Monday, April 15, 2024

Navigating the Roadblocks: A Look Behind the BIZ Magazine Website Woes

by David Specht

You might be wondering, “What’s going on with the BIZ website?” It’s a fair question, given the recent challenges we’ve encountered. Let me fill you in on the backstory.

Shortly after Christmas, we convened a meeting to strategize the future of our digital presence: what’s working, where we need to improve, and how we can better serve our community online. While our website has long been the go-to source for local news, we recognized the need to modernize and meet the evolving expectations of our readers.

Around the same time, we found ourselves grappling with a barrage of malicious bot traffic inundating our website, along with others in our company, and overloading our servers. Every attempt to address the issue seemed to offer only temporary relief or, at worst, compounded the problem.

Despite enlisting the help of our service provider’s experts, the issue persisted, leaving us frustrated and perplexed. Turning to a third-party solution seemed promising, but alas, their attempted fix only exacerbated the issue, resulting in a complete website outage. Back to square one it was, as we grappled with the reality that a sluggish website was better than none at all.

Enter Cloudflare, our latest third-party partner, who proposed rerouting our website traffic to fend off the bots. While this strategy showed some promise, it wasn’t a foolproof solution. Thus, the implementation of a “human verification” step upon website access became our current workaround. Though effective in combating bot traffic, it hasn’t come without its share of drawbacks, such as images and link previews failing to reach our social media posts or email newsletters.

Our hope is to streamline this process in the near future, utilizing the verification step only when absolutely necessary. Moving forward, we’re committed to enhancing our website with upgrades and more content than ever before.

While our commitment to providing a printed product remains steadfast, we acknowledge that our digital footprint is equally vital. Rest assured, we’re more than just a magazine – we’re a multimedia platform dedicated to serving Northwest Louisiana and beyond. I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude to you, our readers, for your patience and understanding as we navigate these challenges. Though we’re not out of the woods yet, we’re making significant strides, and your unwavering support means the world to us.

David Specht is the President of Specht Newspapers Inc., publisher of the Minden Press-Herald, Bossier Press-Tribune, and BIZ Magazine.

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