The relaunch of Heraldnet.com's Homes pages this past week marked another of several changes in store for shoppers and customers who rely on the newspaper's printed and electronic classified ads.
It's no secret that newspaper revenues in most markets have taken a beating in recent years.
The Herald already has changed its classified advertising to meet customers' need. A couple of examples are its decisions to lower ad rates and offer color photos of every car being sold.
"We'd lost our marketplace," said Trina Alger, The Herald's classified advertising manager. "Classifieds are one of the greatest sources of revenue for newspaper income."
Alger joined The Herald in October to lead online and print initiatives in classified advertising. Alger, 49, came to The Herald from Morris Publishing Group in Augusta, Ga. During her five years there, she specialized in leading the newspaper group's digital and multimedia sales efforts, focusing on classified advertising.
"The local newspaper should be the No. 1 source for any type of information for our commmunity," Alger said.
In October, The Herald finished a redesign of the Friday Autos, Saturday Real Estate and Sunday Jobs classified sections.
Those changes, which gave each section a bolder and more colorful identity, brought a stronger focus for advertisers and customers in those marketplaces, Alger said.
Snohomish County's population is growing, Boeing continues to hire, and the recent arrival of the USS Nimitz brought hundreds of families new to the area.
With all that in mind, the Herald is "striving to be the place where people can find homes, cars and jobs," advertising director Ron Lee said.
The redesigns also incorporated stories and columns written by Herald advertising staff, such as the long-standing local auto reviews, a car quiz and profiles of Realtors.
Improvements are on the way for auto and employment pages on Heraldnet.com, too. The goal is to make each section more user-friendly and searchable, so customers can efficiently find what they are looking for, Alger said.
Using the new Homes page on Heraldnet.com, readers can explore featured houses, search for property by price and location, and read biographies of featured Realtors.
The page also features content to interest almost any homeowner, such as gardening tips and quick lists of things you can do to make sure your home gets the best price.
Alger grew up in Drain, Ore., and returns to the Pacific Northwest with her husband Linn, a retired auto shop owner, and their three labradors: a golden named Bama, a black named Gia, and a chocolate, Bella.
As Nascar fans, the couple enjoyed Georgia but are glad to be back in the Pacific Northwest.
"I love being back on the west coast," Alger said. "We love the fishing, the environment and the beauty here."
Each week, Here at The Herald provides an inside peek at the newspaper -- its people and the work they do. Is there something you would like to know? Send your idea to Executive Editor Neal Pattison, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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