Colorado Press Association officials checked off a lingering yet highly important item from the to-do list earlier this month — finish rebooting the CPA and SYNC2 Media websites.
“It needed to be done, it was hanging over us,” said Jerry Raehal, CPA chief executive officer. He added, “We feel it will enhance both CPA and SYNC2 Media by having the two sites essentially combined.”
Instead of two separate sites, the two entities now are on the same site, but in different ways and links.
He said refurbishing the websites, which had remained basically the same since 2012, was a goal he’d set since taking over at CPA two years ago. The original target was to have it completed by the end of last year, but it got pushed back as other needs emerged.
However, after the annual convention in May, attention went back to the project.
“It was, ‘We have to get this done now,’” the CEO said. “It’s been a big project in the last two months.”
The website overhaul was spearheaded by TownNews.com, a digital and content management company that has more than 1,600 media clients.
“We are delighted to partner with the Colorado Press Association,” said Marc Wilson, TownNews founder and chairman in written statement. “I have personal ties to Colorado journalism as a graduate of the University of Colorado, and a former reporter at The Denver Post, Rocky Mountain News, Boulder Camera and Denver AP bureau.
“The CPA is one of the best associations in the country, and we look forward to a great partnership with Jerry and his great team.”
Raehal said the new site significantly improves CPA’s online presence for the public, association members and non-members. It also bolsters SYNC2 Media’s presence with potential customers.
“We wanted to make it easier to navigate,” he said. “A common complaint was that it was hard to find information. We really tried to make that process streamlined. From people we’ve sent tests to, they’ve all commented that it’s easier to find information.
“And two, we really wanted to create a robust members-only section. One of the big focuses we’ve tried to set up is we are here for the industry, but more importantly, we are here for our members. We wanted to do things for our members on the old site, but we were limited on how we could do that.”
As an example, he said the new site allows the association to host videos, which the old site didn’t. Rather than hosting CPA webinars on YouTube, CPA can now use its website, and attach supporting documentation like PDFs, links, and slideshow presentations.
The new site is also bolstered by additional advertising, and represents the TownNews software, adaptive technology that translates to mobile, tablets or web-based browsers, Raehal said.
“It’s nice for us as a press association, when we’re encouraging people to make sure their sites are mobile friendly, to have a mobile-friendly site,” he said.
The new site also comes at a great cost.
“At the end of the day, it will basically cost us nothing,” said Raehal, calling it an opportunity “too good to pass up.”
Website construction can typically cost anywhere from $4,000 to $6,000, he said. But, TownNews accepted a tradeout deal with CPA for advertising, offsetting the construction and monthly charges.
“We wanted something very unique, and it was a lot of work on their part,” he said. “This is a very different site for them, and I think the cool thing is it will be a showcase site for TownNews, something they can say (to future clients), ‘Hey, this is something different you can do, compared to our other sites.’”