The Complete Running Network launched at the beginning of the week, and I would like to share my first impressions of the service.
First, I like the new look of the site. The old site was very bland and not at all exciting. The new site is crisp, modern, and pleasant to look at. It doesn’t hurt that it has a picture of my teammates in the header graphic, either. Navigation is pretty straightforward. They put a lot of emphasis on getting people to subscribe to their content; in fact, they do a much better job of it than I do. Getting around the site is pretty straight forward, other than a few inconveniances. For example, clicking on the name of the site in the header graphic will not bring you to the home page; you have to hit the “home” link in the corner.
The running blog family has been integrated into the site quite well, but it appears that the running blog recents are no more. This is unfortunate, because I really enjoyed their aggregation service. From their point of view, I guess you would have to call it an aggravation service, though. Maybe they will bring it back as a ping service rather than an aggregator at some point, since monitoring 800 websites uses a lot more resources.
Three of the new authors are folk I already read on a regular basis, and the rest are ones that I have visited their websites at least on occasion. The articles are bunched together a bit too much though; rather than releasing two or three articles throughout the day, they release them all at once. This makes it a little more difficult for somebody visiting the page to find the new content throughout the day. For RSS (and presumably email) readers, this probably does not present quite as much of a problem other than reading everything at once the next day.
I have also been watching their statistics package, and have found a few new websites through their referral list that I had not previously known about. This is a nice bonus. I am still looking forward to seeing how well things shake out. So far, they have tripled their daily traffic without much trouble.
Just as a reminder, the launch contest is still going on. Feel free to visit the site and let them know that Blaine from Run to Win sent you.