future OBecian

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Frank Gormlie Frank Gormlie August 6, 2015 at 10:15 am

Hey Dave – It’s really up to me to put the time in. Patty is way to busy for them. But got your message. Thanks – and gracias for all the time and energy you put up with in sharing our posts.

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Dave Rice August 7, 2015 at 12:03 am

Well kudos to you for all the work! I thought you were the content guy and Patty the site mechanics gal…either way, props to both of you for keeping the rig chugging along.

I still like the idea of the extra features, but if in practice it’s taking much more than an hour or so a month to maintain I’d say your efforts are more valuable elsewhere, like in curating the content that drives the site.

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Dave Rice August 7, 2015 at 12:05 am

PS – the way I get my calendar content is the every-couple-weeks article with calendar content you post to the front page – keep that even if you axe the calendar itself!

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want2surf August 6, 2015 at 12:36 pm

E.D.:
I’m guessing the calendar actually takes a fair amount of time to verify and put together. I’d say that’s time better spent either focused on your great articles or just sitting back with a cold one. The ads give our local folks another venue to have a voice – keep ’em!

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Rufus August 7, 2015 at 7:47 pm

My 60 year old eyes are not up to reading much more than email on my droid phone, but I always read the Rag on my iPad. So there Google!

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Christo August 12, 2015 at 10:11 am

With respect to the Classified- there are a lot of OB/PL Facebook Pages dedicated to those topics that seem to get a bit of traffic. Perhaps put up links to them and be done with it? That way you don’t have to dedicate any additional time to them and you provide a community service. Just a thought…

Calendar- Just looked at it. Love it. More comprehensive than OB Town Council’s Site. Wish it had a way to add a specific event to my Google Calendar, or feed all events to my Google Calendar. Maybe rename it from “Events” to “OB Happenings” or something…. I know that takes up valuable banner space- but for some reason I never noticed it before.

Thanks for the hard work!
Christo

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