I’ve been waiting to make this announcement for almost a year. That’s when we started this journey. It wasn’t always easy, but I knew it was important. We needed to better position our company within the increasingly competitive world of online resources for parents and families. So my staff and I, and a team of talented young digital technology and marketing professionals, persevered.
As we sent this magazine to the printer, we prepared to flip the switch on a brand new website. And now there’s a whole new look, feel and purpose to the online version of our magazine at raisingarizonakids.com.
It took some digging to help me remember when RAISING ARIZONA KIDS first jumped onto the Internet. My best guess, looking back through the mastheads of early archives, is that it happened sometime between our July and August 1999 issues.
No announcement, no fanfare, no big deal. At the time, the only purpose we could see in even having a website was to make it easier for readers to subscribe to the print magazine. None of the calendar entries we posted that year listed web addresses. Nor did any of the paid advertisements.
I was probably the most reluctant to move into the digital age. I was already an overwhelmed mom/business owner and at first all I could see was more work to do, more research to tackle, more learning curves to conquer. Thankfully, others on my staff—especially former Managing Editor Sandy Liberman—grasped its potential long before I did. Sandy can be very persistent; she won me over.
The next challenge was how to do it. In that we were blessed by association with Evan Blomquist, husband of Calendar & Directories Editor Mala Blomquist. Evan was among the earliest programmers in the Valley to master HTML code. Somehow he made time in his otherwise busy schedule of teaching and tech support to volunteer his time to help us build our first website. (Little-known detail of our company history: We started out with the URL razkids.com.) Over the years, Evan continued to help us as we adapted our site to new challenges: archiving our magazine articles, bringing our calendar online and providing new content—including podcasts and videos—to visitors. He also introduced us to Leon Hauck, who continues to provide technical support and has been a huge help during this recent transition.
Our new web design team comes from SpinSix, a Scottsdale-based company that combines technology, design and marketing to help clients maximize their presence online.
The team—made up mostly of 30-somethings with young children of their own—took a special interest in our project, creating a new site that combines the best practices of Search Engine Optimization and user-friendly design.
We are very excited about the results. The new site is fresh, fun and easy to navigate. It takes full advantage of the wonderful images we consistently get from staff photographer Daniel Friedman. And best of all, it’s set up to make it much easier for families to find and benefit from recently updated resource directories and decades worth of still-relevant content.
Use it, bookmark it and let us know what you think.
This post first appeared in the June 2012 print magazine.