Nearly a year after expanding YourObserver.com, The Observer’s website, YourObserver.com, earned an award for “Best Site Architecture and Overall Design” in the Suburban Newspapers of America’s 2010 Community website contest in June.
Since then, YourObserver.com has almost doubled its number of unique visitors and pageviews from the previous year, bringing the number of people visiting the site up from 20,000 people a month to almost 40,000.
Much of this success is not only because of YourObserver.com’s new social-networking features but also its new Contest button in the toolbar.
The Contest button leads users to the Contest page, which directs them to YourObserver.com’s online contests. This summer, YourObserver.com hosted contests:
Slice of Americana Photo Contest — Users submitted their favorite photo that represented a “Slice of Americana.” Participants then voted for their favorite photo, which was featured in The Observer’s Fourth of July special section. The winner also won a Canon PowerShot A470.
Registered users: 244; votes: 5,503
Neal Communities Central Park Bench Contest — Users voted on their favorite bench created by local organizations. The winning bench garnered prime placement in Neal Communities’ new Central Park development, along with a $1,000 donation from Neal Communities to the winning organization.
Registered users: 773; votes: 55,784
The “Standing O” Awards — Last year, this contest won “Best Voting-Only” contest in the nation. This year, the “Standing O” Awards brought in unexpected numbers, doubling the amount of users and votes for the Black Tie Season’s Standout woman, man, couple, event and invitation. The winners were revealed at the Black Tie Bash in October.
Registered users: 2,225; votes: 20,154
Name the New Store — David and Molly Jackson needed help naming their new store, which is the sister store to their New Balance flagship. Users submitted their ideas for names and rated their favorites.
Registered users: 172; votes: 264
Two of these contests have been nominated for best contests in the nation by Second Street Media: Best voting-only contest — The “Standing O” Awards; Best Advertiser-centric contest — Name the New Store.
In addition to the contests, YourObserver.com now features video content in many of its news stories. Users can view our videos not only on YourObserver.com but also on our YouTube channel: YourObserverVideo.
Another addition is the new way to view online photo galleries. Photo galleries can be viewed in thumbnail form at the top toolbar, but users can also watch the photos in a slideshow.
Users also can purchase photos seen on YourObserver.com in a myriad of ways, including prints as well as on products such as mousepads, mugs, magnets, T-shirts and canvas prints.
YourObserver.com’s new Classified page gives users the ability to search ads by category and newspaper as well as place an ad.
Finally, if you’re searching for one of The Observer ’s many special sections, scroll to the bottom of the homepage and click on “Read The Observer ’s Other Publications.” You’ll be taken to a page where you can browse all special sections in a virtual page-flip format.
But, that’s not all … there’s more to come. Stay tuned for The Observer ’s new eNewsletters that will feature daily headlines and weekly updates for Black Tie, A&E and Real Estate as well as the weekly electronic editions of each newspaper.
In addition, The Observer may be getting its own iPhone/iPad app.