Catholic New York joined the Creative Circle family several years ago, transferring their web site and getting lots of help and support. But this summer, they got a brand new site – for free – and it's a dramatic improvement even over their previous Creative Circle site.
"After I led several workshops for Catholic Press Association meetings, I was really struck by how many Catholic newspapers and magazines had really weak web sites," said Bill Ostendorf, president and founder of Creative Circle Media Solutions. "We set out to build a special platform for Catholic papers with the specific things they needed, like a specific page for the Bishop and feeds from the Catholic News Service. We offered that platform to Catholic papers at a special price thinking that if we could sell 10 or 20, it would more than pay for all the custom work involved."
Sadly, only about a half dozen Catholic papers adopted the platform, although those that did were happy with it. Meanwhile, Creative Circle has been busy upgrading all its software and our special Catholic platform was starting to look stale.
"We needed to abandon our Catholic platform and upgrade those sites to our newest publishing tools," said Ostendorf. "The good news is that all upgrades are free and CNY.com just got a big upgrade and a redesigned site for no cost."
The new site uses Creative Circle layered page building tools are are very powerful – giving editors the ability to move things around or emphasize different content at will. But it's also very easy to use.
"Our platform is completely non-technical which makes it perfect for the Catholic press. No need to rely on an IT staff that doesn't understand the issues of a newspaper!" said Ostendorf. "An in-depth training session on our system lasts about 45 minutes. It's much easier to use than WordPress or any other publishing system and, unlike any other vendor, we offer free, live, unlimited training.
"It's actually a lot of fun to use. You can drag and drop things anywhere. And with the click of a drop down, you can change the layout for any section of the site or the layout of any story," said Ostendorf.