Make your Public Notices ‘noticeable’ and please do not refer to them as ‘Legals’

Check out the link at the bottom on ‘why we call it public notices’

From the Public Notice Resource Center

Most newspapers now publish notices on their website in addition to print, even in states that don’t require it. As we’ve written before, it’s one of the most important things publishers can do to help their state’s press association protect newspaper notice.

However, too many publishers still make it difficult for users to find the notices that are posted on their website. Last week we spotted a perfect illustration of the phenomenon.

The Westerly Sun published an editorial (in defense of public notices) arguing against legislation that has been introduced in Rhode Island’s General Assembly that would allow local governments to publish notices on their websites in lieu of print newspapers. A website visitor quickly added a helpful suggestion in the comments section below the article.

“If the Sun believes in the importance of legal notices how about adding a ‘legal notices’ link on your website?” asked RIMom. “If you show the state you are putting them online, wouldn’t that strengthen your argument?”

Why yes, RIMom, it would!

It turns out the Sun does post their notices on the site. As a staff member helpfully pointed out to Ms. Mom in a subsequent comment, they’re hidden behind the “Public Notices” link which can be found in the website’s “Classifieds” pull-down menu.

The Sun fell into the same trap that ensnares most newspapers when they post notices on their website — wrongly assuming their readers understand newspaper industry jargon. Most people don’t know that in Newspaper World public notices are considered “classifieds,” so they wouldn’t think to look for them there. That’s why your “public notices” (why we call it public notices) or “legal notices” require their own link in the primary navigation toolbar on your website.

Whatever you do please don’t call them “Legals”! Nobody except you and some of your employees know what that means.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *