Poor decisions in Web management

The Montreal Gazette’s Habs Inside/Out site has grown over a few short years into the de facto destination for English-speaking fans of the Montreal Canadiens. The word “Habs”, of course, is short for “habitants”, which is what the early French-Canadians – the Canadiens – were called in the 17th century.

The Club de Hockey Canadien Inc. asked the Gazette to stop using the word “Habs” in reference to its Web site. It’s arguable whether or not the Canadiens can uphold a trademark on the nickname, but the Gazette capitulated and renamed the site Hockey Inside/Out.

Notwithstanding some grumbling from the hoi polloi, such a change is easily accomplished. You register the new domain name, hockeyinsideout.com, and transfer the content of your habsinsideout.com site to the new domain. Sure, you may have to change a few links here or there with a global find and replace, but the site will remain robust.

Instead, the Gazette took the opportunity to move the entire site to WordPress. What a hellacious mistake. The site has lost all reader comments and much of contributor Mike Boone’s post-game analyses. I can’t even show you what the old site looked like because the Web team has trashed the CSS code it used to use. Even links to old stories no longer work.

Audiences are conservative. They don’t like change. In this case, the audience is right. Take a look at this malfunctioning page of crap. It used to have dozens of comments. Go ahead and try the link to Boone’s “Quick Hits/About Saturday afternoon…”. Or try the link to the unhappily formatted “Afternoon delight”.

I’ve just spent two weeks at my dad’s apartment while his wife was back home in the Bahamas taking care of affairs. I did pretty darned well without a newspaper. Missteps like this make it easier.

Bonus knee news:

I can walk at about 90% efficiency thanks to physio. I can’t run, skate, jump, etc. yet. I do know that jumping off a bench hurts.

5 thoughts on “Poor decisions in Web management

  1. WTH. I don’t even check the website anymore, except when I’m searching for something specific. Now? It won’t even be on my radar. Thanks for posting.

    Also, sending good vibes to your knee!

  2. A change in domain name should actually be easier than you describe. If you’re smart (I know, big assumption) you have all your links on relative paths (to the root of your site) and changing the domain is as little work as registering and updating DNS.

    Somehow people find ‘reasons’ to break these common sense rules and in that case moving a website can become quite a painful exercise. When you decide to port to a new system altogether you add the challenge of getting used to the new system.

    I checked out the site and noticed some broken links but I also found out Canadian fans have reason to be grateful to the Toronto Maple Leafs. What are the chances? 🙂

  3. “Instead, the Gazette took the opportunity to move the entire site to WordPress. What a hellacious mistake.”

    Isn’t your website WordPress??

  4. This is WordPress, but it’s a straightforward blog. I’m not trying to establish a professional commercial site here. And my links work and my elements fit the format.

    I took the time to make sure of that.

  5. Fair enough. One last question.

    When you teach Journalism (the J is capitalized when it is a subject)at the university level, do you ever teach your students about not publishing knee-jerk reactions based on first impressions?

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