New Website is Fun and Informative
Something new and fun this way comes.
This week marks the debut of The Daniel Island News’ retooled website, which promises to create a worldwide virtual stage for Daniel Island.
Browse to www.thedanielislandnews.com and you’ll find links to island businesses, groups, churches and other organizations in a brand-new format.
“This site is about information,” said The Daniel Island News publisher Sue Detar, who founded the weekly newspaper in October 2003. “It is a Daniel Island portal website where people – both local and all over the world – can come and find out about Daniel Island. It is, first and foremost, for the Daniel Island community, but it’s also for the whole worldwide web.”
Increasing numbers of people use the web as a primary source for information and the new website will reflect that, Detar said.
“It has a Daniel Island AccuWeather link, news, ‘Island Life’ photos, community links, contests and ads,” she said. “We are eventually going to have a shopping cart in which people can purchase items such as ‘Island Life’ photos, merchandise from advertisers and tickets to events. This is really positive for all of the businesses on the island.”
She credits former resident Marc Babson with introducing the portal concept locally with his former website danielislandnews.com.
While Daniel Island residents can use a membership-only intranet site such as the informative dicommunity.org, it can be difficult for people elsewhere to find comprehensive island information. The portal changes that. It offers a broad variety of resources and services designed to attract and keep a larger audience.
“Marc has been a great help to me as I planned this project,” Detar said. “When he came back here for a visit last year, he sold me his domain name and was incredibly helpful in many ways.”
Three words distinguish the new portal from older, more traditional sites: topical, relevant and current, according to local consultant Pat Bruce. He has worked with Detar in developing the size and scope of the new site.
He said the search-engine cyberscape has evolved remarkably in the past two or three years, thanks to revolutionary advances introduced by Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin.
“The ‘Google Dudes’ have made search engines more credible,” Bruce said. “Their algorithms can dictate the ranking according to information, content and integrity. That’s why The Daniel Island News is already no. 3 on Google and no. 5 on Yahoo even before the launch of the portal. It’s because the newspaper has always had great content.”
Now the website will be even more interactive and fun, Detar said. For example, the answer to the weekly “Mystery Photo” is now a contest sponsored by Moo-na Lisa and the answer will be posted on the webpage.
“People can go online to enter a guess and have a chance to win ice cream from Moo-na Lisa,” she said. “Grandparents could submit favorite photos of their grandkids. It gets people involved with the newspaper and, of course, we always want ideas from our readers.”
Detar is enthused about the use of streaming-video technology on her new website with short features on golf and tennis tips, for example.
“I think it’s exciting to mix our newspaper content and the Internet medium with film technology,” she said. “We hope to involve children who could submit short films on subjects such as the best skateboard trick and things like that.”
Daniel Island resident Shoshanna Szuch of Charleston Marketing has designed and optimized Detar’s new website. She, too, is excited about the website’s potential.
“This is going to be a fun site to visit because, unlike the physical newspaper, you can post photos without limitations of space,” she said. “It’s a friendly user interface for Sue so that she can upload information quickly and easily. And if there’s breaking news, such as a rabid raccoon on the loose, she can get the information out to the community right away.”
It has been quite an odyssey for the attorney-turned-publisher, whose idea for a community newspaper became reality on Oct. 30, 2003. That inaugural 16-page issue featured news about the popular “Race for the Cure” and Daniel Island “Park Day” events. In less than two years, Detar’s paper has grown dramatically, averaging 32 to 40 pages each week. Now recognized as the newspaper for the island, The Daniel Island News will be the official print sponsor for October’s “Park Day: A Day of Giving.”
The Pennsylvania native moved to Daniel Island with her husband, Todd, son, Ben, and daughter, Carly, in 1997. Their son, Jackson, was born here.
“There were only a couple of streets that were paved when we got here and it felt very rural, which we liked,” Detar recalled. “There were so few people living here that I felt like the Scott Park pool was our own private pool. But it got kind of lonely at times.”
She is lonely no more, juggling the demands of a young family along with a popular and dynamic newspaper in a growing community. Is she enjoying the ride?
“The ride’s been good,” Detar said. “I never imagined the paper would be what it is today. It’s a lot of work, but it is definitely fun. The launch of our new website is just another step forward. I love this community and want to do something right for Daniel Island. And if you want to visit our new website, just remember, our name is our address: www.thedanielislandnews.com.”