New website for SNEWS wraps up rebranding effort

Since you're reading this, we don't need to tell you SNEWS has a new website -- the first since January 2006. Well, it's about time! Yes, we thought so too. And oh, what a time we had pulling this together. We wanted to make sure we fully moved into a new era with a clean look while still remaining true to the reason our readers rely on us: reliable news, insider information, business training, trusted product reviews, analysis and community.
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Since you're reading this, we don't need to tell you SNEWS has a new website -- the first since January 2006.

Well, it's about time! Yes, we thought so too.

And oh, what a time we had pulling this together. We wanted to make sure we fully moved into a new era with a clean look while still remaining true to the reason our readers rely on us: reliable news, insider information, business training, trusted product reviews, analysis and community.



A year-long effort


The effort began in early 2008 after SNEWS was acquired by Active Interest Media (www.aimmedia.com). Click here to read that Dec. 21, 2007, story if you missed the news. With AIM, we strategized various needs and, among them, was a need to redesign and rebrand, not only our magazines but also our SNEWS website. We then asked our readers in the first large-scale SNEWS Reader Survey in spring 2008 what they expected from SNEWS, promising to listen closely and respond accordingly as we moved forward with our plans.

Once you had spoken, it was time to deliver on the promise. First came the redesign and rebranding of our former GearTrends® magazines in summer 2008 (same great content -- well, even better -- but now also called SNEWS for less confusion). And, finally, we can say the rebranding project is complete with the launch Jan. 11, 2008, of our new website at snewsnet.com. We hope you'll agree that it sports an up-to-date, bright, clean look that is so packed with places to go and things to read you won't know what to do first.

Oh, and one more thing: Our team has worked very hard on this immense redesign project, and while we've poured over more programming code and web page designs than we ever imagined to ensure this site launched cleanly, it is quite likely our tired eyes missed something. If you can't find a link, don't know where something is, or wonder why we didn't keep a site features, it could be because, well, we simply spaced out amid all the late nights and copious quantities of caffeine. Please send an email to snewsbox@snewsnet.com or give a ring to 530-268-8295 with any comments or queries. To that end, thank you to the alert reader who already told us she wondered where the link to "Post a News Release" went. Duh…We forgot to keep it in the most obvious places. Thanks to that alert, it's already been added, so posting will be easier than ever before.

A fond farewell to GearTrends.com

First, however, a moment of silence for GearTrends.com. Conceived in 1998 by SNEWS® founder Bob Woodward in partnership with current SNEWS® president Michael Hodgson and launched in 1999 with the addition of SNEWS editor in chief Therese Iknoian, the site has now been put to bed as a separate website. It saw a proud run, especially when it grew into the SNEWS GearTrends Network in late 2002 with an expanded team.

Even though the website has now seen its last click, the name lives on as a sub-brand within SNEWS. On every page in the website, you will now find the GearTrends® Ad Marketplace, and anyone typing GearTrends.com into a browser will go directly to the Ad Marketplace. This version of GearTrends, like its predecessor, is packed with new products and company information and, as GearTrends was, it is open to the public. That means consumers AND trade professionals can use this portion of SNEWS without needing a subscription, username or password.

Industry Directory grows and prospers

One part of GearTrends.com that will live on, but with significant improvement, is the Industry Directory, now also under the SNEWS umbrella and found at the bottom of every SNEWS web page.

Here's where the fun gets bigger and better for our "All Access" SNEWS subscribers: If you have a paid individual subscription, are a sales rep or retailer who is part of a corporate subscription plan, or are the master account for a corporate or group subscription plan, you can list your business information in our directory. It is DIY easy -- just go to the Manage Subscription link at the top of every page and you'll find a link to either update or create a listing in our Industry Directory. That way everybody will know about you and your business. How cool is that? Like the GearTrends Ad Marketplace, anyone can read the SNEWS Industry Directory information without need of a subscription, username or password, so this is the perfect place to make sure your business is getting noticed.

News Release service status quo

Not to worry, nothing has changed with the Industry News Release service. Again, as a benefit for our All Access SNEWS Subscribers, the ability to post your own news releases to the SNEWS website remains alive and well. Just click here to access the posting area, then bookmark the link or simply remember you can find the posting link on the Manage Subscription page once you have logged in. (Sorry, this service as in the past is not available as a part of a SNEWS Freebie subscription.)

No change in service and news you can trust

OK, so what has not changed? Everything you told us you loved and used. Here are just a few examples:

>> The SNEWS Digest will still be available for everyone's archive and printing pleasure. Every Monday evening, the Digest gathers all the previous week's news and puts it into one PDF document for convenient reading. The link to the Digest can now be found easily at the top of every SNEWS webpage, as well as in your SNEWS Headline Alert emails you receive every Monday, Wednesday and Friday -- or whatever set of days you chose if you changed the default on your Manage Subscription page.

>> All the SNEWS Training Center articles, including the Mystery Shoppers and How-To-Sells, are housed in the Sales Tools & Advice area found as a new drop-down menu on the main bar.

>> News and features will, of course, be our meat and potatoes, found front and center either on the home page or under the separate Outdoor Headlines or Fitness Headlines pages.

New, newer, newest too

Even though we kept the features and sections you love and that serve the industry, we still managed to find the space to add a slew of new sections and enhancements. A few of those include:

>> SNEWS Blog. We have joined the Blogosphere! Look to our blog, find it by clicking here, for occasional musings about what we see and hear that affect the industries -- or we just find entertaining.

>> Regular mini-surveys. Your opinions mean a lot to us and to your colleagues. You'll find regular quick surveys with no more than a question or two featured on our home page in the right navigation bar. Take the couple of seconds to click and answer so you can share your views -- and we can all better put our finger on the pulse of the industry…or just enjoy some fun responses to quirky queries. You know us -- fun and business goes together.

>> Images and logos with articles. For additional readability, there will be images, icons, logos or other emblems accompanying all news and various features. They will help you identify better what you want to read and allow us to showcase companies and products we cover by including those logos and photos.

>> Product reviews front and center on SNEWS pages. We do product reviews weekly and now you'll find the most recent three reviews on each page so you can keep tabs on what's new and hot.

>> Community section with the new Expert Network. In keeping with our long-standing mantra, "Creating Community through Communication," we are launching a section where subscribers can ask expert panels questions and receive solid information. The first panel to launch is our Business Solutions column. The format for this as with other Expert Network sections will not be unlike a "Dear Abby" for business; however, SNEWS® will expand the typical single columnist to tap into a broader panel of experts, many from among SNEWS readers. Together with experts, SNEWS will offer a forum for readers to discuss a topic, chime in with their own ideas, and suggest different recommendations to a variety of business concerns or issues. Our inaugural Business Solutions expert panel is hosted by Ascent Advising, using contributions from several sources. Offer your input via the Chat area to add your comments or ideas to expand the forum into a lively, interactive, open discussion that we hope will benefit all.

>> Easier access to all our Magazines. Forget digging around. You'll find a link to all our past and present magazines, magazine extras and archives right under the -- where else? -- Magazine drop down in the top navigation bar.

But, wait, there's more…

We can't begin to list everything we've changed, updated or added, so take a look at our SNEWS FAQ (click here to access it). We will update some parts asap, but it will still give you a good overview and reminder of all you can find in the pages of SNEWS and how to really take advantage of your subscription. We'll also keep you apprised in coming stories of other changes or additions as they happen.

Have questions? Feel a bit lost? Need some help? Have comments? Just want to drop a note? Need a hug? We stand ready to help out or just listen. Fire off an email to snewsbox@snewsnet.com or call 530-268-8295.

Meanwhile, have fun taking a look around! Thanks for continuing to make us a part of your life and being a part of ours and welcome to the new SNEWSnet.com!

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