The Digital Initiative intends to provide each newspaper with a modern responsive website on Our-Hometown’s WordPress Platform — a first, for many — complete with a vast selection of tools to help grow the newspaper’s audience and expand its digital footprint once the website is live.

These tools include brand new sources of revenue like Digital Subscriptions and Digital Advertisements — Our-Hometown even has its own Ad Network — and tools used to distribute your content to new readers, such as the Newsletter or Social Media Autopost tool.

Digital Initiative Benefits

  • Hands-free website maintenance and updates. Establish an online presence with no extra work required for you or your staff.
  • Expand your readership beyond your already established print audience.
  • Present your content in formats that are more accessible and easy to read on mobile devices.
  • Utilize a broad range of passive revenue sources.
  • Access to Our-Hometown’s first-class support team, free training sessions, and our network of industry experts through webinars and blog content.

Publishers enrolled in the Digital Initiative will receive a significant first-year discount on Our-Hometown’s services from the Illinois Press Foundation in order to help publishers get their feet under them and gain some momentum in terms of traffic and subscribers, as well as a LIFETIME IPA Member Discount on the normal rates.

To apply for the Illinois Press Foundation’s Website Grant, CLICK HERE.

FAQs

Website Setup and Maintenance

  • How is the website updated each week?
    • Publishers have the choice between publishing articles to the website themselves, or enrolling in our PDF Extraction Service for an additional fee.
    • If using PDF Extraction, just send us the same PDF you send to the printer and our staff will handle the rest. No copy/pasting is required by you or your staff.
    • We recommend taking advantage of the PDF Extraction Service, but publishers can opt-out and take over weekly updates at any time to reduce costs.

Paywalls

  • How do paywalls work?
    • Paywalls can be set to limit all articles, specific articles, or limited by a meter that allows non-subscribers to read a specific number of free articles per month.
  • What types of subscriptions can I set up?
    • Subscription plans are completely customizable and can include multiple levels of access as well as an option to upgrade a print subscription to include digital and vice-versa.
  • How are subscriptions managed?
    • We’ll automate your paywall system so that everything from payment collection to digital distribution is handled directly on the website.
  • How do I collect paywall revenue?
    • We recommend using Stripe as your payment processor. Once it’s linked to your site, all payments will go directly to the bank account you link to Stripe.

Social Media Autopost

  • Is it possible to schedule posts to go live at a later date?
    • Yes, our feature allows for both scheduled and automatic posting.
  • Can multiple users use this feature? 
    • Yes, you can have multiple users posting to your accounts.
  • Is there a way to restrict certain categories?
    • Yes, there is a way to restrict certain categories from posting content.
  • I don’t want to do anything with social media, but I know I need it.
    • We completely understand and know how valuable your time is. All we would need is one meeting to walk you through linking your accounts to our CMS After that, the process will be fully automated and hands-off.

OHT Ad Network

  • Our primary focus is on readership engagement, we know the value of advertising, but we don’t want a lot of national ads on our site. 
    • With our platform, you can have as many or as few of these ad placements that will suit your needs.
  • Will our local advertisers take a back seat to these ad types?
    • Absolutely not. If a local advertiser desires a spot where a programmatic ad is placed, let us know and we can either relocate the ad or remove it for the duration of the local advertiser run.
  • What if I find the content of an ad offensive? 
    • You have the final say on what shows on your site. Let us know what the URL is when clicking the offensive ad and we can block it. We can also restrict the category of this type of ad to prevent additional ad types from showing. 
  • Have other publishers received complaints about these types of ads being displayed on the sites?
    • As of now, no. The reason is that this is becoming the norm. As more people view news sites like the Washington Post or New York Times, they see these types of ads being displayed. Most readers are already accustomed to seeing them.
  • What type of control do I have over where the ads are displayed?
    • You have total control over where they show. Usually, after providing a demonstration, we provide a mockup of where the ads can show and then finally, where you have requested that they show.
  • How much will this cost me? 
    • Our-Hometown doesn’t charge for this service, however, we do take a modest 10% from the revenue to apply towards maintenance.
  • How do I get paid?
    • Revenue is applied to your bill (unless your state requires you to keep these types of transactions separate.) You will usually see this applied after the second invoice after ads are shown on your site.