A week is a long time in politics – and it’s a lifetime online – so, as AROnline moves into its 12th year, I think it’s safe to say that it should count as one of the grandee car websites. Not only for time served, of course, but for both the sheer amount of original material and the priceless input from you, the readers. Quite simply, and I hope I don’t sound too immodest saying it, there’s really nothing else like it covering our beloved British cars.
That’s no reason to rest on our laurels, though. Although the site continues to grow, and the in depth stories will always be a constant source of learning for new people as they find the site, it’s also finding itself up against the increasing amount of excellent opposition out there. However, although no one specialises in the British motor industry quite like AROnline does, that doesn’t mean to say that, when someone’s out searching for the definitive story of the Rover 75 or the Austin Allegro, Google is going to bring them here first.
The thinking behind AROnline v4.0 is therefore to make the site more navigable for regular readers and also offer more of a shop window to anyone who drops by for the first time. It never ceases to amaze me just how many people will ask a question on the Facebook group, and I’ll show them a link to a page on this site that they never knew existed. AROnline isn’t really doing its job as well as it might if the juicy content contained within isn’t easily accessible – even to experienced readers who’ve been with us since the start.
Richard Kilpatrick has been putting the finishing touches on to the revised front page and menu structure I’ve dearly wanted for AROnline since we moved from HTML to WordPress in 2010/’11. It’ll be a radical change in a number of ways – most notably the menus will move to a horizontal set-up towards the top of the page, while the homepage will be much more active, with teasers separated into sections, and not just a time-stamped list that we currently run – the news will be in its own little section, as will be history, blogs, etc.
I’m excited by the new AROnline front end, and although it’s still a little while away from going live, I thought I’d let you know it’s coming – just in case there was anything you’d like to see incorporated in the new scheme – or whether it should be left the way it is – or, even worse, it should never have changed from the 2002 original!
Anyway, let me know what you think – as always, I’m open to persuasion!