Herald launches refreshed website

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016 10:09 PM
A screenshot of The Durango Herald's revamped website at The new site went live on Monday.

An all-new website launched Monday to deliver around-the-clock news and entertainment in an easy-to-use format.

The Durango Herald's new website has a visually-driven design intended to be more responsive and improve how users find what they're looking for on all devices, but the improvements should be particularly noticeable on tablets and mobile phones.

An updated Pine River Times website will be coming in the future, as well.

"Viewer habits have changed quite a bit over the past few years," Ballantine Communications CEO Doug Bennett said. "We haven't changed our website to any large degree in nine years. It was time for us to adopt the way people are consuming content online."

Readers will notice faster loading times, a clean layout and two main navigation menus. There is one menu across the top and a drop-down menu, indicated by three horizontal lines in the top left corner, said Claudia Laws, senior manager of online news content and video production.

Along the top, readers will find the links to the most-read stories, obituaries and the eEdition.

In the drop-down menu, readers will find sections, such as education, southwest life, opinion, business and sports. All of the sports coverage has been combined into a single section.

"You will be able to get around our website in a much more efficient manner," Laws said.

The Herald also has made changes to its paywall.

For existing subscribers, when you first log in, you'll be asked to enter your Wallit credentials or log in with Facebook or Google Plus. If you don't have a Wallit account, follow the directions to create one - there is no charge, it's simply to move your account from the old site to the new site.

For those who aren't subscribers, the number of free stories per month will drop from 10 to five. The count will start on Monday.

The paywall does not apply to world and national news articles.

After reaching the monthly cap, if readers choose not to subscribe, they can pay to read individual stories for 25 cents each through online payment system Wallit.

Wallit is a secure micropayment system through which readers can prepay for articles. As readers use the site, money is automatically deducted from their account.

Readers will find a link to Wallit after clicking on the login icon in the bottom left-hand corner of the site.

"If you only look at about eight articles a month, and so you're above that five-limit threshold but it's not in your best interest to spend $10 a month, we give you an option that works with your lifestyle," Laws said.

Many come to the Herald's website through a search engine, such as Google, and in some cases, they are not interested in signing up for a monthly or yearly digital subscription, but they are interested in certain articles. For those users, micropayments may be a better experience than asking readers to take marketing surveys, as the Herald has in the past, Bennett said.

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