gets a new look

News-DemocratMay 22, 2012 

Welcome to the new

The No. 1 website for local news and advertising in Southern Illinois has a new, cleaner look and other improvements, including a faster page load time, a better search function and a more versatile design.

We believe the changes launched Thursday, part of’s first major redesign since 2008, will make your visits to the site more satisfying.

Your favorite features at, and our commitment to a rich, evolving daily news and sports report, haven’t changed. In fact, you’ll continue to find the latest local news of the day at the top of the home page.

We’ve prepared an FAQ that should help you navigate the site and answer most of your questions about the changes. It appears with this column.

If you have trouble finding your favorite feature, try out our improved search function at the top of the home page. You'll find the window at the right side of your page; just type a key word into the window to find any content on our site with that term in it.

If you still have questions, or want to let us know what you think of the changes, simply go to and fill out the feedback report. We’ll use these reports to help evaluate the site and as input when we consider future changes.

This are the first days of the new, and we anticipate making more improvements in the months ahead. So it’s important that we hear your thoughts about the site.

Today’s is far different than the of, say, six or seven years ago.

Gone are the days of just a handful of daily local news and sports updates, no photo galleries, little reader interaction and a mostly static site. Today, live daily posts number in the dozens; the home page design changes throughout each day based on the ebb and flow of news; photo galleries draw thousands of views; and commenting and other reader contributions on the site and at the BND’s Facebook page are among our most popular features.

Thanks to your support, now has 650,000 unique visitors and 7.5 million page views each month. Today, more than 8 of 10 adults in our market have read the Belleville News-Democrat or visited in the past 30 days, which is near saturation coverage.

We plan to work hard to continue earning your support by maintaining our focus on exclusive, public service journalism and our investment in staffing, equipment, technology, time, expertise and the other expenses required to operate the largest news-gathering force, advertising team and distribution network in Southern Illinois.

Our goal is to be the best and most trusted source of local news and information, part of a mission that will only get stronger as we improve our web site, our newspaper and all of our other products.

The web redesign project is the latest improvement. We hope that it meets your expectations.

Jeffry Couch, editor & vice president of the BND and, can be reached by e-mail at or by calling (618) 239-2551. You can follow him on Twitter @jcouch.