23 October 2018   |  Last Updated 09-05-2015 03:11

      Thursday 07, May 2015

      Salford news website opens public beta

      SALFORD'S biggest daily online newspaper, SalfordOnline.com, has launched a beta version of its new website, which is open for the public to view and comment on.

      The build and design of the new site has been entirely donated by community volunteers who are readers and fans of SalfordOnline.com.

      The public beta is now available online at http://www.salfordsoapbox.co.uk

      A specific section of the new site has been opened up for feedback, questions, comments and bug fixes.

      Readers can also email editor@salfordonline.com, tweet us @salfordonline or join 10,000 fans on their Facebook group.

      The daily news website has been operating out of Eccles in Greater Manchester since 2005.

      Twice nominated for Best Media Website in 2008 & 2009, it won the Heart of Salford Award for Organisation of the Year in 2014.

      News Editor Tom Rodgers said: “We hope this new build website will more accurately reflect the editorial value SalfordOnline.com offers to the city of Salford and beyond.

      “New sections of our existing site were always added on as and when required, but it was never really fit for purpose to highlight what we're best at: breaking local news, showcasing complex video and covering the biggest local stories in a way that people love to read.

      “Because of the popularity of our breaking news, over 70 per cent of our readers are viewing the site on mobiles.

      “Making our site responsive for mobile and tablet viewers is the biggest change we've wanted to enact since our popularity really began to take off.

      “We've always worked with the consent of the local community – and now we're specifically asking for their help in developing our new website.”

      SalfordOnline.com now has over 50,000 unique readers a week, up 15% on 2014 while stats show the site had over 716,000 pageviews in March 2015.

      The new beta site features a cleaner design, liveblogging ability and is responsive for mobile and tablets.

      Recent research by Digital Hub suggests 76 per cent of people in the UK consume news digitally. The study of 7,500 Brits released today also shows 34 per cent of people now click through to news via social media.

      “SalfordOnline.com has always done things a little differently,” said Rodgers. “Our huge popularity on social media has always driven our news agenda and brought us closer to our audience.

      “15,000 fans on Facebook and almost 7,000 on Twitter tells you everything you need to know about our social influence.

      “Over the past 10 years we've survived and thrived on instinct – and by surrounding ourselves with huge banks of volunteers, from writers to reviewers and photographers who are keen to help out."

      “Our volunteers donate hundreds of hours every week to keep us the most relevant community-focused news website in the city,” said Rodgers.

      “Why? Because they like what we do, and we let them help. It's as simple as that. We treat every reader like a potential contributor. Everyone can do something if you just give them a chance.

      “It's been a lot of experimenting over the last 10 years and thankfully, that experiment has paid off.”

      Currently at http://www.salfordsoapbox.co.uk the domain will be transferred to http://www.salfordonline.com when the testing period is complete.

      “We want everyone to have a poke around and help shape the new SalfordOnline.com,” he added.

      “With this new site we will be able to capitalise on our enormous popularity locally to provide an even better service to the local community and to keep SalfordOnline.com growing as we know it can.”