What’s Next for Ann Arbor with Kids

Today I wanted to take a few minutes to share some planned improvements on Ann Arbor with Kids that should be taking effect during September. The changes include a new newsletter and a complete site re-design. I’m busy working on the improvements, so my posting frequency may decrease as I implement the changes. Fortunately, we’re in a bit of a lull after summer and back to school and before the Halloween events start.

Newsletter
I am starting an e-mail subscription newsletter. I will be sending out weekly e-mails typically on Friday to align with the Weekend Roundup post and also highlight popular posts from the week. I will also send out occasional bonus newsletters such as highlighting a Halloween Guide next month. The first e-mail newsletter will be sent on Friday, September 12. There will be no more than 8 newsletters a month. If you wish to receive the newsletter in your inbox, the signup form is below:

Subscribe to the Ann Arbor with Kids eNewsletter

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The signup form has also been added to the sidebar on the right so you can subscribe later.


New Site Design
The major change in the works is an entire new site design that will give the website a new look and feel. Users will see the biggest changes on the home page, the events calendar, and when using a mobile device. A lot of the changes will be behind the scenes as I am moving from Blogger to WordPress for more flexibility.

Home Page Changes
The current home page is simply the full text of the most recent blog posts. The new home page layout will allow for feature stories and excerpt text from both the most recent posts and popular/featured posts. This will help readers find their desired content more quickly. There will also be an improved menu structure allowing readers to find specific content more easily.

Calendar Upgrades
The current calendar is a text listing with links to blog posts about the different events. Recurring events and upcoming events are also on separate listings. The new calendar will combine both recurring and upcoming events on one calendar. I am currently evaluating several different calendar applications for features vs. price. Features that I am hoping to include will allow for event filtering, community added events, events that can be downloaded directly to your calendar, detailed event locations (map, address, website, phone number) and more.

Mobile Site
Users visiting on their mobile devices will see a site that is optimized for their device (phone, tablet) while maintaining the features of the full site.

Both of these changes have been on my wish-list for the last couple of years. But I have held out on implementing them partly because of the up-front time investment, but largely because they both come with recurring costs. Ann Arbor with Kids has continued to grow and the revenue has increased to where it can support the on-going costs of these improvements.

Local Business Promotion
Local Businesses will see increased opportunities for promotion with the changes. There will be the opportunity to sponsor featured posts, new ad space locations, featured ever listings/event venues, as well as newsletter advertising. With the new site, I will be rolling out new advertising packages that combine several advertising options at a discount. Our advertisers help keep Ann Arbor with Kids growing. Please be sure to mention that you saw their events and ads on Ann Arbor with Kids. If you are interested in advertising your business on Ann Arbor with Kids, please contact me.

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Ann Arbor with Kids is your go-to source for Ann Arbor Family Fun. It got its start in an activity list that I was compiling for the playgroup I ran at our church. When my daughter started preschool, the other moms were thrilled to hear about my list. I decided to take the list public in 2009.

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